Stewart opens Chase with 1st victory of season

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) -- Tony Stewart has snapped a 32-race losing streak by winning the opening race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

It is Stewart's first win since California last October and pushes the two-time champion into contention for another title after a mediocre season by his standards.

Most of the field tried to stretch its gas to the finish Monday, but as Stewart closed in on the checkered flag, tanks began to run dry. Among those who ran out of gas were five-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch, who started the day as the points leader.

Kevin Harvick finished second and Dale Earnhardt Jr. capitalized on all the empty gas tanks to finish third.

Rain washed out the race Sunday, making it the first Chase event to run a day later.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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