LOUDON, N.H. -- Tony Stewart's season has gone from winless to winning streak at crunch time.
Don't ask Smoke to explain it.
While Chase drivers around him run out of gas, Stewart has the fuel to go the distance and inject the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with a dose of dominance that has him a formidable front-runner for a third title.
Stewart smoked 'em again and made it 2 for 2 in the Chase, pulling ahead when Clint Bowyer ran out of gas with two laps left to win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday.
"You don't see it coming," Stewart said.
Only a few weeks ago, Stewart considered his car in the Chase a waste of a spot. Bad runs, bad luck, bad everything.
Seems like a different season.
Stewart is on a roll with eight races left, building on last week's Chase-opening victory at Chicagoland Speedway with another strong late-race surge at New Hampshire. Both of his victories this season have come in the Chase and have propelled him to the top of the points standings.
The outcome was a complete reversal of the race at New Hampshire last fall, when Stewart's tank ran dry a lap from the checkered flag and Bowyer pounced for the victory.
"If that's not a flip-flop from last year, I don't know what is," Stewart said over the radio as he crossed the finish line.
Stewart had called this season a "miserable year" before getting hot in the final two races before the Chase. He was third at Atlanta and seventh at Richmond -- just a little sneak preview of what was to come in a Chase he has absolutely owned, this one on a track he loves. In 26 career starts at Loudon, Stewart has three wins and 16 top-10s.
Stewart overtook Kevin Harvick for the points lead and made himself the car to beat after a rather pedestrian regular season. Even Stewart counted himself out him before the Chase, declaring he would call himself, "a total bumbling idiot," if he won the championship. He might win his third title -- but don't expect Smoke to call himself a favorite.
"Got eight long weeks still, man," Stewart said. "It's way too early to start counting chickens."
Stewart led a pack that included four other Chase drivers in the top 10. Brad Keselowski was second, Jeff Gordon was fourth, Matt Kenseth was sixth and Carl Edwards finished eighth. Gordon rocketed from 11th to sixth in the standings and is still a legitimate contender for his fifth championship.
Vettel moves closer
SINGAPORE -- Sebastian Vettel won the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday but the Red Bull driver will have to wait a little longer to clinch his second Formula One world championship.
The German led throughout from pole position to finish 1.7 seconds ahead of fast-finishing McLaren driver Jenson Button, with Red Bull's Mark Webber third.
Vettel leads the drivers' championship by 124 points with five races left and is virtually certain to take back-to-back titles. To prevent that happening, Button would need to win every race while Vettel fails to gain any points.