Tony Stewart Wins Fourth Straight Sprint Cup Race in a Row

Gastonia, N.C. (September 6, 2010) – Tony Stewart gave WIX Filters its FOURTH consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory by capturing the Emory Healthcare 500 Sunday night at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway.
Cars equipped with WIX Filters have now won five of the six most recent Cup races and racked up 17 victories in 2010 (including the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 plus the Budweiser Shootout and Gatorade Duel special event races).
Stewart scored a convincing victory at Atlanta, leading eight times for a race-high 176 laps and earning WIX Filters Lap Leader of the Race honors for the third time this season.  He won for the first time in 2010, ending a 31-race winless stretch dating back to the 2009 Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway plus officially clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.   
“We had to be the fastest car all night at the beginning of the run,” Stewart said.  “If we got track position and we got anywhere close to clean air, we were able to just take off.  Once we get two or three laps in, I didn’t have to run as hard as the guys behind me or to try to pass me    I was able to take care of the tires and after five more laps we are able to drive away from those guys and open up a huge gap.  For a driver, that’s a nice benefit to have, because you can get out there and you’re making those guys have to chase you down.  And there were times we were not the fastest car the last half of the run but we were able to stretch a big enough lead up the first half of the run, those guys were not able to make that deficit up.”
Stewart got a helping hand from his pit crew late in the race.  Brad Keselowski spun on lap 296, bringing out the seventh caution of the race, and setting up the final round of pit stops.  The No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice team made a lightning quick stop that put Stewart second in line for the restart behind race leader Carl Edwards. 
When the race went green on lap 301, Stewart shot past Edwards off Turn 2 to take the lead.  The eighth and final caution waved for debris on lap 307, but Edwards couldn’t find a way past Stewart, who slowly pulled away in the closing laps and officially crossed the finish line 1.316 seconds ahead of Edwards.
“I struggled on restarts all night,” Stewart said.  “Finally the last two, I hit it a lot closer and kept them from spinning quite as bad.  The pit crew is who we have got to give all the credit to tonight.  They had an awesome pit stop the last time we came in that got us that track position that I lost on the previous restart.  So you know, without that, I don’t think we would have a shot to [win].”
Darien Grubb, Stewart’s crew chief, called winning just two weeks before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins “huge.” It’s definitely huge for us to be able to get the win right before we go into the Chase,” Grubb said.  “The momentum is a big thing, but it’s one of those things we wanted to have all along.  It’s not like we weren’t trying to get to victory lane every week.  It was a tough battle.  We learned a lot of things in the last few months that have given Tony a lot more comfort in the racetrack and keep speed in it, as well.  The more we keep doing that, the more lessons we can learn, the more we can apply it and going into the Chase it makes us feel that much better.” Stewart won for the third time in 24 races at Atlanta and for the 38th time in 417 career starts. He gained two positions in the series championship standings, moving up to fourth-place, 23 points behind third-place Kyle Busch and 14 ahead of fifth-place Carl Edwards.
Stewart averaged 129.041 mph in a race that took 3 hours, 52 minutes and 43 seconds to complete.  There were 22 lead changes among seven drivers in a race that was slowed by eight cautions for 53 laps.
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