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Reigning NASCAR Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart Finally Solves Texas Motor Speedway with Crown Royal IROC Win

Road Racer Max Angelelli Posts a Strong Sixth-Place Finish in Series Debut

Tony Stewart in victory lane. Kevin Kane
FORT WORTH, Texas, April 7, 2006 - Reigning NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart entered Race Two of the Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) Friday night winless in three series - Nextel Cup, Busch and IRL IndyCar - in 13 starts at Texas Motor Speedway.

After missing a mandatory practice earlier in the week, Stewart and Truex, Jr. were forced to start at the rear of the field, as dictated by Crown Royal IROC series rules. However, Stewart and Truex, Jr., both climbed through the field and both led the race. Stewart, the Indiana native passed NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex, Jr. on the outside with five laps remaining with drafting help from Ryan Newman to clinch his third-career IROC race.

Nextel Cup driver Ryan Newman finished second, Truex, Jr. was third, followed by five- time IROC Series winner Mark Martin and 2004 series titlist Matt Kenseth, who rounded out the top five.

Stewart, whose previous IROC victories came at Daytona in 2002 and Michigan in 2001, was elated with the victory. "This was a good start to the weekend," said Stewart, who climbed the fence in celebration. "What were there, 60- 70,000 fans out there? They were all chanting for me to climb the fence. I did it; you have to give them what they want."

About starting last Stewart said, "We had scheduling conflicts that prevented us from getting any practice, but I had complete confidence in the Crown Royal IROC crew, they do an excellent job at preparing the IROC cars, and the car performed exactly the way they told me it would."

Grand American Road racer Max Angelelli turned in a strong showing in his IROC debut, climbing as high as second before settling for sixth.

"I was real happy," said the Italian, who is splitting driving duties (two races each) with South African Wayne Taylor and matched his result at the season-opening race at Daytona. "It was a bit intimidating to be all together with these big names."

There was plenty of side-by-side racing and three-wide action throughout the entire race, which marked the third consecutive year the Crown Royal IROC Series has raced at Texas Motor Speedway. "It was the best Crown Royal IROC race I've been a part of," said Newman. "It was a lot fun. It was pretty constructive racing. A lot of banging and bumping."

Rounding out the bottom-half of the top 10 included: IRL IndyCar driver Scott Sharp (seventh), ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Frank Kimmel (eighth), NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Ted Musgrave (ninth) and road racing specialist Max Papis, whose day ended when he slide up high into Sharp with eight laps to go.

World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser (11th) got tagged by Papis in the incident with Sharp and flipped over for the second consecutive race (Daytona), but returned right-side up; Kinser was uninjured. IRL IndyCar Series winner Sam Hornish, Jr.'s night ended when his transmission broke on the mandatory restart on lap 47, and finished last.

Texas was the second of four events in the Crown Royal IROC Series, whose overall series' champion wins $1 million. Kenseth captured the first leg with his victory at Daytona in February and remains the points leader (43 points) when the series returns there on June 29 with its first road-course race in 14 years. The finale is scheduled for Atlanta on October 28.

Stewart (34), Newman (25), Truex, Jr. (24) and Kimmel (23) comprise the top-five points leaders.

 

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