Tony Stewart cruises to victory at Dover

Tony Stewart may have started 16th on the grid for the MBNA Platinum 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway, but by the 20th lap he was sitting just outside the top-10.

Tony Stewart cruises to victory at Dover

Once Stewart got to the point, on Lap 72, he led three more times for a total of 242 of the 400 laps making him the 12th different winner in the 13 of 34 races completed so far this year.

Stewart took the checkers 1.315 seconds ahead of Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Matt Kenseth, recording his eighth top-10 finish in 2000. Stewart is also the first driver to win this event from outside the top-15 starters.

Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Bobby Labonte followed Kenseth, with Robert Yates Racing teams occupying the fourth and fifth spots - Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd, respectively - the only cars remaining on the lead lap.

On Thursday of last week, NASCAR officials announced that a new rear bumper cover rule for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix would go into effect beginning this weekend at Dover Downs International Speedway. Though the modification was deemed optional to Pontiac teams until June 28, 2000, it was Joe Gibbs Racing that lobbied for the change and that could possibly have helped both Stewart and Labonte on Sunday afternoon.

Stewart remarked that the #20 Home Depot Pontiac "was good the whole day. We just had an unbelievable car."

Dover Downs events usually turn out to be determined by which driver gets the best fuel mileage. Jeff Gordon took that factor and tossed it away when his right-front tyre let go and sent him to the Turn 4 wall with 20 circuits remaining. Stewart, Kenseth, Labonte and Jarrett stopped for fuel and tyres under the yellow. That was not the final yellow, however. On Lap 392, the 10th and final caution flag waved for Sterling Marlin's spin to the wall on the frontstretch. When the green waved for the final time, there were just six laps left and Stewart set sail to the checkers.

Mark Martin's day ended in on Lap 268 when his engine expired with a screen of white smoke. Martin led just two laps before parking for the day with a 36th place finish. Jeremy Mayfield also lost the powerplant, on Lap 212. Mayfield, however, led 49 laps. Mayfield wound up 37th.

Dale Earnhardt came from a 30th starting spot to finish 6th, followed by Joe Nemechek, Ward Burton, Mike Skinner and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to round out the top-10. The 400 laps were completed in 3 hours, 39 minutes, and 9 seconds at an average speed of 109.514 mph, slowed by 10 cautions for 58 laps. There were 14 lead changes among 10 different drivers. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series now heads to Michigan Speedway in Brooklyn, for the Kmart 400. MBNA Platinum 400.

1 Tony Stewart, Home Depot Pont,
2 Matt Kenseth, DeWalt Tools Ford
3 Bobby Labonte, Interstate Pont
4 Dale Jarrett, Quality Care Ford
5 Ricky Rudd, Texaco/Havoline Ford
6 Dale Earnhardt, GM Goodwrench Chev
7 Joe Nemechek, Oakwood Homes Chev
8 Ward Burton, Caterpillar Pont
9 Mike Skinner, Lowe's Chev
10 Dale Earnhardt Jr, Budweiser Chev
11 Terry Labonte, Kellogg's Chev
12 Bill Elliott, McDonald's Ford
13 John Andretti, STP/Cheerios Pont,
14 Rusty Wallace, Miller Lite Ford
15 Johnny Benson, Lycos Pont
16 Elliott Sadler, Citgo Ford
17 Kenny Irwin, BellSouth Chev
18 Kenny Wallace, Square D Chev
19 Steve Park, Pennzoil Chev
20 Chad Little, John Deere Ford
21 Kevin LePage, Ford
22 Jimmy Spencer, Big Kmart Ford
23 Ken Schrader, M - M's Pont
24 Wally Dallenbach, Red Cell Ford
25 Dave Blaney, Amoco Pont
26 Robert Pressley, Jasper Ford
27 Bobby Hamilton, Kodak Film Chev
28 Brett Bodine, Ralph's Ford
29 Dave Marcis, Realtree Chev
30 Stacy Compton, Kodiak Ford
31 Sterling Marlin, Coors Light Chev

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