In the third of ten races in the NASCAR Chase to the Sprint Cup, Tony Stewart took home the trophy in Kansas City, Kansas.
Stewart managed to hold off a determined Jeff Gordon in the closing laps, gaining his fourth win of the 2009 campaign and his first in the 10-race chase. Stewart won a race that came down to tire and fuel strategy, and as others chose to put four new tires on their cars with only 30 laps to go, Stewart and Crew Chief Darian Grubb chose to take only right-side tires, which proved to be the winning decision.
The results of this race may have saved television ratings for NASCAR throughout the rest of the season. Before this race, there was much speculation that the season was already down to a two-team battle between Mark Martin's #5 team and Jimmie Johnson's #48. After Kansas, five teams are within 100 points of the lead, and eight teams are within 162 points, the maximum number of points a team can gain in one race.
Additionally, five teams gained positions is the Chase standings, while two teams fell backwards. Mark Martin maintained his overall points lead, with defending champion Jimmie Johnson losing eight points to fall 18 points back from the lead.
Next Sunday's race is in Fontana, California, a 2-mile oval. Last year's winner at California, a race previously held on Labor Day weekend, was Jimmie Johnson.