Points: 248 (30th in the standings, 15 points away from 29th and 31 points away from 31th).
I think they need to rename Kentucky Speedway Kautiontucky Speedway. Okay, I admit I can’t take total credit for that- Misty thought of something similar towards the end of the race and posted it on her Facebook. It made me chuckle. Considering that the surface was new at Kentucky , there had been a lot of rain, limited practice, and that the tire compounds were hard- the amount of cautions probably couldn’t be prevented.
Because of rain qualifying for the Quaker State 400 had been rained out and the grid was set by owner points- which put Tony 22nd in the field. Not a great starting position but at least they go by owners points and not driver’s points or he would have had to start 30th. The National broadcast felt that turn 3 was the most dangerous area of the Anyway- there were 7 cautions during the first 100 laps of the race and despite some minor handling issues and a track with a treacherous turn three thanks to the repave- the team still only opted to take 2 tires during their pit stops to help gain track position. And the strategy worked allowing Tony to pick up even more spots on the track than he was able to pick up passing – which was hard to do on the new surface judging by comments from other drivers. At this point of the race Tony was racing anywhere between 9th to 13th position depending on the lap. Not bad all things considered.
Towards the middle of the race the team opted for a four-tire pit stop to do some adjustments- unfortunately during this stop there was also a miscue as Tony didn’t realize the team was stopping for four tires and nearly left when they dropped him off the jack the first time. Tony came back out in the 24th I think at this point according to my notes. However thanks to his driving and other pits stops and cautions Tony was able to work his way up to 12th by the 60 laps to go mark. It was after his last pit stop that the team began urging Tony to save fuel and he even dropped down to 14th at this point.
It was during this “save fuel save fuel” portion of the race that I was sitting on the edge of my couch with everything crossed that I could cross hoping that our driver could save enough fuel to get him to the checkers without running out of fuel. Slowly but surely other cars began stopping for splashes of fuel, some also opted for tires and fuel, which caused Tony to slowly work his way up the field by saving saving saving. At one point crew chief Mike Bugarewicz told told Tony not to let the car behind him (Jr) pass him and a little later still the crew chief told him he could start saving again- and Tony replied that he never stopped saving. I think Jr was saving too and thus not pressuring Tony as much.
I think I was holding my breath for the last 15 laps or so as I hoped against hope that Tony wouldn’t run out of fuel- and luckily for us he didn’t- and ended up with a top 5 finish.
Race winner was Brad Keselowski again- who know has 4 wins this season.
The race at Kentucky speed way was was an awesome points day that saw Tony Stewart and team 14 widening the gap between 30th and 31st place- which is exactly what we want to see (that gap,by the way, is now 31 points). And it earned him a new statistic- Tony now has a top 5 finish at ever track of the current circuit of tracks! Another stat to add to an already impressive stat-filled career.
Stewart-Haas Racing team mate Kurt Busch finished 4th after starting at the rear of the field for being forced into a back up car after a practice crash, while Kevin Harvick finished in 9th and Danica finished in 17th.
The Gratuitous Tony Stewart Pictures:
All smiles at Kentucky:
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