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Rain gives Stewart victory in California

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Monday 26th March, 2012 - 8:04am

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Tony Stewart was out front when the rain came at Fontana

Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart has won his second race of the season with victory at the rain-shortened Auto Club 400 at Fontana in California.

With rain threatening throughout the after afternoon, drivers raced somewhat conservatively in an effort to make the 100-lap mark to reach the half distance that would make the race official. In fact the only caution period came at lap #124 for the rain.

Cars were parked on lap #129 – with further rain forecast in the area NASCAR officials declaring the race after a 60-minute break.

Just prior to the red flag drivers had the opportunity to pit, with Denny Hamlin choosing to come to pit road from second place. If the race had of re-started this would have been a decisive move, but it backfired.

Kyle Busch, who stayed out with Stewart, finished second, with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards completing the top five.

Greg Biffle ran sixth, followed by Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch, all of whom gambled on protracted rain and stayed on the track during the initial shower. Jimmie Johnson and pole-sitter Hamlin finished 10th and 11th respectively.

In Johnson’s case, the top-10 was a godsend, given that the No. 48 Chevrolet developed an oil line problem as the cars circled the 2-mile track under caution. Johnson’s car began smoking and he kept it rolling on the apron until NASCAR stopped the race.

Australia’s Marcos Ambrose was placed 21st after a somewhat tough weekend where he qualified 29th.

“It was just a quiet day,” said Ambrose.

“The track was coming to us a little bit, so we were hoping the race would get going again. This isn’t what we want for our DeWalt Ford, but we haven’t been good all weekend.”

“All of the drivers knew the rain was coming, so you didn’t want to mess up and ruin your day knowing that there were going to be very limited cautions. I guess all of the drivers are smart.”

2012 Unofficial Race Results : Auto Club 400 | Race 5 of 36

FIN

ST

CAR

DRIVER

MAKE

SPONSOR

PTS/BNS

LAPS

STATUS

1 9 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 47/1 129 Running
2 2 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries 44/2 129 Running
3 14 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew / National Guard 41/0 129 Running
4 7 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches 40/0 129 Running
5 12 99 Carl Edwards Ford Subway 39/0 129 Running
6 4 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 38/0 129 Running
7 6 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 37/0 129 Running
8 13 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 36/0 129 Running
9 23 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Services 35/0 129 Running
10 10 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe’s / Jimmie Johnson Foundation 35/1 129 Running
11 1 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 34/1 129 Running
12 3 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron’s Dream Machine 32/0 129 Running
13 15 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Ford EcoBoost 31/0 129 Running
14 11 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 30/0 129 Running
15 5 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Quaker State 29/0 129 Running
16 25 22 AJ Allmendinger Dodge Southern California AAA 28/0 129 Running
17 24 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 27/0 129 Running
18 17 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 26/0 129 Running
19 27 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet CertainTeed / Menards 25/0 129 Running
20 22 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 24/0 129 Running
21 29 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Dewalt 23/0 129 Running
22 19 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 22/0 129 Running
23 33 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 21/0 129 Running
24 8 20 Joey Logano Toyota Dollar General 20/0 129 Running
25 28 43 Aric Almirola Ford Medallion Financial 19/0 129 Running
26 21 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 19/1 129 Running
27 18 10 David Reutimann Chevrolet Accell Construction 17/0 127 Running
28 26 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Charter 16/0 127 Running
29 40 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 15/0 127 Running
30 41 38 David Gilliland Ford 1-800LoanMart 14/0 127 Running
31 38 34 David Ragan Ford Front Row Motorsports 13/0 127 Running
32 16 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Allstate 12/0 126 Running
33 34 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 11/0 126 Running
34 42 32 Ken Schrader Ford U.S. Chrome / 1 Less Than 2 Ltd. 10/0 125 Running
35 36 249 J.J. Yeley Toyota America Israel Racing 9/0 125 Running
36 31 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 8/0 124 Running
37 30 26 Josh Wise * Ford Morristown Driver’s Service 7/0 52 Vibration
38 32 98 Michael McDowell Ford Curb Records 6/0 41 Vibration
39 20 30 David Stremme Toyota @TheNASCARFans 5/0 37 Rear Gear
40 39 119 Mike Bliss Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing 0 19 Transmission
41 35 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 3/0 18 Vibration
42 43 74 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet Turn One Racing 0 7 Vibration
43 37 33 Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet South Point Hotel & Casino 1/0 2 Engine

* Denotes Rookie

2012 Unofficial Driver Standings: Race 5 of 36

RANK

+/-

DRIVER

POINTS

1 Greg Biffle 195
2 Kevin Harvick 188
3 +3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 178
4 +3 Tony Stewart 177
5 -2 Matt Kenseth 176
6 -2 Martin Truex Jr. 175
7 -2 Denny Hamlin 171
8 +3 Jimmie Johnson 156
9 -1 Clint Bowyer 156
10 +3 Ryan Newman 155
11 -1 Paul Menard 148
12 +3 Carl Edwards 146
13 -4 Joey Logano 146
14 +2 Kyle Busch 143
15 -3 Jeff Burton 142
16 -2 Brad Keselowski 139
17 Mark Martin 129
18 Juan Montoya 123
19 +1 Regan Smith 118
20 +1 Bobby Labonte 108
21 +1 Aric Almirola 107
22 -3 Jamie McMurray 106
23 +4 Kurt Busch 105
24 Marcos Ambrose 105
25 -2 Jeff Gordon 104
26 AJ Allmendinger 100
27 -2 Dave Blaney 87
28 +4 Kasey Kahne 86
29 +2 Casey Mears 81
30 -1 David Gilliland 80
31 -3 David Ragan 79
32 -2 David Reutimann 79
33 +2 Travis Kvapil 62
34 -1 Landon Cassill 62
35 -1 Brendan Gaughan 50
36 David Stremme 49
37 +2 J.J. Yeley 42
38 -1 Brian Vickers 40
39 -1 Michael McDowell 40
40 +2 Ken Schrader 35
41 -1 Terry Labonte 27
42 -1 Tony Raines 25
43 Josh Wise* 18
44 +1 Scott Riggs 8
45 -1 Robby Gordon 6
46 Timmy Hill* 2
47 Trevor Bayne 0
48 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 0
49 Mike Bliss 0
50 Elliott Sadler 0
51 Joe Nemechek 0
52 Danica Patrick 0
53 Reed Sorenson 0
54 Michael Waltrip 0
55 Robert Richardson Jr. 0
56 Bill Elliott 0
57 Mike Wallace 0
58 Kenny Wallace 0

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