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Race 10: Tallafreakingdega (Or Nice Guys Get Caught Up In the Big One)

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR

Sorry it took me so long to get my Talladega race post up! ~ Amy

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, drives down the backstretch after being involved in a wreck between turn one and two during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

 

Qualified:25th (set by practice speeds due to weather)

Finished: 27th (laps down)

Race Winner: David Ragan

Points After Talladega: 22nd, 159 points behind current series leader Jimmie Johnson. 56 points behind 10th in the standings (if I am not mistaken he gained points on 10th- thank goodness for little favors). Outside of the top 20 and not eligible for a wild card birth.

My Mood After Talladega: Glad it was over. I think Tony was too.


I do not like Talladega- I say that every race there but I really don’t. It’s such a craps shoot- it’s not really racing- it’s roulette.  I also don’t like the looming possibility of “The Big One” and not just because I worry that my driver will be involved but because I worry about someone getting seriously hurt. When you take stock cars and flip them and land them on top of other stock cars- someone could get seriously hurt.  Luckily no one did but still.

I was surprised to find that even before the green flag Tony had dropped to the back with Michael Waltrip to ride around the track for awhile with Denny Hamlin.  Not much was said about it but it seemed to me that it was done to protect Denny while he was in the car from getting jostled by idiots bump drafting him and so that he wouldn’t lose the draft and end up getting lapped.  After the driver switch Denny mentioned that it was Tony’s idea and that he approached Denny during the Denny Hamlin Showdown at Richmond the week before.  It was entertaining to listen to Tony and his spotter talk during this time because mostly it was Bob letting Tony know where the rest of the pack was. After the first caution, Denny was swapped out for Brian Vickers and Tony joined the race to actually race.  He seemed to have a fairly good car and was in the middle of the pack- somewhere around 16 – 17th at times. When the first big wreck happen- he was collected and sustained pretty significant damage – the side of the car, the rear of the car- the front of the car- I would be surprised if there was any part of the car that wasn’t damaged.  That cursing you heard? Yeah that was me. Tony didn’t seem to get to upset really. I think I was more upset than he was.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, greets fans during driver introductions prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)

The crew worked their butts off and they never had to take the 14 behind the wall- but he did have to make several pit stops to repair the damage enough to make the car drive-able. Once the racing started back up Tony said that he didn’t think that the car was that bad – and if they could make up the laps down he thought he could probably race. Unfortunately he just never seemed to be able to recover from the laps down part.  Tony’s Spotter (or as Misty and I call him SpotterBob) warned Tony that there was rain about 7 miles out. And when Tony heard that the first thing he said was “Are we halfway yet?” Steve Addington affirmed that they indeed were beyond the halfway point at which point Tony said “That’s far enough for me!” I can’t say I blame him- being so far down lapwise could not have been fun.

Unfortunately the rain delay was just that- a really long delay- but they did eventually go back racing but there wasn’t much that could be done to improve Tony’s position. And regarding the melee at the end of the race? I am not surprised.  I do not think Newman should be penalized. Can you blame him? That was the second time in recent years that he has had another car LAND ON TOP OF HIM!  Not to mention that time at ‘Dega that he ended up UPSIDEDOWN in the grass. He was frustrated. Tony could tell he was frustrated from his car because he asked Steve “Who’s Ryan mad at?” I chuckled.

It was another bad finish for Tony and sadly he was the highest finishing Stewart-Haas driver because of that wreck started by Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  I must say that I always write of Talladega before it’s even started because I know that it’s a game of chance- and my driver usually doesn’t do well in those (just don’t tell him that)!

Notes About Dega:

1. Some funny snippets of radio conversation between SpotterBob and Tony: First SpotterBob told Tony that there was some road rage happening up in front of him between the 2 and the 99 and to watch out for that.  Tony said that there weren’t enough big screens at Dega and that he couldn’t see that happening. So SpotterBob told Tony he would try to have them move one for him.  The next one was after the rain delay and Tony was racing Jeff Burton for position. Tony asked SpotterBob during the caution to ask Jeff Burton how he wanted to work it…should they flip for it? Jeff Burton apparently had it relayed to Tony that if he left him (Jeff Burton) have the position (point) that he would give Tony a ride home. Tony said “Do I need a ride home?” Um Tony shouldn’t you know how you are getting home? Just asking.

2. At one point the broadcasters pointed out that the cars were lined up Toyota, Chevy, Chevy, Chevy, Toyota, Toyota, Toyota, Ford , Ford, Ford and then the three Fords broke away and passed the train of drivers together.  One of the pit reporters asked Chad Knaus what he thought of the Fords ganging up and passing anyone. Chad’s answer cracked me up. He said something to the effect of it was three cars- he didn’t think the Fords did it on purpose- that it was just a coincidence that they were Fords.  Oh Chad- I am pretty darn sure they broke away because they were three Fords not three cars.  I think they WERE that organized.

3. You have 13 days to enter the BadGroove Smokin’ Birthday Charity Drive and Raffle!  Hurry!

4. Tony showing one lucky fan (the one who got to help him change his oil) his car collection (LUCKY). Here is a video from a local news affiliate of it. Fun!

 

Gratuitous Tony Picture:

Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman talk in the garage at Talladega. (photo credit: The Official Tony Stewart Facebook Page- click picture to be taken to original).

Next Week: Darlington…the lady in black.

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