Iracingone Rewind:/I Pepsi 400

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INSIDE LINE
Tony Stewart won his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Daytona International Speedway Sunday morning after steering clear of numerous incidents that eliminated many of his competitors. He stayed out of harm's way by leading all but a few of the 160 laps. It was Stewart's second win in a row. He won last Sunday at Infineon Raceway in California. Trailing Stewart across the finish line in the wee hours of Sunday morning were Jamie McMurray, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Rusty Wallace and Dale Jarrett.

KEYS TO VICTORY LANE
Stewart passed Matt Kenseth for the lead on lap 145 after the final round of pit stops to go on to take the checkered flag.

HIGHWAY TO HELL
Series point leader Greg Biffle was the victim of misfortune when he got caught in Michael Waltrip's crash on lap 73 when Waltrip blew a tire and hit the second turn wall. Biffle had no place to go but into the side of the No. 15 and wound up 36th in the final standings.

ZERO TO HERO
After qualifying 39th and actually hearing more boos from a smattering of fans in driver introductions, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. charged to the front and scored a much-needed Top 5 finish with a third place run. Junior was involved in the night's first incident on lap 36, but only received minor damage and was able to contend all night.

HERO TO ZERO
Scott Riggs' bad week got worse. After learning his primary sponsor would leave for a new Evernham Motorsports team next year, Riggs was involved in the lap 36 "mini-Big One," after starting from the second position. Riggs was credited with a 41st place finish.

ROOKIE OF THE RACE
Travis Kvapil came home 23rd to beat fellow rookie competitor Kyle Busch, who was part of the night's final incident on lap 146 and posted a 32nd place finish.

PIT STOPS
• Stewart’s last victory came at Infineon, one race ago.
• Stewart moved to 26th on NASCAR’s All-time win list tied with Bobby Labonte, Benny Parsons and Jack Smith..
• This is the eighth victory for Chevrolet in 2005. Ford has eight and Dodge has one.
• Stewart climbed from fourth to third in the point standings and is now 136 behind of first-place Jimmie Johnson.
• Stewart scored his first victory at Daytona International Speedway and his second victory in 2005. He became the fifth repeat race winner in 2005. Stewart has scored nine top-10 finishes in 17 races this season.
• This was Stewart’s 12th superspeedway victory in 177 career superspeedway races.
• Stewart led three times for 151 laps, including the final 16. This was the fifth time that Stewart led the most laps in a race this season.
• Stewart led the most laps for the third straight race (Michigan, Infineon and Daytona). The last time a driver led the most laps in three straight races occurred in the same three races one year ago when Jeff Gordon led the most at Michigan, Infineon and Daytona.
• The 151 laps that Stewart led is an all-time record for the most laps led by a driver in the Pepsi 400.
• Stewart scored the second victory for car owner Joe Gibbs at Daytona International Speedway. This was Gibbs’ second victory as a car owner in 2005. Dale Jarrett won the 1993 Daytona 500 driving for Gibbs.
• Jamie McMurray (second) posted his first top-10 finish in his six races at Daytona International Speedway. It is his seventh top-10 finish in 2005.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) posted his first top-10 finish in the last seven races. It was his eighth top-10 finish in his 12 races at Daytona International Speedway. He scored his sixth top-10 finish in 17 races in 2005. Earnhardt Jr. climbed from 18th to 16th in the point standings now 506 behind point leader Jimmie Johnson.
• Rusty Wallace (fourth) posted his 18th top-10 finish in 45 races at Daytona and his ninth top-10 finish in 2005. Wallace has finished 11th or better in his last six races. He climbed from sixth to fifth in the point standings.
• Dale Jarrett (fifth) scored his 16th top-10 finish in 37 races at Daytona International Speedway. Jarrett has scored five top-10 finishes in 2005. It was the first time this season that Jarrett has scored back-to-back top-five finishes. He climbed from 12th to 10th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Jimmie Johnson (sixth) has ranked in the top-10 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for 50 consecutive races, the longest current streak. The streak began at Atlanta in March 2004. Johnson has scored 12 top-
10 finishes in 2005, the most of all drivers
• Jeff Gordon (seventh) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 2005 and climbed from 14th to 13th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Mike Wallace (eighth) scored his first top-10 finish since he finished seventh at Richmond last September.
• Ken Schrader (10th) posted his third top-10 finish in 2005. It was his best finish at Daytona since he finished ninth in the 2000 Daytona 500.
• Rusty Wallace extended a 30-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last August.
• All 10 of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Daytona International Speedway.
• Looking ahead to the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup - 13 drivers remain within 400 points of current point leader Jimmie Johnson with nine races remaining before the Chase begins in New Hampshire in September.
• The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus will be worth $60,000 at Chicagoland Speedway.

