IMPERIAL, PA (July 24, 2017) – For the first time since February 11, 2012, and for the second time during his famed career,
“Smoke” Tony Stewart is an Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions main event winner, this time taming “Dirt’s Monster Half-Mile” at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway to help end the 2017 edition of the I-79 Summer Shootout.
Stewart, who started third on the feature grid, took command officially during a lap 23 restart and never looked back, ultimately crossing under the final checkers nearly three seconds ahead of Lemoore, California’s Carson Macedo, and Dalton, Ohio’s Lee Jacobs. Fortunately for Stewart, lapped traffic also factored in as an advantage, as race leader Tim Shaffer would become tangled with a lapped car, surrendering the point position to the former NASCAR Cup Series champion.
“Man, this is a fun race track; so wide and so racey,” Tony Stewart said in victory lane, pilot of the Rush Truck Centers/Ford Performance/Arctic Cat/No. 14. “To be rim-riding like that, a foot off the wall, is pretty intense around here. I watched Christopher Bell race from 20th to second at the Kings Royal, so I figured it was my turn to do something special.”
Carson Macedo and Tim Shaffer led the field to green on Monday night at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway. Shaffer earned the initial advantage, soon flanked by Macedo, Danny Holtgraver, Chad Kemenah, and Tony Stewart. Shaffer opened his advantage instantly, climbing to a near-three second lead before the main event’s first caution appeared on lap six.
Green flag conditions resumed with Tim Shaffer returning to the top spot, soon followed by Tony Stewart, who made a big jump to second after passing two cars on the restart. Traffic came into play for the first time on lap 11 allowing Stewart to reel in Shaffer. Soon joined by Holtgraver, the top three cars raced nose-to-tail and side-by-side through traffic for three circuits until caution flags reappeared on lap 14, this time for Danny Holtgraver. The nearby Pittsburgh native made incidental contact with Tony Stewart while attempting a slide job for the second position. Holtgraver did not return.
“By the time I realized I wasn’t going to be able to get back around Danny [Holtgraver], I had already checked up on the brakes and turned down,” Stewart explained. “I clipped him with my front bumper. That was about the only mistake I really made. You don’t want to see things end like that. We were going to put on one heck of a race.”
Once again, green flag conditions returned with Shaffer setting the pace, now followed by Tony Stewart and Carson Macedo. By lap 20, traffic returned in full force allowing Stewart to track down Shaffer once again. A two car battle soon commenced into a three car battle as Chad Kemenah entered the picture, now tracking down the top pair after taking control of the third position on lap 21.
Unfortunately for Tim Shaffer, his tenure at the top of the running order would come to an end eight laps sooner than intended. Contact with a lapped car while attempting to run away from Tony Stewart in traffic forced an early retirement for the former Arctic Cat All Star champion, ultimately surrendering the top spot to the eventual winner on lap 23. “Smoke” cruised on to score the $5,000 victory; a first ever Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway feat for the Columbus, Indiana, native. Carson Macedo chased Stewart to the line, followed by Lee Jacobs, Chad Kemenah and Ryan Smith.
“When I saw Lee Jacobs running the bottom, at that point I wasn’t sure where I needed to be,” Stewart explained. “Rico Abreu is here with me tonight and I had him trying to help me out, but he wasn’t sure where I needed to be. I figured if I got a good restart, I would just get to the top and rip eight good laps. That’s what we did.”