Tony Stewart first took the lead on a lap 44 restart of Round 2 of the 2022 SRX season in South Boston, Virginia, before swapping the lead with Marco Andretti before leaving. scored his third career win in this series and first on a paved road.
Stewart, last year’s champion and one of the owners of the series, is the only repeat SRX winner.
Round 1 at Five Flags Speedway showed incredible temperatures on the thermometer. The heat was under the helmets of the drivers in South Boston.
Ignited by an incident in Heat 2, Stewart was determined to do whatever it took to win.
But he couldn’t just drive off the field. Andretti re-took the lead on lap 6 and kept several bumps off Stewart for the next 10 laps. As they slammed and banged for the lead, that enabled Greg Biffle to get into the fray. Fighting for second place, Andretti made hard contact with Biffle as he tried to complete an aggressive pass. Andretti and fell to the back of the field with damage. He finished eighth.
Biffle kept in touch with Stewart for the rest of the race but couldn’t quite get to his rear bumper and finished second.
Another pair of ex-NASCAR drivers, Bobby Labonte and Ryan Newman, finished third and fourth respectively. Last week’s winner Helio Castroneves rounded out the top five in the 12-car field.
“Seeing these fans cheering when we took the lead kept the motivation going,” Stewart told CBS Sports’ Matt Yocum. “It’s not like I need a lot of motivation. If you got fans like that in South Boston who cheered every time you took the lead, I wouldn’t let them down.”
Stewart and Ernie Francis, Jr. caused fireworks in the second heat. Francis drove into heavy traffic, chopping off Stewart and angering the eventual winner.
“They’ve pissed off Uncle Tony now, so they’re about to get a dose of it they don’t want,” Stewart said after Heat 2. “Believe me, I know every dirty trick and have it in my bag.” . If you follow someone and the guy is outside and as soon as he gets out he just turns around, that’s the dumbest shit you can do. … I’m done playing nice with everyone.”
After the heat, Stewart confronted Francis and shook him by the collar of his fireman’s suit.
Francis didn’t learn the lesson Stewart intended.
“I’m not going to take that from him,” Francis said. “I know he’s in charge, but rubbing is racing. He was on my inside, I didn’t see him there. I was two wide with [Marco] Andretti and someone else. I declined; only saw his car at the last minute.”
How much of that was for the camera? Stewart and Francis were later seen smiling and joking before the feature started.
Before the season started, Paul Tracy promised to have a kinder, kinder image. That quickly went out the window as his determination was tested last week with too much contact at Five Flags Speedway. His take on the race action won’t have changed after he was dumped by Castroneves as they battled for the lead in Heat 2.
“The way I see it, it was a racing incident,” Castroneves said. “People owe each other a little more, understand what they can and cannot do. I found it so hard to go out. People kept pushing me against the wall.”
Three quarters of the way through the feature, Michael Waltrip and Ryan-Hunter Reay were involved in a wreckage that wrecked Waltrip’s car.
Heat Race No. 1: 1. Greg Biffle, 2. Tony Stewart, 3. Marco Andretti, 4. Bobby Labonte, 5. Ryan Hunter-Reay, 6. Peyton Sellers, 7. Ryan Newman, 8. Ernie Francis Jr., 9. Tony Kanaan, 10 Michael Waltrip, 11. Helio Castroneves, 12. Paul Tracy
Heat Race No. 2: 1. Helio Castroneves, 2. Marco Andretti, 3. Ryan Newman, 4. Tony Kanaan, 5. Bobby Labonte, 6. Tony Stewart, 7. Michael Waltrip, 8. Greg Biffle, 9. Ernie Francis Jr., 10. Peyton Sellers, 11. Ryan Hunter-Reay, 12. Paul Tracy
Function (## laps): 1. Tony Stewart, 2. Greg Biffle, 3. Bobby Labonte, 4. Ryan Newman, 5. Helio Castroneves, 6. Tony Kanaan, 7. Ernie Francis Jr., 8. Marco Andretti, 9. Ryan Hunter-Reay, 10. Peyton Salesmen, 11. Michael Waltrip (DNF), 12. Paul Tracy (DNF)
1. Tony Kanaan (36 points), 2. Ryan Newman (36 points, -0), 3. Bobby Labonte (29 points, -7), 4. Marco Andretti (26 points, -10), 5. Tony Stewart ( 21 points, -15), 6. Greg Biffle (21 points, -15), 7. Bill Elliott (21 points, -15), 8. Ryan Hunter-Reay (18 points, -18), 9. Michael Waltrip ( 15 points, -21), 10. Paul Tracy (13 points, -23), 11. Ernie Francis Jr. (6 points, -30)
Read more about Motorsport
Exactly four years after the untimely death of Jason Johnson, Carson Macedo… Starting grid for IMSA Watkins Glen: Tom Blomqvist sets record with… IMSA SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen: How To Watch, Start Times, Schedule
Tony Stewart wins SRX Round 2 in South Boston for his third win as tempers flare originally appeared on NBCSports.com