Stewart slides ride past Rudd for win

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Darrell Waltrip

Darrell Waltrip — winner of 84 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and a three-time champion — serves as lead analyst for NASCAR on FOX. He was selected for induction into the prestigious NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012. Want more from DW? Become a fan on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

I hope Tony Stewart shaved on Sunday morning. I've been on him about that. It's one thing to catch a guy; it's something else to get around him. Stewart was quicker than Ricky Rudd so he laid off around Turn 10, and he got a really strong run into 11. Rudd couldn't hold off Stewart for 14 laps in a row so Stewart got a big run. Rudd looked in his mirror and said, "Uh-oh, he's coming hot and heavy. I've got to give him room." Stewart was in pretty good shape as he chased down the leaders at the end of the race. He slid out, and if Rudd hadn't given him room, they would have made contact. As a driver, your first instinct is to block the driver behind you, and then your brain kicks in and says, "I don't think that's a good idea." After Stewart passed him, Rudd had to worry about fuel and backed off a little bit. At that point in the race, the drivers have got what they've got. If they had run out of fuel in the last few laps, their crew chiefs shouldn't have even told them how close they were. Jeff Gordon climbed his way back into the top 20 before he had another problem which dropped him to the 33rd spot. Coming into this race, we said Sonoma could make a big difference in the points, and it obviously did.
Thursday, 6/30 on SPEED
6 p.m. ET: Nextel Cup Happy Hour
7 p.m. ET: NASCAR Nation
7:30 p.m. ET: Beyond the Wheel
8 p.m. ET: Rolex Sports Car Series race

Friday, 7/1 on SPEED
1 p.m. ET: NASCAR Live
1:30 p.m. ET: Busch qualifying
11 p.m. ET: Trackside

Saturday, 7/2 on SPEED
2 p.m. ET: NASCAR Live
3 p.m. ET: Craftsman Truck race
5:30 p.m. ET: NASCAR This Morning
8 p.m. ET: NASCAR Victory Lane

Sunday, 7/3 on SPEED
7 p.m. ET: SPEED News NASCAR Edition
8 p.m. ET: NASCAR Victory Lane

The shifter issue and transmission problems that some of these guys dealt with could have stemmed from moving all of the shifting rods off of the left-hand side of the transmission up on top so the driver could move the seat closer to the transmission tunnel.

Tough to beat 'sperience

  • 2nd / Ricky Rudd; 4th / Rusty Wallace / 5th / Dale Jarrett: You've got to believe that Rudd Wallace and Jarrett all breathed a sigh of relief when they had enough fuel to cross the finish line. Wallace and Rudd have two totally different styles. Rusty used both feet, stomping the pedals. Ricky did the heel and toe thing, tapdancing his way to the lead. If Rudd had won on Sunday, I'm sure he would have wanted to drive for five more years at least.
  • Oh, by the way

  • 3) Kurt Busch: Rudd used up his stuff holding off Stewart, and on the final restart, Busch nearly got by Rudd, but Kurt thought better of it.
  • 6) Elliott Sadler: Stewart was faster than Sadler so the No. 38 driver did the smart thing. He pulled over and let Stewart go. He didn't race him or take a chance at knocking himself out of the race. Running third in the points, it was a big points day for him, making up 73 markers on the lead.
  • Ask DW
  • 7) Jeremy Mayfield did a good job on Sunday with his third top-10 finish at Sonoma in 10 starts.
  • 8) Ron Fellows started 43rd and did a good job to get up to the front. I was a little bit worried for him because when you've got to go left and right with no power steering, that's a big chore, but he finished strong.
  • 9) Ryan Newman: Right behind Fellows, Newman did a good job, too, with a top-10 finish.
  • 10) Brian Simo: Another road racer, Simo used up his car to get from 22nd to 10th.
  • Parting is bittersweet sorrow

    I think the hardest thing I've ever had to do was walk out of the booth after Sunday's race and not go to Daytona. We feel like we've run half the race. We're leading, and we've got to get out of the car and give it to somebody else. We'd like to see a little different schedule maybe for us in the future. I don't know if that's possible or not, but that's one thing that we've talked about. When we end the year the way we are right now, we just feel like we don't have a complete program.
    Tagged: Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon

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