I remember years ago hearing Dale Earnhardt Jr, I believe, say that the Brickyard had such a hold over Tony Stewart that sometimes he just wanted to shake him and tell him to “let it go man.” Of course that may have been before Tony won his first Brickyard but it still illustrates how IMS is a special place. Honestly, wouldn’t wouldn’t want to win at their home track.
The schedule at IMS seemed cramped to me this year with the addition of the Grand Am and Nationwide series races also taking place during what was dubbed as “super weekend” at the track. There was no real cup activity on track until SATURDAY. That is just crazy to me. Tony’s practices did not seem strong nor was his qualifying so hot- he qualified 28th. I knew he wasn’t pleased with his car based on his post-qualifying comments and by the fact that I knew Greg Zipadelli and Steve Addington were still working on the car at dinner time the night before the race:
Not a good sign. Sigh.
All that I seemed to hear during pre-race was about how hard it is to pass at the Brickyard. Not uplifting when your driver is starting 28th. Not at all. The green flag dropped and Tony quickly tore through the field, gaining 5 positions in the first 6 laps. I thought maybe, just maybe we had a little bit of a race car and the working last night/this morning on the car made a difference. But then it seemed like we stagnated while we waited for the first pit stop to come around to make the car better. Then we seemed to take too big of a swing at the car and stayed right around 18th-20th while we we worked on the set up.
Then we had a bad pit stop. I could tell it was bad because a usually cool Steve Addington said “Ahh come ON!” over the radio during the stop. Tony then came on the radio as cheerleader and made sure the team knew that he had plenty of laps left in the race. During the last pit stop though? They must have hit on something. I mean we already knew that he was riled up because as in-race pit reporter he came right out and said that he would park anyone who continued to block them (Got to love Tony’s honesty! I sure do) but then when the race went green again- he starting flying through the field again. I think he passed something like 6 cars in one lap. He was a man on a mission- pushing that car all around the track and even making a couple of harikari moves between cars up the middle that made this race fan wince and say oooh careful! But the car seemed to go away on him again but he did end up with 10th place. Despite working his way up the field he still dropped to 8th in points.
Race winner was Jimmie Johnson, which should not be a surprise since he seemed to dominate most of the race.
Notes on The Brickyard:
- It was absolutely ADORABLE watching Evie Johnson while the time lined up to kiss the bricks. She was having NONE of that and looked at her parents like they had lost their marbles. You want me to kiss what?? They apparently did finally convince her to kiss the bricks though! Too cute.
- Ok so first SPRING goes and disconnects the sprint cup mobile ap for non-smart phones. Now DirecTV is discontinuing HOT PASS for non- HD receivers. Really DirecTV? Really? Quit cutting out the little guy who can’t partake in the latest greatest toys right away. ARG!
- Speaking of HotPass- Tony’s audio on Hot Pass this week was TERRIBLE. I hope he could actually hear when Steven and Bob were speaking to him because all I heard most of the time was garbled static.
Favorite Tweets Of The Race:
Next Race: Pocono 2
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