Tony Stewart Wins 2009 All-Star Race
Stewart finished inside the Top 10 in every outing of the All-Star event on Saturday, crossing the finish line in 9th and 8th place respectively during the first two segments. In the third and most important outing of the night, Stewart managed to keep himself out of trouble and, due to some unfortunate incidents ahead of him, went on to climb all the way into 2nd overall mid-way through the 10-lap sprint.
It took the Stewart-Haas Racing driver some 3 laps to get past leader Matt Kenseth, clinching 1st place and never letting go until the finish line.
“I cannot believe (Kenseth) gave me the bottom (line). But I'll take it. Matt is a guy you can trust. We got to second there, got by the #18 (Kyle Busch) and I thought all right, we have a shot at this thing. We weren't that good until the last run but (crew chief) Darian Grubb made some awesome calls there at the end to get us where I could drive that thing the way I could. Man, it was fast!” said Stewart, whose win in the All-Star race has made him one million dollars richer.
A disappointed Kenseth blamed the tires for his final run in the All Star race, as he’s still to clinch a Sprint Cup event since the double win (Daytona 500 – Auto Club 500) early in the season.
“It sucks getting beaten, obviously. I thought we had a shot. Most of the night we were really good on long runs and really bad on short runs. We were just really loose and we tightened it up a lot there at the break. The tires held up for four or five laps. I just got too tight and Tony was running up on me real fast there, and I chose the middle because I'd been really fast in the middle of one and two. That was my best groove, I just hit the ground and got so tight I couldn't get it to turn,” added Kenseth.
The overall Top 5 was completed by Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards. Reigning Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson went on to finish 13th overall (due to a spin in the very first lap of the last segment), while Hendrick Motorsports teammate and championship leader Jeff Gordon crashed out of the race while challenging for the segment 3 win on Lap 5.