Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart brought home his third win of the 2012 season in a surprising twist that left viewers captivated.

After starting 42nd, Stewart worked his way to the front Saturday night at the 2.5-mile superspeedway and earned his win at the Coke Zero 400 at the Daytona International Speedway. He denied returning Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth and his teammate Greg Biffle the win by ‘side-drafting’ and separating the two while behind them a melee was occurring that made the finishing order vastly confusing.

Jeff Burton of Richard Childress Racing earned an impressive and far too uncommon second place finish. Matt Kenseth brought home third and Joey Logano placed fourth. Stewart’s teammate Ryan Newman took fifth.

Carl Edwards, still looking for his first win of 2012, was sixth. Kasey Kahne was seventh, the highest earning Hendrick Motor Sport driver and only one in the Top 10. Brad Keselowski, the only other driver to have three wins this season, brought home eighth. Michael Waltrip, part-time driver in his own team, showed some of his Daytona magic by placing ninth. Veteran racer Bobby Labonte, winner of the fan vote to get into this year’s All Star Race in May, sewed up 10th.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup points leaderboard still finds Matt Kenseth in the top spot with another week of Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the second spot, in a 25 point deficit. Greg Biffle, Kenseth’s teammate at Roush-Fenway Racing, ascended one spot to occupy third. Jimmie Johnson lost some momentum after his 36th spot finish and fell one place to fourth. Tony Stewart leapt four spots due to his win at Daytona to land in fifth.

Kevin Harvick stands firmly in sixth for another week. Denny Hamlin, suffering from chronic back pain that was irritated by a bumpy run in Kentucky and an unfortunate accident at Daytona on Saturday night, lost two places falling to seventh. Martin Truex Jr. remains in eighth. Brad Keselowski moved up one spot to ninth. Clint Bowyer tumbled three positions due to his finishing 29th at Daytona and occupies 10th.

NASCAR motors to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire to bring stock car racing’s finest to New England.

The Lenox Industrial Tools 301 will be run on Sunday, July 15th at 12 noon EST. This will mark the last race broadcast by TNT for the 2012 season.

Please join me after the race at this site for my Lenox Industrial Tools 301 Race Recap.

[nggallery id=2]

Candice Smith is a writer, columnist, and blogger as well as creator of the widely popular Chief 187™ Chatter. Her works have been featured under the pen name Chief 187™ around the Internet including a syndicated post within the Indie Republic Network where she has conducted in-depth interviews with musicians, Mixed Martial Artists, and other personalities as well as waxes poetic on myriad topics. Candice Smith is currently writing her second season of her original column “Why I Love NASCAR” by Chief 187™ on Skirts and Scuffs. Additionally, another of her NASCAR columns can be found at She also contributes articles and NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Recaps weekly at She began her Internet writing career at where she honed her blogging skills and reawakened her love of NASCAR. Candice Smith can be heard on air four times a week co-hosting motorsports programs on Internet radio as well as her own racing show “Drafting the Circuits” on She can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s. To find out more please visit