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Race 9: Richmond

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America)

Qualified: 21st

Finished: 18th

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick

Points After Richmond: 22nd, 136 points behind current series leader Jimmie Johnson. 64 points behind 10th in the standings. Outside of the top 20 and not eligible for a wild card birth.

My Mood After Richmond: Originally befuddled at where Tony went, then ticked yet slightly optimistic.

I mentioned in my Texas post that I couldn’t be the girl in the rosy camo colored glasses anymore but it’s really hard for me not to be optimistic right now because I figure this season has to hit rock bottom soon and there isn’t way for us to go anywhere but up. Right?

The Stewart-Haas cars on the grid for qualifying at Richmond. Yes you are seeing correctly they drew qualifying slots one, two, and three on Friday. What are the odds? (Photo Credit: TonyStewart.Com ToyotaOwners 400 Media Gallery- click on photo to be taken to the gallery).

Tony qualified 21st but I wasn’t that concerned since I knew that he drew lucky number 1 when it came to qualifying.  Every one knows that the earlier in the qualifying run you go the less speed you get. Speaking of qualifying I don’t know why NASCAR feels the need to keep changing HOW qualifying order is set.  For the longest time it was random draw.  Then they decided it was based on inverting the practice speeds. Now we are back to random draw with another change that was recently announced: That road courses are going to be done in groups instead of individual qualifying runs (number of cars in each group will be dependent on the number of entrants into the field). I am not even sure how that will work (yes I know they have been doing that in Nationwide for awhile but honestly I do not pay that much attention to the Nationwide races). But I digress.

At the beginning of the race Tony seemed stymied in the pack- not really getting much further up in the pack than 19th. Sounded like the car was tight- and it seems to me that Tony always struggles more when the car is tight then when it is loose. But there was one thing that made me think that something would change.  There was WAY more radio communication overall during the race- especially at the beginning. Tony was giving more feedback on how the car felt than I have heard him give all season (of the races I used my NASCAR 13 Mobile scanner for).  Steve too seemed to acknowledge what he was hearing more and tell Tony more about what to expect during the pit stops. Also- I don’t know if it was my imagination but it also seemed to me that the overall tone of all the communication (for the most part) seemed more upbeat than last week.

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Dover White Chevrolet, and Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, spin out after an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)

At some point past the halfway point of the race- Tony had moved up to about 15th- somewhere around there. The national broadcast showed Jimmie Johnson having contact with someone (who I can’t remember) where the other car hit Jimmie right on his left rear tire. I even said “I bet that will cause Jimmie to suffer a tire blow out- that looked like it hit the tire.” I got distracted by my phone and when I looked up next- I see Jimmie sliding and smoking and I was about to say “AHA- told you so” until the widened the shot and I saw that he was actually doing a pirouette slide/spin with Tony- side by side.  So instead my “AHA” came out more like “ARGGGG! Sheeeeessssh kebobs!” (I had to catch myself because by this point my 5 year old nephew had cuddled up with me and was watching the race with me).  At first because of what the TV showed I thought Jimmie had indeed lost it and then collected Tony.  It was actually the other way around, something I realized when they showed the replay from the beginning. I then heard on the scanner (which is usually about three laps behind the broadcast) an EXTREMELY apologetic Tony first come on and say that was “100 percent” his fault and then ask his spotter to “Please tell the 48 that he was sorry!” I was sure that the race for Tony was over at this point however- because even though the only thing he hit was the 48 (and it was very light contact) he had fallen back in the pack down to 26th again.

Closer to the end the of the race, Tony mentioned on the radio that he might have found something that might help him a bit. He was a little mysterious over the radio but whatever it was seemed to have worked because he was very slowly starting to come up the field again. YEY!  Then thanks to a quick called 2 tire pit stop right before the green-white-checker Tony was up to 5th!  You can bet your last dollar I was excited.  Two laps! Seriously how far back could we end up? Might we finally get a semi-decent finish?

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, and Kurt Busch, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Racing/Serta Chevrolet, collide on track during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images North America)

Apparently the answers to those questions would be 18th and no. Thanks to last minute contact with Kurt Busch.  I had a feeling that he wouldn’t end up 5th because a lot of the cars took four tires.  BUT I didn’t think we would end up eighteenth either. When they showed the cars passing over the checkers I was counting- watching for that black and yellow 14 car to pass and just did NOT see it…I wasn’t sure where he had gone but the TV was concentrating on Kevin Harvick (of course- he WON after all).  And then they showed a replay of Tony brushing up against Kurt Busch on the cool down lap…and and I checked my NASCAR 13 Mobile ap and was horrified to find out that Tony ended up eighteenth. It wasn’t until I saw the replay that I say that Kurt had hit Tony and pretty much moved him and he fell through the field. Sigh.

That said I am a little hopeful that things for the 14 team might be on the mend…(Knock on wood! No seriously- go find some wood and knock on it RIGHT NOW- don’t do it for me do it for the entire #14 Mobile 1/Bass Pro Shops/Rush Truck Centers crew!!! NOW!)

Notes About Richmond:

1. I heard about the Nationwide ruckus between Brian Scott and Nelson Piquet Jr on twitter well after it happened. I have no idea what happened on track to cause Nelson to come out of his car swinging er kicking Brian and I definitely do not have have idea what exactly transpired between both teams well after the race in the owner/driver lot….however I will say that Brian Scott’s tweet about the whole incident cracked me up:

2. A funny side note: Misty was out of town this weekend and on Sunday night after she returned home we were chatting online and she asked me DID NELSON KICK SOMEONE IN THE PRIVATES? I told her yes – that Nelson Piquet Jr apparently was not pleased with Brian Scott (whom Misty likes – one of her Nationwide favorites I dare say) but she said she was misunderstood and thought that NELSON STEWART did (you know Tony’s father). I nearly fell off the couch laughing. LOL. She was quite relieved though.

3. Speaking of being relieved…Juan Pablo Montoya’s sponsorship by DEPENDS for the Richmond race. I mean wow- you have to say that actually is kind of a brave sponsorship to endorse- especially when you tweet about wearing the product prior to the race- not something I would do!

4. You have exactly 21 days to enter the BadGroove Smokin’ Birthday Charity Drive and Raffle…have you?

Gratuitous Tony Picture:

Tony Stewart Jokes Around With Crew at Richmond (Photo Credit: TonyStewart.Com ToyotaOwners400 Media Gallery- click photo to be taken to the gallery)

Next race: Talladega…(getting my fingers limbered up for this one. You know- so I can watch the race through them).

 

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One Response

  • sue says:

    Just getting around to reading about Richmond. I truly believe things will turn around soon. I always love your gratuitous photos. Psst saw on Mark Martins twitter that Tony drove MM’s motor coach down to Dega I believe. Maybe Mark was able to calm and soothe Tony some.



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