Stewart Riding High To Pocono

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Tony Stewart brings his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point lead into Sunday's Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway and looks for a season sweep at the 2.5-mile triangular track.

Stewart's June win at Pocono came after he started last in the field of 43 when he was forced to a back-up car following a practice crash to his primary mount.

He was able to charge to the front and used fuel mileage strategy to score his first win of the season.

“I’ve lost a lot more races like that than I’ve won," Stewart remembered. "It was between Carl (Edwards) and I. We were the strongest two cars at the end of the race and we were able to get the track position we needed. Our guys did a great job of getting us out of the pits in the lead and that gave us the opportunity to make Carl push harder in the beginning to get the lead."

"Once he went into that fuel conservation mode, we had to follow suit. To be in a situation where your speed is dictated off the guy behind you and not off of what you can do, it’s a different style of racing. It’s hard. It’s just as hard, if not tougher, than trying to run 100 percent.”

The victory was also memorable for Stewart in another way as it was the first points race win as an owner driver for his new Stewart-Haas Racing team. It will go down as one of the most cherished in Stewart's illustrious racing career.

"I knew it was big when we were there in victory lane, obviously," Stewart said. "Getting the first one at Charlotte (the non-points Sprint All-Star Challenge) was a huge accomplishment for the organization, but that first official points win was big, too."

"The feeling was the same as it was in Charlotte, but it was different because you knew it was a points race. It just means a lot. It means so much to a lot of people because it’s been a long road to get this organization to where it is. Everybody put a lot of hard work into getting this program where it’s at, so it was nice to get to victory lane for a points race.”

He now focuses his attention of finding victory lane again at the quirky Pennsylvania track, where he has 21 career Sprint Cup starts with seven top-fives and 15 top-10s.

"It seems like if we can get our car to go through the tunnel turn well, then we’re normally able to get it to go through the rest of the racetrack well," Stewart said. "The tunnel turn seems to be our toughest turn on the racetrack. Getting through turn two and the last corner of the racetrack that’s flat, long and sweeping – those seem to be the toughest two corners to get through. And if you’re a little bit off, you’re a bunch off. If there’s a guy who can get all three of those corners right, then that’s the guy who’s going to win the race.”

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