Stewart dedicates win to fallen comrade

Sunday, July 9, 2000 – Tony Stewart, a three-time series winner the year before as a fresh-faced rookie, won for the third time in his sophomore season when he won the rain-shortened 300 NASCAR premier series race at New Hampshire International Speedway.

The call to keep Stewart on the track during the second of two red flags for rain proved decisive when officials ended the race 27 laps shy of its scheduled 300-lap distance. Stewart led 156 of the 273 laps completed in his No. 20 Pontiac for Joe Gibbs Racing. Joe Nemechek, Mark Martin, Jerry Nadeau and Jeff Gordon completed the top five.

Driver Kenny Irwin was killed during practice two days earlier at NHMS when his car struck the wall in Turn 3 and overturned. In spite of the fatality, which came approximately eight weeks after the death of Adam Petty in almost exactly the same place on the track, NASCAR continued with practice and qualifying.  Irwin was NASCAR Rookie of the Year in the Cup Series in 1998.

In the same race a year earlier, Stewart had lost the race at NHMS despite dominating when he ran out of gas with less than three laps remaining.

Jeff Burton, winner of three consecutive July races at New Hampshire, was involved in an accident with Chad Little and finished 11th.

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