NASCAR: Stewart Wins at "The Lady In Black"

Samuel SicaAnalyst IMay 9, 2008

     The Nationwide Series strolled into Darlington this Mother's Day weekend for the eleventh race of the season.

     Carl Edwards was on the pole setting a new track record for qualifying at Darlington. Clint Bowyer was also fast in qualifying but had to settle for second behind Edwards.

     As the green flag waved over the field, Edwards was passed by Bowyer for the lead in turn three when he got up and into the wall. Edwards would go another lap before his tire blew going into turn one sending him right into the wall. Edwards would end up finishing in the last position.

     Bowyer would lead the race until lap 14 when Tony Stewart put his Toyota out front for the first time. Stewart would lead for awhile as the race stayed green through the first round of pit stops. Pit stops would take place under the green flag around lap 55 and finish up around lap 65. After green flag stops were completed, Stewart would come out as the leader once again.

     Stewart would continue to lead until a caution flag came out for a spin by Stanton Barrett on lap 75. The top five drivers stayed out under the caution with the rest of the drivers on the lead lap coming down pit road. 

     The race would stay green for a couple of laps before a big crash involving Derrike Cope in turn one came out. The leaders would come down pit road under the caution with Matt Kenseth staying out and taking the lead.

     Kenseth would lead the race until 26 laps remained in the race. Kenseth felt a vibration and had to come down pit road to get it fixed. Bad luck continued for Kenseth though when he got loose in turn four and crashed on the front-stretch ending his night.

     The race would stay green until David Ragan crashed coming off turn two bringing out the seventh caution flag of the race. This would set up a restart with just three laps to go. As the green flag waved, Mark Martin ran out of gas causing a four car accident involving Mike Wallace, Kelly Bires, and Mike Bliss. All four cars were running in the top ten before the accident.

     On the last restart, Stewart held the lead and went on to his first win at Darlington in Nascar competition. The top ten finishers were Stewart, Bowyer, David Reutimann, Todd Bodine, Steven Wallace, David Stremme, Jason Keller, Chase Miller, Jason Leffler, and Marcose Ambrose. Some notable finishes include Kevin Harvick in 13th, Mike Bliss in 14th, Morgan Shepherd in 16th, and Mark Martin in 23rd position.

     The top five in the point standings are Bowyer, Busch, Edwards, Reutimann, and Bliss.

     Darlington is now in the history books and we can all look forward to the All-Star Race next week in Charlotte.