Dale Earnhardt Jr., who saved enough fuel to get to the checkered flag, came home third, after other contenders—five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson among them—ran out of gas ahead of him.
Carl Edwards came home fourth, followed by Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch, as drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup claimed the top six positions. Johnson finished 10th.
Matt Kenseth took the lead from Martin Truex Jr. on Lap 228 of 267, 10 laps after a restart forced by the sixth caution of the race, for debris. Stewart passed Kenseth for the top spot through Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 238, with Kenseth needing to save fuel and not contesting the position.
Though Stewart briefly surrendered the lead to Truex in the closing laps, the No. 14 team wasn’t worried, because Truex couldn’t go the distance and had to pit for fuel.
Harvick grabbed the points lead, and Stewart is second, seven points back. The second race of the Chase is Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.