LUG NUTS
  • Veteran photographer T. Taylor Warren, who has been shooting for NASCAR since 1951, celebrated his 80th birthday on Friday. A suprise party was thrown in the media center where NASCAR Vice Chairman Bill France presented him with a special plaque to mark the occasion.
  • Very scary incident during Friday's qualifying session when a camper caught fire in the infield. Fortunately no one was injured and kudos to the Daytona safety personnel for putting out a horrific looking blaze very quickly.
  • Tony Stewart dodged more controversy when an incident took place with a fan while entering Daytona's tunnel on Wednesday. Stewart got out of his car after reports say the woman flipped him the bird (other reports say it was Stewart doing the flipping), but in the end it seemed to go away quietly. For now.
  • Explain how a turtle can get up on a high-banked race track while cars are speeding around at nearly 200 mph. Thats' what happened during Friday's practice and qualifying session. Wonder if the safety worker who picked up the turtle, then dropped it, has had his phone stop ringing from friends and family making fun.
  • Lisa Marie Presley? Wow, we're on the "D" List for celebrities already and it's only mid-season.
  • Kudos to NBC for doing a great job filling the three hour rain delay. Saturday night's production and presentation was top notch and the chemistry between new anchor Bill Weber and the booth analysts was very good.
  • Racing at night in July at Daytona seems to be a slap in Mother Nature's face. Guess "Big Bill" France knew what he was doing when this race used to run at 10 a.m.

    GARAGE TALK

    "I'm glad this is the last time I ever have to race here."

    Mark Martin

    "I want to kick his (butt) right this minute. It would have been great if we just went around really fast in the middle of the track. But he perpetually wanted to make me feel like I was going to die every two seconds, riding me an inch from the wall."

    Lisa Marie Presley, after her ride with Wally Dallenbach on "Wally's World."

    FAN FORUM (What they are saying on the Message Boards)

    With NBC I feel like I'm actually watching a race, with FOX I feel like I'm watching a lame comedy act.
    -tj32

    Way to go SMOKE!!!!!!!!My five year old is going to be happy (tomorrow morning when he wakes up).
    -Rooster

    Said makes his inaugural trip through the grass.
    -SummaGo8

    Feel bad for Mark, wanted to see him run well at Daytona for the last time.
    -rustycar2

    We can repair the Hubble telescope a million miles away, but we can not invent a faster way to dry a track. What ever happened to good old American ingenuity?????
    -motormouth

    Did anyone understand what Lisa Marie Presley was singing? She was soooooo bad! They should have hired DW to sing his favorite hits!
    -Jeff8

    Who needs a diet when you can drive like that.
    -JarheadJrFan

    RACINGONE RATING
    On a scale of one to ten ice cold bottles of Pepsi, we'll give Saturday night's Pepsi 400 at solid 8. The rain delay was a bummer, but once things got going, it was an exciting race that included the usual restrictor-plate pile-ups, but thankfully nothing too major. Tony Stewart has put himself squarely in the championship picture and his climb of the main straight fence was a great example of the enthusiasm these drivers have for the sport they love. Next a trip to the Windy City (well close anyway) and next week's USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.
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