Tony Stewart Wins at Chicagoland
2011 has been a season of fuel mileage and at Chicago, Tony Stewart and the Office Depot/Mobile 1 team made fuel conservation work to their advantage. After a late race caution Stewart led a pack of front-runners to the pits for fuel and tires. He came out trailing Matt Kenseth but within a few laps passed the 17 and never looked back.
The victory sky rocketed Stewart from ninth to second place in the championship race. It was his 40th all time victory and ties him with Mark Martin for 16th on the NASCAR wins list. It also makes his 13th straight season where Stewart has at least one victory.
When asked about how he feels about the victory and how it helps his chances for the championship Stewart said, "We've still got a long way to go but this gives us a good start.
All the front runners were close on fuel and worked their individual strategies trying to conserve as much as they could for the run out to the finish. Kevin Harvick got the go ahead to run full bore with seven laps remaining and passed several cars to get to second. That's as close to Tony Stewart as Harvick would ever get.
At the checkered flag it was Tony Stewart in first, Kevin Harvick in second, Dale Earnhardt Jr. with a solid third, Carl Edwards fourth and Brad Keselowski in fifth. Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top ten.
Several of the leaders ran out of fuel on the last lap including Matt Kenseth who was leading the race as late as lap 228 ran out of fuel. He received a push through turns three and four from Dave Gilliland in the Taco Bell Ford. NASCAR rules do not allow pushing on the last lap and the 17 of Matt Kenseth was penalized and his finishing position adjusted to 21st, the first car one lap down.
Sprint Cup Standings After Chicagoland