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Stewart not happy with second place at Las Vegas

Chris Symeon, Motorsports Editor

The Inside Line Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - Tony Stewart is generally pleased with a second-place finish in a Sprint Cup Series race, but that wasn't the case for the driver/owner on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Stewart had the dominant car in the 400-mile race, but a pit-road blunder just past the half-way point cost him a chance to win at this track for the first time.

Darlington is the only other track where he has yet to win.

Stewart's miscue occurred when an air hose caught the left-rear corner of his car, pulling the hose out of his pit stall before crew members were able to drag it back in. NASCAR penalized Stewart for "removing equipment from assigned pit area," which forced him to restart in the 23rd position.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is one of two tracks where Tony Stewart has yet to win.
His team, led by crew chief Darian Grubb, gambled with a two-tire change on his following pit stop. The strategy put him in front again, but the lead would be short-lived.

Stewart was forced to put on four new tires when he last pitted under green with 32 laps remaining.

Carl Edwards needed just two fresh tires during his final stop to get the job done. Edwards took the lead with 23 laps left and never looked back.

Stewart passed Juan Pablo Montoya for second with a few laps to go, but Stewart finished 1.25 seconds behind Edwards, who claimed his third victory in the last five Sprint Cup races. Edwards won the final two races of the 2010 season.

"Somebody's going to explain to me how we lost this race today when we get done here," Stewart said to his crew members over the team radio during his cool-down lap.

I'm sure there has been a few closed-door discussions going on at Stewart-Haas Racing this week.

Stewart was obviously disappointed in Las Vegas, and the two-time series champion should be. He claimed to have the fastest car on the planet.

He did, leading 163 of 267 laps.

"It kills me to throw a race away like that, especially at a place we haven't won at yet," he said. "I'm sure tomorrow when the emotion dies down, we'll look back and say it was a great weekend, but it does not sit good right now."

Second does suck at times.

"I honestly think we had the car to beat [Sunday], but we just gave it away," he added.

If there's one thing Stewart can be happy with after leaving Las Vegas is that he currently shares the points lead with Kurt Busch.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Symeon at csymeon@sportsnetwork.com.

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