Tony Stewart was forced to start at the rear of the field in a back-up car but he was able to drive to the front and score his first career win as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner-driver in
Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway.After crashing his primary car in Saturday's practice session, Stewart took the green flag Sunday in a back-up.
He was able to work his way to the front of the field and conserve fuel down the stretch to score his first points win for the Stewart-Haas Racing team.Stewart became the first owner-driver to win a Sprint Cup Series race since
Ricky Rudd turned the trick at Martinsville in September of 1998.Stewart won the Sprint Al-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway last month but Sunday's win was his first points victory since Talladega last october.“It’s just a little different when you’re the one that’s got to be accountable,” Stewart the owner-driver said.“It’s been an awesome weekend. It’s more special because of the group of guys I’m working with. ... It’s just a little different when it’s your own."Carl Edwards came across the line second as several of the lead pack began to run out of fuel in the closing laps."I didn’t think he was going to be a factor,” Edwards said of Stewart. “I was sure he was going to run out.”Edwards, who won last August's race at Pocono, is still winless this year after 14 races.
He led the Sprint Cup Series with nine victories a year ago."I’ll probably be happy later today, but man, to be that close to victory and not win, that was frustrating,” Edwards said. “The points are great though. I’ll definitely take something good out of this.”David Reutimann, Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman rounded out the top five.Marcos Ambrose and Jimmie Johnson, who did run out of fuel on the final lap and dropped from third place, came home sixth and seventh."At the end, we were just playing the fuel game and I didn’t play it hard enough,” Johnson said.
Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Burton and Sam Hornish, Jr. completed the first ten finishers.
The race was the first employing NASCAR's new double file restart policy which went off without incident.Stewart increased his Sprint Cup Series point lead over Gordon to 71 with the victory.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Michigan International Speedway next
Sunday for the Lifelock 400.