The 23 year old gained the lead on his San Manuel LandM YZ450F Yamaha before the end of the opening lap after overtaking rookie winner and brand-mate Josh Grant, who had aced the holeshot at Chase Field. Stewart then worked hard to defend his advantage from reigning champion Chad Reed to obtain his first chequered flag in blue colours, watched by almost 47,000 spectators.
"My goal was to try to win the race and I was able to do that, so it was good," he said. "I just wanted to ride better than I did last week."
"It is nerve-wracking but at the same time, I just had to be composed and ride in my own head," he commented regarding his close duel with Reed. "That's the only way I can get it done. Obviously he was riding good; he had better parts than I did, and I had better parts than he did. The crowd was going wild and I knew when he would get close."
It was the third consecutive triumph for Stewart in Phoenix and the perfect response to his mishap seven days earlier in which he missed a gear exiting a corner and was involved in a collision with Reed.
"There is still a long way to go and a lot of work to do," he said. "If we just think about each weekend and I win races then eventually the points will come. The championship is definitely not going to be given to me and I know I have to work for it. After last weekend, having the bobble that I had, I don't think it was anybody's fault, but I do think I put myself in a small hole and I have to dig myself out."
Grant collected third position for his second podium result in a row and after just two race appearances in the Supercross class. The youngster leads the championship by three points over Reed, with Stewart now starting to make ground and stands seventh. "As long as my
starts continue to be this good, I should be fine. I had fun racing with the guys up there, and I can't thank the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing Yamaha enough for what they've done for me," Grant said.
West Coast Lites champion Jason Lawrence had a crash in his qualifying Heat and could not make the cut to the main event.
Round three takes place next week and heads back to the Anaheim stadium in LA.