AUTO RACING: Stewart holds on to break 30-race winless streak

2013-06-03T00:00:00Z AUTO RACING: Stewart holds on to break 30-race winless streakThe Associated Press The Associated Press
June 03, 2013 12:00 am  • 

DOVER, Del. - Tony Stewart made a late outside pass on Juan Pablo Montoya and held on Sunday at Dover International Speedway to snap a 30-race winless streak.

Stewart hadn't even had a top-five finish this season and was stuck in 20th in the points standings. He took the lead with the pass with three laps left in the 400-mile race.

Stewart hadn't won on the concrete mile track since he swept both Cup races in 2000.

"Our guys at our shop have been digging," Stewart said. "None of these guys get down. We have been down but they haven't gotten down. That is what carries you to days like today at the end of the day."

Seven-time Dover winner Jimmie Johnson appeared to have the car to beat, but jumped a restart and had to serve a pass-through penalty. Johnson argued over the radio and stayed on the track before he finally hit pit road.

With Johnson out of the picture, Montoya and Stewart battled for the lead the rest of the race.

Jeff Gordon was third, followed by Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski. NASCAR said Keselowski failed post-race inspection because the entire front of his No. 2 Ford was too low.

Stewart's team erupted in celebration in the pits after winning for the first time since last July in Daytona. It was his 48th career win. He hadn't finished better than 20th in his last four races at Dover.

He might not have gotten this one had Johnson not been penalized with about 19 laps left. Johnson jumped ahead of Montoya out of the restart box and NASCAR quickly threw the black flag.

"We certainly had the winning car," Johnson said. "We'll have to come back and do it in the fall."

Montoya's only two career Cup victories came on road courses. He tried to play the spoiler after Johnson's penalty but just didn't have enough to hold off a hard-charging Stewart.

Johnson, who kept the points lead, finished 17th.

Pagenaud captures Detroit Grand Prix

DETROIT - Simon Pagenaud took advantage of a series of restarts, making moves each time to thrive in a crash-filled Detroit Grand Prix for his first IndyCar victory.

The Frenchman finished 5.6 seconds in front of James Jakes on Sunday in the second of two races on Belle Isle.

"Luckily enough, my reflexes are pretty sharp," Pagenaud said.

The reigning IndyCar Rookie of the Year hadn't finished better than second in 39 IndyCar and Champ Car races, a fact he thought about late in the race.

"Those last two laps were very emotional in the car, but I kept saying, 'Keep pushing,'" he recalled. "When I crossed the finish line, it was a sweet moment."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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