From cbssports.com / Steven Taranto
Although it's hard to believe that any dirt track in America is brave enough to keep Tony Stewart out of its winner's circle, a win in a feature race at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 had eluded Smoke entering Saturday night. But even as the biggest wreckfest of the 2022 SRX season ensued, Smoke was able to preserve his spotless record in SRX on dirt and finally check an item off his bucket list.
After executing a perfect slidejob to take the win in Heat 2, Stewart started on the pole for the feature and never looked back, surviving several late restarts and holding off Marco Andretti to win at I-55. Stewart's victory marked his second of the 2022 Camping World SRX Series season, and it also kept his record in SRX races on dirt perfect. Stewart has won all three dirt races in SRX history, following up his wins at Knoxville and Eldora in 2021 with a win at I-55 this season.
SRX at I-55 results
#14 - Tony Stewart
#98 - Marco Andretti
#39 - Ryan Newman
#52 - Ken Schrader
#69 - Greg Biffle
#15 - Michael Waltrip
#99 - Ernie Francis Jr.
#3 - Paul Tracy
#6 - Tony Kanaan
#38 - Hailie Deegan
#5 - Matt Kenseth
#18 - Bobby Labonte
#1 - Ryan Hunter-Reay
"This place is pretty awesome. Kenny Schrader and these fans are diehard race fans, and you aren't gonna find fans that are any more diehard in this country for late models and modified's and sprint cars than here at Pevely," Stewart told CBS Sports. "… It's hard. It's been a 90 degree day, it's sunny, windy, everything that kills dirt tracks, and their staff did an awesome job giving us an awesome racetrack there.
"I love it when it gets up close to the wall like that. That's when I'm having the most fun."
While Stewart had his fun at the front, toil and trouble found most of the field as a season-high 10 incidents occurred throughout the night. Much of the field featured torn-up cars, including multiple drivers at the front. The second-place finisher Andretti and third-place finisher Ryan Newman both suffered major damage in the heats, while other incidents saw Michael Waltrip's entire right front fender get ripped off and virtually all of the back end of Paul Tracy and Matt Kenseth's cars get torn away.
Many incidents occurred in the final 10 laps, and they ended up ensnaring SRX points leader Bobby Labonte. Labonte first went for a spin in Turn 4 and then suffered major right front damage when he got collected in a spin by Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Labonte's issues present a major blow to his championship hopes, as podium finishes for Andretti and Newman set them up very well for the championship race next weekend at Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio. The SRX season finale will be next Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
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