California Dreamin’: Oakley’s Tony Stewart Grabs NASCAR Pepsi Max 400 Victory in Fontana, Clint Bowyer Snatches Second
It was a flat out one-two punch for the O in Fontana this past weekend.
Oakley’s Tony Stewart stood his ground and powered his way to victory at the 400 mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Auto Club Speedway. Not far behind on his tail at the finish line was Oakley head-to-toe driver Clint Bowyer, who’s been surging late in the season to emerge as one of the wild cards in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Stewart solidified his win in the final laps on the two mile oval, displaying his dominance with bold moves from the back to the front and building a sizable gap in front of his closest competitors when the final caution dropped.
“Oh man, they (his crew) did an awesome,” said Stewart, rocking his Oakley’s post-race. “They did an unbelievable job in the pits that got us an opportunity again. Both races we have won, we have won because the pit crew gave us a chance and that is all you can ask for.”
David Regan moved up high, pushing Kurt Busch into the wall with seven laps to go. The clean-up ate away four of the slow caution ran laps, opening the door to the double file restart with Jimmie Johnson on the low side – as Stewart elected the outside line. A line-up that had the fans standing for the final 3 laps dash. Johnson in his Chevy was no match for Stewart who pulled out just enough of a gap to keep the lead.
Johnson was feeling the heat on his rear from Oakley’s Clint Bowyer in his Chevrolet – who previously had held a lead for 40 laps until 16 laps left – when a debris caution allowed Stewart to take control. Behind the three were packs that were charging at times five to six wide to find the perfect spot to gain positions or hold. But it was Tony who found the “sweet spot” as the race was in its final stages and even the final of the nine cautions failed to slow him down and keep him out of victory lane.
“A good run was crucial for our race team,” Clint said, sporting his brand new Oakley Monster Dog shades (unreleased as of now) – as well as the O gloves, boots, base layer and suit that he wears every race. “We got that, but I was frustrated I didn’t win. I really wanted just to set the record straight on what had happened with the last win.”
Some controversy surrounded his previous victory in New Hampshire, where he beat Tony after he ran out of gas as the race dwindled down. NASCAR handed out penalties after a controversial “failed inspection.” But Clint got right back up and kept focus for races like Fontana.
“It’s taken a lot of attention and focus away,” he said. “To get this behind us was crucial. I really enjoyed this week. I didn’t worry about anything. It was well needed.”
Congratulations to Tony for the big win – and to Clint for bouncing back strong and continuing to charge hard for a strong showing in the Chase!