I had no idea how this race would play out. The qualifying on it’s own wasn’t the best considering that the #14 team’s performance over the last several weeks showed marked improvement. At Michigan however Tony qualified the #14 Bass Pro Chevrolet 26th. It was a bit disappointing considering that the 14 team’s performance over the last several weeks showed marked improvement. But then on the first practice on Saturday morning Tony finished 6th on the speed charts. And then later during last practice- they finished 31st on the speed charts. Down and up and back down again. And while I honestly don’t usually pay too much attention to practice speeds this yo-yo of performance left me wondering what the heck the race would be like.
During the first lap of the race there was a caution, then the race went green again and again there was a caution. By this time Tony had already moved up into the top 20 but I thought it was possibly due to attrition because of the cautions. Then the race went green for awhile and Tony was able to steadily march forward into the top 15, then the top 10. Yeah this definitely wasn’t attrition at work- Tony had himself a competitive car that he could pass with. Another good sign was that while listening to his radio he didn’t say too much about the car’s handling. At one time during an early pit stop he did ask for a little more air pressure with one of the rear tires but that was really all he said for a majority of the race.
Until on the national broadcast they came back to show some in-car video of Tony gesticulating angrily out the window at Kyle Larson. Kyle had come up on Tony on the track, purportedly to block, and Tony ended up running into his bumper. Well we all know how Tony feels about blocking but I didn’t think much of it. Then Tony started falling further and further down the field. He even came on the radio and said “Does this thing have a hole in the nose or something- I have lost all handling.” Chad replied with “No we don’t think so…” However, several laps later during a caution they were able to confirm that the car indeed DID have a hole in the nose. Can Tony call them or can he call them. The team had Tony pull back through the pits a second time during the caution so that they could repair the nose.
Many people, that late in the race would have given up. But not Tony- and that is why he is MY driver. Because before the race went green again he asked how many laps he had to get it done. They told him and he poured the coals on and was able to make up lots of spots, even coming on the radio and stating that the car’s handling had definitely come back to him after the repairs. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to get further than 11th before the checkers. Tony’s 11th place finish which has moved him up to 16th in the points standing…which means nothing since he doesn’t have his win…YET! It’s coming I feel it.
Race winner was Jimmie Johnson. It was his first win at Michigan and well as the fifth consecutive win for Hendrick Motorsports.
Notes About Michigan:
1. Check out this fun article by Marty Smith where children of NASCAR drivers answer questions about their dads. The answers are totally priceless.
2. While I am pointing you at different pages check out this Father’s day version of FoxSport’s GIF it Up. It features a humorous GIF of Tony giving Danica parking advice among other funny and adorable GIFS from Michigan.
3. Also- THIS by Christopher Olmstead of BeyondTheFlag.com because I could have written it myself.
4. Another humor piece of scanner fodder from Tony came during the warm up lap as he was giving his pre-race pep talk to the crew. Tony wished all the crew guys a happy fathers day- to those that are fathers and those that aren’t because they are like a father to him indirectly!
Gratuitous Tony Stewart Pictures:
Next Week we are road racing in Sonoma!
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