Stewart goes 2-for-2, takes points lead

Tony Stewart leads the Sprint Cup standings by seven points after his victory at Loudon

Tony Stewart did it again, winning his second straight race after going winless in the first 26 of the season. While his turnaround isn't as surprising as Brad Keselowski's rise, it certainly fits somewhere in the "shocker" category.

Here is a look at how the 12 Chase drivers fared in race No. 2 of the Chase on Sunday at New Hampshire:

1. Tony Stewart – finished first: It came down to fuel again, and again Stewart had enough to make it to the end. If there's a reason for Stewart's muted celebration on Sunday, it's that he's not necessarily winning on speed but rather on good fuel management. Still, he has the points lead along with momentum – a combination that makes the two-time Cup champion very dangerous. (-)

2. Kevin Harvick – finished 12th: Harvick was none too happy with crew chief Gil Martin's call to come down pit road for fuel, frustrated that it put him in traffic where his car lost the handle. Maybe it wasn't the right call, or maybe it kept Harvick in the top 12 rather than having him run out of fuel as he drove to the checkered flag. Regardless, he didn't take too bad a hit in the standings. (-7 points)

3. Brad Keselowski – finished second: Where did this finish come from? Keselowski spent most of the day as the lowest-running Chase driver. Good pit strategy put him in the top 10, then he was able to pick his way through the field when others started running low on fuel. Don't pay any attention to past results for Keselowski. He's not the driver he was two months ago. (-11 points)

4. Carl Edwards – finished eighth: There haven't been too many highs for Edwards as of late, but not many lows either, and if you can avoid having a single low in the Chase, you are a contender. It's a winning formula, but only if those around you fumble at some point. If Edwards wants to control his own destiny, he'll need to be better. (-14 points)

5. Jeff Gordon – finished fourth: All things considered, not a bad result. Still, it could have been a win if he hadn't run out of fuel coming in for his final pit stop, and it still could have been a victory if his pit crew had filled his tank full when he did. It's a bad week to be Gordon's gas man, but not fatal for Gordon's title hopes. (-23 points)

T-6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – finished 17th: So far in the Chase, Junior has played the tortoise, slowly working his way toward the finish, making gains as the hares run out of steam – or gas. He actually had a better day than where he finished, but a flat tire just before his final pit stop cost him. (-26 points)

T-6. Matt Kenseth – finished sixth: Like Keselowski, Kenseth ran in the back of the Chase pack for much of the day, but just as any good musical-chairs player does, he was in the right place at the right time when the music stopped. Roush clearly doesn't have the strength it did early in the season. (-26 points)

T-6. Kyle Busch – finished 11th: "Underwhelming" is not a word used often when describing Kyle Busch … except when it comes to the Chase. For whatever reason, Mr. I Want To Lead Every Lap becomes entirely mediocre when the calendar flips to September. He's not out of the hunt, but he's not in it right now, either. (-26 points)

9. Kurt Busch – finished 22nd: It's never a good sign when your car fails prerace inspection and you're sprinting to push it to pit road just before the race is about to start. That's how Kurt Busch's race began, and it didn't get any better from there. In May, Busch lamented that it's tough to be on a team with only one competitive car. Now he can empathize with Brad Keselowski. (-28 points)

10. Jimmie Johnson – finished 18th: No, this isn't a typo. Never before has Johnson been lower than ninth in the Chase standings. The good news is he was competitive at Chicagoland, had a top-10 car at New Hampshire and is always good at Dover. Until he's mathematically eliminated, it's still too early to count out Five Time. (-29 points)

11. Ryan Newman – finished 25th: Had a decent run going until he had a tire go down with only a handful of laps to go. Newman's faint title hopes are likely over. (-34 points)

12. Denny Hamlin – finished 29th: Same goes for Hamlin, who'd actually rallied into the top 10 only to run out of fuel. It was a Hail Mary the 11 crew had to take: They tried, but it didn't work out. Thanks for playing. There's always next year. (-66 points)

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