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Race 20: The Brickyard 400 (Indianapolis)

Posted by Amy in Contests | NASCAR

You would have thought the results of the Indy 500 on Memorial Day weekend would have taught me something.  To help with getting my post-race posting out in a timely manner I had written the bulk of my first paragraph for the Brickyard 400 before the caution flag for the wreck that changed everything.  The problem in doing that, I learned, is that the whole mood of the race can change in an instant- thus rendering the article I started irrelevant.  My pre-caution paragraph was wrought with disappointing statements like “It’s always disheartening to me when Tony has a bad run but it’s especially disparaging when it’s at his home track of Indianapolis Motor Speedway” or better yet my favorite “The momentum from Tony’s first WoO win earlier this week was not enough to carry him through the Brickyard 400 weekend.” See those statements were definitely not written by Miss Sunshine that is for certain.

(ed.- I love this picture...LOVE it) AN INFRARED CAMERA WAS USED TO CREATE THIS IMAGE) Tony Stewart drives the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet to the garage during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America)

It wasn’t the best run to be completely honest and that started with practice.  I don’t usually put much credence in practice numbers- but Tony’s numbers weren’t that great. Then couple that with the fact that he ended up qualifying 24th and I was not left with any warm and fuzzies- especially considering that teammate Ryan Newman only bested our qualifying effort by one place. That tells me that both cars in the SHR stable were equally bad.

The race seemed like a scene right out of Days of Thunder.  You know the one when the well seasoned crew chief tells the overly cocky yet rookie NASCAR driver that he may as well go out there and hit the pace car because it’s the only left out there he hasn’t hit.  Unfortunately to me- it seemed that Tony was living that little portion of Days of Thunder during the Brickyard.  It started with him hitting the commitment cone during one of the first rounds of pitstops.  It was done to avoid running into Harvick who had slowed quickly in front of him and kinda squeezed him out in the process.  What a fluke! How often do people hit the dang commitment cone.  Because Stewart then had to serve a penalty for the violation- he was put way down in 33rd position.   A bit later in the race, Tony hit the wall pretty hard- scraping up the side of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot chevy but good.  Insert sigh here.  Then even further into the race he had a pit road collision with Kyle Busch.  After the collision Tony stated that the car felt like the tow was knocked out of alignment. Insert another sigh- even bigger than the first.  It was right around then I started to write my paragraph.  I was having major Days of Thunder flashback…so much that I tweeted that someone should get Darian Grubb an ice cream cone (because that part where Robert Duvall tells Tom Cruise that he’s busy eating an ice cream is my FAVORITE part of the movie).  Not only did I start writing my paragraph but then I started trying to do math and figure out if there were any way possible that Tony could finish in the 20′s somewhere and NOT lose points standings positions. It didn’t work out in any of my senarious.

Tony Stewart drives the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 29, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America)

Then poof- there was the accident that changed everything and it turned into a strategy race. And while their strategy and pit calls didn’t get them a win- Tony ended up pulling off a 6th place position.  Talk about a come back- anything that could go wrong seemingly did go wrong and they still battled back to a 6th place position. That? That is an awesome day.  It would only be more awesome if that day had turned into a winning day.  The 14 team’s hard wrought 6th place finish propelled them to 9th place in the points standings (YEY – We are back in the top 10…but just barely).

Race winner was Paul Menard, who staved off a charging Jeff Gordon to take his first checkers of the year.

Notes About The Brickyard:

  • Did you see the awesome pre-race piece about Kyle Busch by Marty Smith?  It was GREAT- you can see the video and read more here.
  • Another great piece is the piece Jerry Wilson did about Paul Menard…check it out.
  • I still can’t believe that Tony ended up with a commitment cone violation….ARG! I mean we RARELY even see commitment cone violations…but that is the kind of season Tony Stewart has been having this year it seems. As a matter of fact? It leaves me with no more words…so I leave you with this parting shot:

Tony Stewart drives the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America)

Next Race: Pocono.

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