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Tony Stewart remains leader in Sprint Cup standings

Stewart finishes third at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and is 192 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson.

July 27, 2009|Tania Ganguli

INDIANAPOLIS — Tony Stewart maintained his points lead with a third-place finish Sunday in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

"I take that we ran third at the Brickyard 400," Stewart said. "There's no shame in that. Forty-three cars and we ran third today. To come here with a new package, a new crew chief, to run third our first time here together, I think that's a lot to be proud of."

Stewart leads Jimmie Johnson in the season standings by 192 points. Johnson has won this race three of the last four years. Stewart won in 2007.

With his win Sunday, Johnson eclipsed teammate Jeff Gordon to take second place in the points standings. Gordon finished the race ninth.

"You don't have to win a race in the Chase to win the championship," Stewart said. "You could sit there and run third or fourth every week and have a realistic shot easily to win the championship."



Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 Chevrolet ran in the top 10 most of the day. Then his engine broke on Lap 127.

"The motor broke coming out of the pits under acceleration," Earnhardt said. " . . . I could have possibly over-revved it a little bit or something like that. But I had a great engine and we don't ever break them."

The car was the first his crew chief Lance McGrew ever built, and Earnhardt said McGrew was proud of it.

They'll take it to Pocono, Pa., and use it next week.


Tire trouble

Despite three wins this season, Kyle Busch found himself out of the top 12 after a 38th-place finish on Sunday.

Busch blew a right front tire and slammed into the wall.

"I think it's pretty self-explanatory that we're trying to fight for a spot in the Chase and this is obviously frustrating because I don't know if it was our cars, the tire or what," Busch said. "The guys on pit road were going to save this day because you pass out there. I showed that."

Busch leaves Indianapolis in 14th place in the points standings.

"Now you gotta really focus on getting in that Chase," Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said. "You can have pretty good years, but you have to have those finishes. You have to have consistency."


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