Tony Stewart celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2011 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Stewart wins at Martinsville Speedway, warns Edwards

 

Tony Stewart seized Jimmie Johnson on a restart with three laps to go Sunday and captured the checkered flag in the TUMS Relief 500 at Martinsville. The win surged Stewart into contention for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship with just three races left in the 2011 season.

With his third victory of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the two-time champion jumped two spots to second in the standings and now trails Carl Edwards by eight points. Edwards rebounded for ninth after falling a lap down twice.

“He’d better be worried,” said Stewart of Edwards. “That’s all I’m going to say. He isn’t going to have an easy three weeks.”

Edwards struggled all day, running off the lead lap and outside the top 20 for a majority of the day, but rallied to finish ninth and held on to a lead that he seemed likely to lose.

“Last week we kind of rode around on purpose,” Edwards said. “This week I couldn’t get out of the back. We didn’t deserve that finish.”

The 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season closes with races at Texas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, and Homestead-Miami Speedway; Edwards traditionally has done very well at the latter two.

Others weren’t as lucky, chief among them Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski, who had late problems and were both passed by Stewart in the points race.Edwards struggled all day, running off the lead lap and outside the top 20 for a majority of the day, but rallied to finish ninth and held on to a lead that he seemed likely to lose.

“Last week we kind of rode around on purpose,” Edwards said. “This week I couldn’t get out of the back. We didn’t deserve that finish.”

Stewart has won at Chicagoland Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway since the Chase started.

The race featured a season high 18 caution flags (the most at Martinsville since a record 21 in October 2007) and plenty of flared tempers.

Next Sunday the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ventures to Texas Motor Speedway. The last time they raced at the track, Matt Kenseth won. Will Roush-Fenway sweep the weekend? Will Tony Stewart keep the momentum?

Finishing Order:

1 4 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 47/4 500 Running
2 7 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet MyLowe’s 43/1 500 Running
3 10 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 42/1 500 Running
4 5 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 41/1 500 Running
5 11 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Ground 40/1 500 Running
6 23 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 38/0 500 Running
7 9 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew “Paint the 88″ / National Guard 37/0 500 Running
8 24 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 36/0 500 Running
9 1 99 Carl Edwards Ford Scotts WinterGuard Fertilizer 36/1 500 Running
10 12 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Haas Automation 35/1 500 Running
11 16 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford AdvoCare 34/1 500 Running
12 33 13 Casey Mears Toyota GEICO 32/0 500 Running
13 26 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 31/0 500 Running
14 8 22 Kurt Busch Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 30/0 500 Running
15 15 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M Filtrete 29/0 500 Running
16 35 38 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver’s 0 500 Running
17 3 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 27/0 500 Running
18 22 20 Joey Logano Toyota Interstate Batteries 26/0 500 Running
19 13 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet American Ethanol 25/0 500 Running
20 28 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron’s Dream Machine 24/0 500 Running
21 34 32 Ken Schrader Ford U.S. Chrome / Southern Pride Trucking 23/0 500 Running
22 20 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 22/0 497 Running
23 32 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Golden Corral 21/0 497 Running
24 21 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Richmond / Menards 20/0 497 Running
25 14 4 Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull 19/0 495 Running
26 36 71 Hermie Sadler Ford Home Smart 0 493 Running
27 6 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M’s Halloween 19/2 493 Running
28 19 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Carquest / Go
Daddy.com
16/0 491 Running
29 17 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 15/0 488 Running
30 25 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 14/0 484 Accident
31 2 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal 14/1 477 Running
32 29 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Grilling.com 12/0 464 Running
33 18 6 David Ragan Ford UPS My Choice 11/0 444 Running
34 31 34 David Gilliland Ford Front Row Motorsports 11/1 357 Accident
35 27 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald’s 9/0 85 Accident
36 37 7 Reed Sorenson Dodge Speed Energy 0 77 Vibration
37 39 46 Scott Speed Ford Green Stuff Absorbent 0 74 Rear Gear
38 42 30 David Stremme Chevrolet Inception Motorsports 6/0 52 Brakes
39 40 66 Michael McDowell Toyota Victory Junction 5/0 45 Brakes
40 43 55 J.J. Yeley Ford Front Row Motorsports 4/0 40 Brakes
41 41 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves 0 33 Rear Gear
42 30 51 Landon Cassill Chevrolet Phoenix Construction / Thank A Teacher Today / Security Benefit 0 27 Brakes
43 38 37 Mike Skinner Ford Max Q Motorsports 0 7 Accident

 

Tags: Martinsville Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Tony Stewart

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