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Race 10: Darlington

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR

And I thought Richmond was a long race. Seriously- Darlington was LONG- and I have to say that I agree with Tony’s comment on Race Day- Darlington should be shortened. I understand the history behind Darlington and The Southern 500- but really? I can’t imagine what it was like for those on the east coast!

My favorite part of the Mother’s Day weekend race is ALWAYS the command to start engines because it is given by a bunch of the driver’s moms! I LOVE that part.

Tony Stewart and his mom, Pam Boas, at driver introductions for the Southern 500 at Darlington (photo Credit: CIA Stock Photography, Inc.- borrowed from Tony Stewart facebook page)

I tried to find a picture of the mothers all lined up for the command- but darned if I could find one from this year (I did find one from last year’s race though).

So can we talk about how AWESOME Tony’s run was at the beginning of the race? He seemed extremely happy with the balance on the car.  After starting the race 9th, he quickly moved up into the top five and ran mostly in the top three for much of the race.  It was so encouraging- that despite two pit stop problems (one nearly missed pit box and one problem with one of the tires) they remained in the top ten through out much of the race.  Then it happened- Darian called Tony in for a green flag pit stop- which went flawless.  And then as soon as Tony was back out on the track the yellow flag waved for debris from Mark Martin blowing a tire and instantly Tony was a lap down.

Tony Stewart pits the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SHOWTIME Southern 500 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America)

Since he had just pitted Tony was able to take the wave around and went from being a lap down to THE LAST CAR on the lead lap- 20th with only 80 something laps left. Did you hear someone cursing a blue streak? Well that was me (and probably a throng of other Stewart fans joining in).

However, a little luck and determination would bring the Office Depot/Mobil 1 team from that last car on the lead lap position up through the field .  First just fighting his way through traffic Tony was pretty much stuck right around 17th position.  However when a late race caution came out- Darian told Tony that they would do the OPPOSITE of what the majority of the cars in front of them would do. If they pitted- Tony was to stay out. If they stayed out Darian would call Tony into the pits.  A majority of the cars came in for fresh tires.  Tony stayed out.  This brought him up to 3rd- but with old tires with 20 laps or so left.  Tony fought hard to maintain his position but with all that fresh rubber behind him he eventually fell back.  He ended up finishing 7th.  He is 7th in the points.

Race winner was Regan Smith who fought off Carl Edwards for the win. Carl Edwards remains the series points leader.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images North America)

Notes About Darlington:

  • So at the very beginning of the race weekends all fans heard about was the Ryan Newman / Juan Pablo Montoya carry over from Richmond- with much speculation about what happened in the NASCAR trailer between the two (there were reports of a physical altercation between the drivers). Then at the end of the race there is the dust up between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.  I think that mostly that was just “Boys Have At It” and honestly- I am fine with that.  Should Kyle have thought twice before pushing Harvick’s car? Yes- he was putting people in danger because pushing the 29 car out of his way jump-started Harvick’s car caused it to careen into the pit wall where tons of personnel were working (not to mention the crew members and officials on foot making their way to the dust up).  Do I think it’s something that Kyle should be penalized for? Probably not.
  • Too bad Darian doesn’t have a crystal ball…then he might be able to predict things.  Seriously this year has been lousy for luck like that.  I could tell Tony wasn’t thrilled about what had happened- but it was good that he didn’t take it out on Darian either.
  • Don’t forget to read Misty’s Mid Season Report Card on the new points system.

Next week is The Monster Mile- Dover on Sunday.

And don’t forget to enter the Office Depot Official Small Business of NASCAR contest over at OfficeDepotRacing.com:

Tony Stewart's car that will race at the Southern 500 at Darlington will carry information on how you can become the Official Small Business of NASCAR (photo credit: Action Sports Photography)

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2 Responses

  • Charity says:

    My biggest issue with the whole Busch/Harvick thing is that it isn’t the first tiem this has happened and it won’t be the last. There seems to be at least one of these every one-two seasons. The drivers change but the premise is the same – Driver A allegedly caused a big wreck on purpose and Driver B retaliates. Sometimes I wonder that these guys are adults. But the outcome is the same… a boatload of publicity for both drivers regarding the feud and a lot of boring commentary for the rest of the season every time one of them gets even remotely close to the other during race.

  • Jamie says:

    Yes, it was a long race and I guess being there is much different than watching it on TV. :-) I just love the entire atmosphere, the sound of the engines, the crowds, the smells oh and the men in firesuits! :-) There was a lot of beating and banging; you’re racing the track as much as the other drivers and I’m all for *boys have at it* but…I agree with Tony’s comment earlier this week, there needs to be some definitions put in place. It was dangerous for Kyle to bump an empty car with people around…end of story but was it wrong for their tempers to flare? I don’t think so. I was glad that no points were deducted, $25,000 to them is a lot less painful than taking away 5, 10 or 15 points! :-)

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