Stewart's Chase Charge Continues

Tony Stewart

Stewart cut his deficit in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings from eight to three with only two races left in the season. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Tony Stewart won his fourth race of the Chase with a dominating performance in Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Stewart outran Carl Edwards to the checkered flag by 1.092 seconds and in the process cut his deficit in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings from eight to three with only two races left in the season.

It was the 43rd win of Stewart’s career and his second at Texas Motor Speedway. His four wins in a single Chase ties Jimmie Johnson for the series record.

“I don’t think we have to say anything, I think our performance today spoke for its self,” a jubilant Stewart said in Victory Lane.

Stewart took over the top spot for good when Jeff Burton, who was trying to stretch his fuel strategy to the finish, ran out of fuel five laps from the end. Stewart led a race-high 173 laps.

“The big key for us was hanging on for the first ten laps of a run and it seemed like we could start pulling away after that,” Stewart said. “Carl (Edwards) kept us honest today, but we did everything we could do. We got all the bonus points we could get and got the win. We gained more than we needed to gain on the average for the week, so we are doing good.”

Edwards was pleased with the effort and despite not being able to win the race is glad to still have the Chase lead heading to next week’s race in Phoenix.

“I’m proud of my guys for hanging on and still having the points lead. It looks like it’s truly going to come down to Tony and I, and that’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Edwards.

With most of the other title contenders now out of the picture, the championship has come down to a two man fight between the first two finishers on Sunday and Edwards is ready for the challenge.

“Obviously definitely we wanted to beat Tony tonight and pad that lead a little bit,” said Edwards. “At the end of the day we can walk out of here with our heads up. We're still the points leaders. The third and fourth guys, I'm not sure how far back they are, but we had to open up a little bit of space on them, which is good.

“Man, we're just going to hold Tony to it. They're going to have to run that well to beat us these next two races. I think really it's going to be a great battle. I'm excited about it.”

Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and pole sitter Greg Biffle rounded out the top five.

“It was a good run,” said Kahne, who scored his fourth top five of the Chase. “Track position was a big deal. Even on those long runs, it would get spread out. The guy out front could make up some ground. You needed to be as close to the front as possible. The whole team did a good job.”

Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and A.J. Allmendinger completed the first 10 finishers.

Five-time champion Jimmie Johnson moved closer to the end of his unprecedented championship run when he finished 14th. He remained sixth in points, 54 back.

Michael McDowell, who substituted for Kyle Busch in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota after NASCAR parked Busch for his actions in Friday night’s truck series race, finished 33rd. Busch was officially eliminated from championship competition.

Edwards leads Stewart by three points with Kevin Harvick third 33 behind, Matt Kenseth 38 out and Brad Keselowski rounding out the top five and 49 points off the pace.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Phoenix International Raceway for next Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Tony Stewart

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