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The Autism Speaks 400 at Dover

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR

29 May 2015 – During Practice for the FedEx 400 at Dover international Speedway in Dover,DE (HHP/Tim Parks)

Tony Qualified: 26th

Tony Finished: 16th

Points: 230 points (28th in the championship standings)

Quote Of The Race: “That’s the hardest I’ve had to work for a 16th-place finish.” — Tony Stewart post race  press release

 

I love the quote of the race for this race- so I put it up at the top of the entry this week instead of at the bottom. Why? Because team 14 worked their kiesters off for that 16th place finish. What DIDN’T Miles the Monster throw out at team 14 during the course of the race? Historically the team has always struggled at Dover. It’s probably one of Tony’s worst tracks if you look back at the stats.

29 May 2015 – During Qualifying for the FedEx 400 at Dover international Speedway in Dover,DE (photo source: Tony Stewart Official store facebook/ HHP/Tim Parks)

Tony seemed to struggle through all three practices and qualified 26th.  I didn’t know what to expect through the course of the race for team 14 when the green flag flew.   And when it did fly Tony fought a tight car. One thing Tony doesn’t like is a tight car- even I know that much.  And unfortunately for Tony, Martin Truex Jr and the leaders were setting a blistering pace at the front of the field that had them quickly lapping cars.  And of course Tony- being stymied towards the rear of the pack in an evil handling car was one of them. As a matter of fact by lap 76 well over half the field was at least a lap.  I even tweeted about it:

I do hate races that the traffic gets lapped quickly in the race and I will stand by that. By the end of the race 27 drivers were a lap or more down. Meaning that there were only 16 drivers on the lead lap when the checkered flag flew.

The team took huge swings at the car throughout the race- working on it every single pit stop.  Tony worked the driver controlled trackbar as well. Tony gave feed back as often as possible on what the car was doing so they could chase the handling around the track. For a while he seem stuck in positions 25-28th. But towards the end of the race he was able to make some passes and between that and several late race cautions he steadily moved up the leaderboard. Gaininly laps back as he went.

May 31, 2015: before the Fedex 400, at the Dover International Speedway in Dover, DE. . (Photo Source: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/HHP/Andrew Coppley)

And on top of everything else? Towards the middle to end of the race Tony and crew had to deal with a crumbling pit box.  Yes that is right- the concrete on the “pit out” side of the box along the seam started to crumble and the box had a big sharp jagged lip that tony had to gently navigate upon pit exit.  You can kind of see it in the picture above- the tire carrier is kind of straddling it.  Any way Tony  was alerted to the pit box issue by crew chief Chad Johnston, who was worried Tony might cut a tire on it. I was worried that some of the big chunks would get thrown up by him or the car pitted in front of him and injure a crew member. 

In the end Tony was able to work his way up to a 16th place finish  by never giving up. The whole team worked their tail off.

Race winner was Jimmie Johnson, likely much to Martin Truex Jr’s chagrin considering he again lead the most laps and was relegated to a 6th place finish.

Notes about the race:

  1. For those who didn’t have access to Tony’s scanner during the race- as soon as Tony knew that Kyle was one of the ones in the incident on track (it was him and Brian Scott) the first thing Tony did was ask if Kyle was alright.

  2. I was SURE this week would be Martin Truex, Jr.’s week to get that win. He has to be so frustrated running SO good only to not have a win. I don’t know if it’s just luck or Cole Pearn’s inexperience or a little bit of both- but with as well as Truex is running I can’t imagine he won’t get that Furniture Row chevy in victory lane at some point this season.

  3. Talk about classy- Brian Scott took to twitter apologize for the incident when he and Kyle Busch crashed. That is awesome.

  4. I have to admit I am curious exactly what was discussed by the drivers and NASCAR during the “unofficial meeting” on Saturday at the nearby Dover Downs Casino? To be a fly on that wall.  Also why are the drivers who took part talking about how it was a great meeting, and unprecedented and stuff like that and yet NASCAR says that meetings like this are common?! Hmm…

The Gratuitous Tony Stewart Pictures:

Tony encouraging a crew member at Dover. 30 May 2015 – During Practice for the FedEx 400 at Dover international Speedway in Dover,DE (Photo Source: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/HHP/Tim Parks)

 

29 May 2015 – During Qualifying for the FedEx 400 at Dover international Speedway in Dover,DE (Photo Source: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebbok/HHP/Tim Parks)

Next Week’s Race: Pocono – aka the tricky evil triangle.

_____

#KeepDiggingTony, #NeverGiveUp, #SmokeAlwaysRises

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