Tony Stewart ends 30-race winless drought at Dover

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Article Courtesy:  Stewart-Haas Racing

Tony Stewart led the way for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) Sunday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway by winning the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, took the lead for the first time on lap 398 of the 400-lap race and led the final three laps on the concrete, mile oval en route to scoring his 48th career victory and first this season. It was his third victory, 11th top-five finish and 16th top-10 in 29 career Sprint Cup starts at Dover. It was also his third top-10 this season.

The victory also extended Stewart’s streak of winning at least one race per season since joining the Sprint Cup Series in 1999. Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 24th. It was Patrick’s 23rd career Sprint Cup start and her second at Dover.

Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet for SHR, finished 36th after starting fifth. It was his 23rd career Sprint Cup start at Dover and was marred by a mid-race accident.

Juan Pablo Montoya finished .788 of a second behind Stewart in the runner-up spot, while Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five. Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were seven caution periods for 32 laps, with nine drivers failing to finish the 400-lap race.

With round 13 of 36 complete, Stewart leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He moved up four spots to 16th and has 338 points, 135 back of series leader Jimmie Johnson and 33 points behind 10th-place Paul Menard. Newman fell four places to 20th in the standings and has 323 points, 150 out of first and 48 behind Menard. Patrick picked up one position to 29th in the standings and has 231 points, 242 behind Johnson and 140 away from Menard.

Thirteen races remain before the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Only the top-10 in points are locked into the Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points with the most wins. If multiple drivers have the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.

Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished 11 spots behind Stenhouse, who placed 13th.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Party in the Poconos 400 on Sunday, June 9 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by TNT beginning with its pre-race show at noon.