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Stewart Soars to Victory Again at Daytona in True Value IROC

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., - Tony Stewart continued his successes during Speedweeks 2002 by winning Round 1 of True Value IROC XXVI on Friday at Daytona International Speedway.

Stewart, who had Sam Hornish Jr., glued to his bumper, passed Al Unser Jr. down the Superstretch with two laps remaining to win the 40 lap, 100-mile invition-only event. Rounding out the top five were Hornish, Scott Sharp, Jack Sprague and Unser.

It's the third victory for Stewart at Daytona International Speedway and his second during Speedweeks 2002. He captured last Sunday's Budweiser Shootout and finished second in one of Thursday's Gatorade 125's.

The victory is Stewart's second in True Value IROC history with his previous triumph coming last year at Michigan Speedway. The Rushville, Ind., native's margin of victory over Hornish was .111 seconds and he'll earn 21 points toward this year's True Value IROC title.

"It was a fun race today," said Stewart. "We got into second there and I was a little bit optimistic that the three of us were going to break away when they got two-wide behind us and we got a big gap there. I knew that Al Unser Jr. was a good partner up front and I knew that he'd run real smooth. When you're following the guy that's won the most IROC races in history, he knows how to stay up there and he knows how to lead. But he was able to give us a lot of big steam and big momentum and a couple of good pushes there toward the end that helped us win this thing."

Hornish, the 2001 Indy Racing League champion, tried to slip past Stewart on the final lap, but couldn't muster enough of a run to complete a pass.

"On the last lap, I thought I had a run on him (Stewart) coming off of (Turn) 4, but I guess it was too costly to try to go to the outside and get hung out and go back to fifth before you get to the finish line," said Hornish, who added he would like to compete in the Daytona 500 someday.

Said Unser: "They gave me a race winner today. I would have had to crash the car to stay in front of Tony."

Tickets for Speedweeks events are available by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.

 

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