Watkins Glen, NY (Sports Network) - Tony Stewart battled stomach cramps and leg cramps as well as 42 drivers, but hung tough and captured Sunday's
Sirius at the Glen Nextel Cup race at the Watkins Glen International circuit.
The No.20 Home Depot Chevrolet driver had gone so far as to get a backup driver ready (Boris Said), but he stayed with the car and eventually crossed
the finish line 1.517 seconds ahead of runner-up Ron Fellows.
Fellows had started last and charged all the way through the field, but couldn't catch Stewart despite making a concerted effort over the race's final
For Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, it was a disastrous day as both drivers suffered problems that took them out of the
Johnson completed just 23 laps before turning into the garage for good. Gordon was in contention early on, leading 13 laps, but a transmission problem
knocked him out of the top-10 with less than 15 laps to go.
"I made an error shifting from third to second," said Johnson. I ended up in first gear and over-revved the engine. I lost first gear...and when we
went back to restart I heard something in the engine that ended up taking us out. It was all my fault.
"We'll come to Michigan and come out with our normal style and have a great race."
The victory was Stewart's second of the season and 19th of his "Cup" career.
Mark Martin, Casey Mears and Dale Earnhardt Jr. completed the top-five.
Despite his 40th-place finish, Johnson maintained his championship lead over teammate Gordon. The No.48 Lowe's Chevrolet driver holds a 40-point
margin over Gordon, who finished 21st (3,143-3,103). Earnhardt Jr. (3,015) closed to within 128 points with his top-five finish and is followed by
Stewart (2,951) and Kenseth (2,876).
In the race for the final guaranteed position in the "Chase for the Championship," Jeremy Mayfield took the spot from Ryan Newman and now holds a
24-point edge over his Evernham Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne. Newman fell to 12th, 29 points out of the final position for the "Chase."
The next race in the championship, the GFS Marketplace 400 at the Michigan International Speedway, is scheduled for Sunday, August 22nd.