Stewart Capitalizes On Strong Run At Las Vegas With Four Post-Race Awards
Despite a runner-up finish, Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet Impala was arguably the strongest car in the field during Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His run propelled the two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion to score his first top-five finish of 2011, and four post-race contingency awards.
“This Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevy was the baddest thing on the West Coast today,” said Stewart post-race.
For his efforts, Stewart picked up a jackpot of contingency awards, including the American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award, a new award for 2011 that goes to the eligible driver that records the fastest average speed on restarts and finishes the race on the lead lap.
Stewart also captured the Mobil 1 Oil Driver of the Race Award, given to the winner of each race or the next highest-finishing eligible competitor (contingent on decal display), as well as the Goodyear Gatorback Belts Fastest Lap of the Race Award, for turning the fastest lap of the race (182.408 mph, Lap 20) while leading the event.
Credit goes to the engine builders at Hendrick Motorsports for the power under the hood of the No. 14. Wrench-turners at Hendrick Motorsports picked up their second MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Race Award of the season based on points awarded for qualifying, laps led and finishing position.
All awards are part of the NASCAR Prize Money and Decal Program, also referred to as the contingency program, which provides teams prize money and weekly awards based on performance in several categories.
“We had a really, really balanced car,” said Stewart. “It didn't seem like it mattered what we did. We were fast on the front, but the last half of the run we could just march away from everybody and leave them.”
Three races into the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Stewart owns the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points lead heading to Bristol Motor Speedway’s Jeff Byrd 500 presented by Food City on March 20 (1 p.m. EST, FOX).
Official winners of this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Prize Money & Decal Program special awards include:
v AMERICAN ETHANOL GREEN FLAG RESTART: Tony Stewart
v COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD: Matt Kenseth (188.884 mph. 28.589 secs.)
v DIRECTV CREW CHIEF OF THE RACE AWARD: Bob Osborne (crew chief for Carl Edwards)
v GOODYEAR GATORBACK BELTS FASTEST LAP AWARD: Tony Stewart (182.408 mph, Lap 20)
v MAHLE CLEVITE ENGINE BUILDER OF THE RACE AWARD: No. 14, Hendrick Motorsports
v MOBIL 1 OIL DRIVER OF THE RACE AWARD: Tony Stewart
v MOOG CHASSIS PARTS PROBLEM SOLVER OF THE RACE AWARD: Steve Letarte (crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr,, 0.198 secs.)
v O’REILLY AUTO PARTS POSITION IMPROVEMENT AWARD: Juan Pablo Montoya (20 places)
v SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE RACE AWARD: Andy Lally