The self-proclaimed “people’s champion” celebrated his first NASCAR Sprint Cup win of the season by taking half of a Polish victory lap — in honor of the late Alan Kulwicki — around Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

And it was well earned.

Stewart claimed the lead from Jimmie Johnson for the first time on Lap 133. But later, when Stewart slid below the apron to take the then-leading cars of Clint Bowyer and Brad Keselowski three wide on the restarton Lap 234, the defending Sprint Cup champion proved he would not be denied.

Stewart went on to hold off Johnson by 0.461 seconds at the end for his sixth victory in 13 races. Points leader Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five.

“Man, I’m just finally glad to win one here,” Stewart said. “We were so close last year and had a dominant car. I’m not sure we had the dominant car, but we had an awful fast Chevy.