Points: 152 (35th in the standings, 45 points away from 30th and 8 points away from 34th).
No matter where Tony starts in the grid I have always said that finishing better than what you started is a good day. Tony may have finished 4 spots lower than where he started the race- but it’s really hard to call it a bad day when Tony Stewart and Team 14 had such a great weekend over all. This is the kind of weekend us Smoke fans have been wanting to see so I can only imagine the same is true for Tony and the team itself.
When I first heard that NASCAR was tweaking the aero package again, my first thought was can’t they just let it be for awhile. The teams are just getting use to the old aero package , Tony especially since he wasn’t in the car all season like the rest of the drivers. Apparently there was no need to be concerned because the weekend started off with a blistering qualifying session for Tony- with him qualifying a season high 3rd.
When the race started Tony remained somewhere within the top 10 during the first half of the race. He never really complained too much about his car handling for the first time in along time- and the team serviced him only making slight air pressure adjustments during the first couple of pit stops. Tony was in good spirits during the race including pulling a practical joke on his pit crew by telling them he was coming during a caution when he was suppose to stay out. Crew chief Mike Bugarewicztold him he nearly choked and that it wasn’t really fair because if he did that to Tony- he would just come in and that wouldn’t be cool if they didn’t need to. Tony told his crew chief with a chuckle that was exactly why he had done it.
It wasn’t until the last quarter of the race that Tony dropped out of the top ten- dropping to 11th and it was then he started complaining about the handling of the car. Luckily during the last 50 laps there were a couple of pit stops where the team could work on their adjustments as well as their strategy (that including having Tony adjust which fans he had on and which battery he was running off of). Tony was then able to work his way back up to fourth. But then at 10 laps to go there was another restart, and during that restart Tony got stymied by Carl Edwards who didn’t seem to get a good restart and Tony fell back to 8th, but was able to by the drop of the checkered flag move into 7th position.
It was GREAT to see the team running in the top 10 all day it really really was! It made the race way more exciting for this Tony Stewart fan anyway.
Tony only gained one position in the points- he is up to 45th, but with his 7th place finish he nearly but not quite halved the amount of points between him and 30th position currently held by Matt DiBenedetto. I think that’s a great improvement points wise.
Stewart-Haas teammate Kevin Harvick finished 5th while Kurt Busch also finished in the top ten finishing 10th. Danica Patrick finished 21st.
Next week the cup series has an off week. Next cup race is on the 26th at Sonoma Raceway – WHOO HOO I will be there
The Gratuitous Tony Stewart Pictures:
Tony having fun during qualifying…I think he looks like a police man with a radar gun
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