Stewart keeps on winning

Posted: Monday, August 15, 2005

 

  Tony Stewart is sprayed by teammates as he celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y., Sunday, Aug. 14, 2005. AP Photo/David Duprey

Tony Stewart is sprayed by teammates as he celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y., Sunday, Aug. 14, 2005.

AP Photo/David Duprey

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — A broken alternator couldn't keep Tony Stewart from blowing away the field one more time.

Faced with a problem right at the end of a race he dominated, Stewart simply snookered the opposition on the final two restarts and cruised to his fifth victory in seven races. And his dominant performance Sunday at Watkins Glen International padded his lead in the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings.

Still, he had to hope he had enough juice left after a late caution forced two extra laps. Stewart radioed in that he had an alternator problem, forcing him to shut off some systems and switch to a backup battery. Then he sprinted away from Robby Gordon on the final restart.

''The hard thing is Robby Gordon is really good getting into turn one,'' Stewart said. ''The big thing was to get a good restart and not be concerned with him.''

Stewart did just that, leaving Gordon as nothing more than a valiant competitor who charged from his 39th starting spot all the way to Stewart's rear bumper with two laps to go. But Stewart made him slow down just before the restart.

''He got away because he stabbed the brakes then took off,'' Gordon said. ''He's a great racer, but second is just first loser.''

Stewart used the same tactic to get away from Boris Said on the 76th lap.

''I had great restarts all day, but Tony got me and I got bogged down,'' explained Said, who quickly lost the second spot to Gordon.

Scott Pruett, who finished fourth, was even more impressed.

''They could have taken 10 more restarts,'' he said. ''We weren't going to catch him.''

Stewart has become a master of restarts, resembling the late Dale Earnhardt when he has the lead.

''The only time anybody could get close to us was on the restarts,'' Stewart said. ''But this thing really went fast today. We had an absolutely flawless day other than the alternator.

''I don't know what we need to do to keep this thing going, but we've got to.''

Crew chief Greg Zipadelli said hard work and a lack of complacency has the team on its incredible roll. He said he has been reminding the team not to let up.

''This is like a fantasy. I hope it lasts,'' Zipadelli said. ''Smoke has been just fired up. I haven't seen him this focused in the seven years I've been around him.''

Sharp breaks long drought with win at Kentucky

SPARTA, Ky. — Scott Sharp walked into his post-race interview session and summed up his feelings with the first word out of his mouth.

''Yeah!'' he screamed upon entering the room. The former Indy Racing League champion felt as much relief as elation after he won for the first time in more than two years, holding off Vitor Meira on Sunday to win the Amber Alert Portal Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

Bourdais defends title at Grand Prix of Denver

DENVER — Defending champion Sebastien Bourdais took advantage of a late crash by Paul Tracy, then pulled away from the pack to win the Grand Prix of Denver on Sunday, his third straight victory and fourth of the season.

Bourdais won last year's race from the back of the pack, winding his way from 13th to first after getting bumped in the first turn. The Frenchman avoided another pileup on the first corner this time, then waited for his chance.

That came in Lap 62, when Tracy slammed into a wall after cutting the corner too close. Bourdais moved into the lead after that and was never seriously challenged, finishing 15.27 seconds ahead of Mario Dominguez on the 1.657-mile temporary street course.

Bourdais, who won in Edmonton and San Jose the previous two races, celebrated with a few doughnuts in front of the grandstands after increasing his lead over Tracy in the Champ Car series to 53 points with five races left.

Bourdais gave the thumbs-up as he drove in, then waved a checkered flag and pumped his fist in victory lane as his parents, who flew over from France, looked on.

A.J. Allmendinger finished third, a big step for the second-year driver after crashing the previous two races.

Tracy had hoped he'd be able to cut in Bourdais' lead after setting track records on both days of qualifying to earn his third pole of the season. Tracy led the race from the start, except during a brief pit stop, and seemed to be in control, his car running almost perfectly.

Then disaster struck.

Coming around Turn 4, Tracy was trying to get close enough to lap another car when he brushed the inside wall and knocked his front suspension loose. The impact threw Tracy's car across the track and he slammed straight into a concrete wall, destroying the front end.

Tracy got out of his car and ran across the track away from on-track officials, furious that he cost his team what seemed to be a sure victory.

''The car was great. I just basically just handed the championship to Sebastien,'' Tracy said. ''It's devastating for the whole team. We'll just try to come back next week in Montreal and win there. That's all we can do.''

Allmendinger, running third after Tracy's mishap, moved up to second on Lap 71 when Dominguez drove off the track at Turn 4 and dropped to fourth. Dominguez put it in reverse to get back on the track, then started pouring on the speed.

He turned in the race's fastest lap four laps later, then passed Timo Glock, who was having transmission trouble, for third on Lap 87. Dominguez quickly closed the gap on Allmendinger, then passed him on the penultimate lap, diving inside on Turn 9 and holding him off down the start/finish straightaway as the white flag waved.



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