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Hot Cars in the Vegas Spotlight

March 7, 2011

Article first published as Stewart Mistake Hands Victory to Surging Carl Edwards on Technorati.

Tony Stewart had the field covered. The No. 14 Office Depot/Mobile 1 Chevrolet looked to be unbeatable, leading for 127 of the first 150 laps. And then during a caution on lap 149 for a David Gilliland cut tire, Stewart left his pit with an air wrench still attached. He was forced to serve a pass-through penalty for dragging equipment that put him on the tail end of the lead lap.

Carl Edwards started third and was quick to capitalize on Stewarts misfortune. He drove the Rousch/Fenway No. 99 Scott’s/Kellogs Ford straight to the front and led for the next several laps.

Later in the race Tony Stewart, still with a strong race car, used a two-tire strategy during a caution on lap 198 to pick up track position and came out of the pits leading again.

The two-tire strategy had short term gains but long term disaster when during a late race stop the team was forced to put four tires on Stewart’s Chevy. Carl Edwards took two during his stop a few laps later and returned to the race ahead of Tony Stewart to take the lead.

At the checkered flag it was Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart in 2nd, and Juan Montoya in 3rd. Claiming 4th was the Australian Marcos Ambrose putting the retooled Richard Petty Motorsports back in the top five. Tony Stewart’s teammate, Ryan Newman, rounded out the top five.

Notes: Earnhardt scored his second straight top 10 and climbed from 17th to 10th in the series standings. … Kenseth rallied to finish 11th. … Five-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson fell a lap down when Stewart passed him on Lap 91 but rebounded to run 16th. … Kevin Harvick worked his way into the top five from the 26th starting position, but a pit-road speeding penalty cost him dearly. Harvick finished 17th and is 20th in points.

Source: NASCAR Wire Service

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