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NASCAR notebook

Stewart waits, then dominates

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Tony Stewart is 2-for-2 in Nationwide Series races this season, adding a victory at Fontana in the rain-delayed Stater Brothers 300 to the one he earned in the opener at Daytona.

Getty Images Tony Stewart is 2-for-2 in Nationwide Series races this season, adding a victory at Fontana in the rain-delayed Stater Brothers 300 to the one he earned in the opener at Daytona.

FONTANA, Calif. — Tony Stewart was dominant Monday in winning his second straight NASCAR Nationwide Series race, holding off hard-charging Kyle Busch again.

Stewart beat Busch, his teammate in the Sprint Cup series, in a 1-2 Toyota sweep in the Nationwide opener at Daytona. He made it look a lot easier in the rain-postponed Stater Brothers 300 as he led 136 of 150 laps on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway, formerly California Speedway.

It is the fourth victory for two-time Cup champion Stewart in what was previously known as the Busch Series, but his first at any track besides Daytona International Speedway.

"The car was awesome. I've got to hand it to my crew chief, Dave Rogers, and his guys," Stewart said. "They made this car real, real good and there were a lot of cars out there that weren't real good."

Both leaders were close to running out of gas at the end, but they made it as Stewart crossed the finish line 2.408 seconds — about half the final straightaway — ahead of Busch.

Stewart kept the 23-year-old Busch, his fellow Joe Gibbs Racing driver, from ending the California week leading all three of NASCAR's top series. Busch leads the standings in Sprint Cup and the truck series.

Busch has piled up eight straight finishes of first or second and no finish worse than eighth in his past 13 starts in NASCAR's second-tier series.

David Reutimann of Zephyrhills came in fourth.

NEWMAN'S OWN: A week after winning the Daytona 500, Ryan Newman finished 10th in the Auto Club 500 and dropped to second behind Busch in Sprint Cup points.

"The car was just okay," Newman said. "At times we were a seventh-place car and, at other times, we were a 15th-place car. If you average it out, I think we did a little bit better than we could have."

Tenth was exactly where Newman's Penske Racing Dodge was late Sunday when NASCAR postponed the conclusion of the race.

TOUGH SLEDDING: The Sprint Cup race was a learning experience for the ex-open-wheel contingent.

Juan Pablo Montoya, last year's top Cup rookie, threatened the top 10 late but finished 20th, while fellow former Indy car stars Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish had considerably less success. Patrick Carpentier didn't even get a chance to make the race when qualifying was rained out Friday.

Franchitti never ran among the leaders and wound up two laps down in 32nd. Hornish got crashed out shortly after Sunday's rain-delayed start. He finished last in the 43-car field.

Franchitti viewed it as another stock car learning experience.

"I learned a lot," he said. "We went through a lot of different conditions between (Sunday and Monday) and I'm just getting used to driving the car and racing the cars as well."

Stewart waits, then dominates 02/25/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 8:56am]
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