Tony Stewart, driver of the Mobil 1 Top Alcohol Dragster, clinched a decisive victory at the Northeast Division Race at Maple Grove Raceway this weekend, adding another feather to his cap in an already spectacular season.
Stewart secured the no. 2 spot qualifying spot in round three of qualifying with a 5.266 ET at 273.16 mph. In round one, he defeated Mike Hepp with 5.294 ET at 273.72 mph. Then in round two, he took down Dan Page, running 5.276 ET at 272.39 mph. Lastly, in the finals, a gripping finish saw Stewart defeat his teammate Matt Cummings, who didn’t cross the finish line due to a sheared fuel pump drive, with a run of 5.291 ET at 271.90 mph.
“The weekend was a polar opposite compared to what happened last race in Columbus (Ohio),” said Stewart. “The whole team made a conscious decision to try and be on the other side of it. Even though we made it to the Finals, we felt like we were a little too aggressive in Columbus, and it bit us. We came into Reading with a plan to make sure we made a solid lap the first round of qualifying, and we could press from there. We kept it in a good, safe zone. My teammate, Matt Cummings, had the fastest car. He was just a little quicker than us all weekend. I was able to have really good reaction times both days, and that was a big key to getting us here.”
Stewart earned his third win in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. His two previous wins came at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas and the North Central Division Race in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“You hate to win a race at the end against your teammate due to a mechanical failure, but unfortunately it happens,” he continued. “Being able to win the race and take over the national points lead is something we’re extremely proud and happy about. You don’t want to beat your teammate with misfortune like that, but it could happen to us too. I was really proud of the McPhillips Racing team. They did a great job of giving Matt and I two cars that were dominant all weekend. It came down to the two of us. We’re gelling with this team, and now that we have the points lead, the plan is to keep it. We don’t want to let it get away from us. We’ll stick to the plan and stay the course. We’ll keep executing run after run.”
With the Northeast Division Race win at Maple Grove Raceway, Stewart takes the lead in the Top Alcohol Dragster championship standings. In addition to a national championship, Stewart is also vying for a regional championship in the North Central Region. He’s leading the North Central Region championship point standings by a healthy margin with a total of 266 points.