MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Tony Stewart passed Jimmie Johnson on a restart with three laps to go Sunday and surged into contention for his third NASCAR Sprint Cup championship with three races left.
The victory was the third for Stewart in the first seven races of the 10-race playoffs.
Stewart moved from 19 points behind leader Carl Edwards and in fourth place to just eight points behind in second as several contenders got caught up in a season-high 18 caution flags.
Edwards struggled all day, but rallied to finish ninth and held on to a lead that he seemed likely to lose.
Others weren't as lucky, chief among them Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski, who had late problems and were both passed by Stewart in the points race.
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