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Stewart wins at Kansas

Tony StewartTony Stewart got his championship challenge back on track with his fourth win of the season at Kansas Speedway.

The two-time Sprint Cup champion gambled on taking two new tyres on his final pitstop under caution, while most of his rivals went for a full set. Despite the grip handicap and a late charge from Jeff Gordon, Stewart was able to make the most of the clean air to win his first race of the Chase.

Earlier in the race, Stewart had already benefited from a two-tyre change, putting his strategy to the test during the fifth caution of the day. He repeated the move on the decisive final stop, jumping leader Greg Biffle in the pits despite the Roush Fenway driver also choosing to change only right-side tyres.

Stewart's victory has allowed him to close to within 67 points of Mark Martin, who despite his seventh-place finish was able to retain the Chase lead.

Gordon was the biggest mover following the last restart, after taking four new tyres on his final stop. From fifth place with 29 laps to go, he moved up all the way to second behind Stewart in the closing laps, but he ran out of time to threaten his lead.

Biffle led the most laps and finished third since he jumped up front during the third caution of the day. He almost went a lap down later as he had pitted right before Brian Vickers spun at the exit of Turn 4 to bring out the caution again. However, as all the leaders dived into the pits he stayed out to reclaim the lead of the race.

Despite running a similar strategy to Stewart in the end, Biffle was unable to run as good as the eventual winner on the final stint, coming under pressure from Juan Pablo Montoya on the closing laps in the fight for third place.

The Colombian had another solid day and continued to prove himself a genuine championship contender with his third consecutive top-5 finish in the Chase. He ran an aggressive race and recovered in the final stint after struggling for balance before his final four-tyre stop.

The Earnhardt Ganassi driver was able to make up ground to both Martin and Jimmie Johnson in the title race, closing to within 51 points of Martin's lead in the points.

Denny Hamlin finished fifth ahead of Kasey Kahne and Chase leader Martin, who had started from pole position. The veteran ran consistently in the top ten without the speed to contend for victory, yet despite that still increased the gap to Johnson by 8 points.

The reigning champion had looked to be the driver to beat ahead of the race, and he later confirmed that by taking the lead on lap 62 for the first time. He went on to remain ahead for a number of laps but got shuffled down the order due to his tyre strategy and struggled to recover.

On the final pitstop, Johnson changed two tyres hoping to gain track position - and he eventually did, moving from sixth to third. However, his tyre strategy didn't pay off and he slid down to ninth place in the end.

Carl Edwards recovered from being a lap down after being penalised for speeding in the pits to finish tenth, while early leader Dale Earnhardt Jr was unable to recover from a penalty for a missing lug nut on his first stop, which dropped him a lap down.

Brad Keselowski impressed on his penultimate outing for Hendrick Motorsports, running consistently in the top-five until an untimely caution dropped him down the order in the second half of the race.

Pos  Driver               Make        Laps
 1.  Tony Stewart         Chevrolet   267
 2.  Jeff Gordon          Chevrolet   267
 3.  Greg Biffle          Ford        267
 4.  Juan Montoya         Chevrolet   267
 5.  Denny Hamlin         Toyota      267
 6.  Kasey Kahne          Dodge       267
 7.  Mark Martin          Chevrolet   267
 8.  David Reutimann      Toyota      267
 9.  Jimmie Johnson       Chevrolet   267
10.  Carl Edwards         Ford        267
11.  Kurt Busch           Dodge       267
12.  Kyle Busch           Toyota      267
13.  Brad Keselowski      Chevrolet   267
14.  Marcos Ambrose       Toyota      267
15.  Casey Mears          Chevrolet   267
16.  Martin Truex Jr      Chevrolet   267
17.  AJ Allmendinger      Dodge       267
18.  Sam Hornish Jr       Dodge       267
19.  Bill Elliott         Ford        266
20.  Elliott Sadler       Dodge       266
21.  Clint Bowyer         Chevrolet   266
22.  Ryan Newman          Chevrolet   266
23.  Jeff Burton          Chevrolet   266
24.  Kevin Harvick        Chevrolet   266
25.  David Stremme        Dodge       266
26.  Reed Sorenson        Dodge       266
27.  Scott Speed          Toyota      266
28.  Joey Logano          Toyota      266
29.  Erik Darnell         Ford        265
30.  Paul Menard          Ford        265
31.  Jamie McMurray       Ford        264
32.  Max Papis            Toyota      263
33.  John Andretti        Chevrolet   263
34.  Robby Gordon         Toyota      263
35.  David Ragan          Ford        256
36.  Dale Earnhardt Jr    Chevrolet   232
37.  Brian Vickers        Toyota      208
38.  Michael Waltrip      Toyota      141
39.  Matt Kenseth         Ford        134
40.  Dave Blaney          Toyota      28 
41.  Mike Bliss           Dodge       26 
42.  Joe Nemechek         Toyota      25 
43.  Bobby Labonte        Chevrolet   6  
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Martin claims Kansas pole