Finish: 26th, 4 laps down
Points: 2156 (14th in points)
Tony’s weekend started out with awesome practices and a solid qualifying effort but unfortunately it didn’t end up so swell. After the first caution when a majority of the field pitted and Tony’s team did not he ended up falling back in the field to fresher tires. The car sustained damage when Ryan Blaney came across the nose of Tony’s car as well. Between battling a car that wouldn’t turn and the loss of track position he was unable to make up any ground and eventually ended up loosing laps to the leader and finishing 26th. Tony was discouraged. The team was discouraged. The fans were discouraged. It wasn’t the best of weekends so why dwell on it I say.
But Tony’s bad luck at Martinsville is not what I wanted to talk about today. Today I wanted to talk about what seems to be a big issue this year- and that is NASCAR not being able to line up the cars up right after a restart. Tony’s gotten screwed a couple of times already this season this year by it but what happened in Martinsville on Sunday was beyond ridiculous. Green flag pit stops started and then a caution came out in the middle of the cycle. So it takes NASCAR a long time to decide who goes where when it comes to lining up behind the pace car and such before they even open pit road. This in itself is a problem because it takes them so long that some of the cars nearly run out of gas- including Jimmie Johnson. NASCAR finally opens pit road and cars pit and after pitting they still can’t figure out where to align everyone and people are complaining that Kevin Harvick got one of his laps back incorrectly. So NASCAR continues to extend the caution. Cars where going around in circles under caution for about 20 minutes because NASCAR couldn’t figure out who went where. It was kind of an embarrassment and I couldn’t imagine trying to explain that one to someone you were trying to show your favorite sport to in hopes they might become a fan. It was fairly embarrassing.
Additionally I don’t think the cars were correctly lined up even AFTER they went green. Why? Because Casey Mears and Kurt Busch were both lined up 5th and 6th when the green flag flew. However they were both 2 laps down in 21st and 22nd position so I am not sure HOW on earth they ended up lined up in front of cars who were on the lead lap (there were 10) or lined up in front of cars who were only 1 lap down. I am still perplexed by that one. I tweeted at NASCAR asking why- but they never responded.
What NASCAR should have done- was red flagged the race until they could get it figured out so we weren’t penalized good racing action while they figured out who goes where. Once they had it figured out…pull the pace car up a bit and then call the cars out in order to line them up correctly. None of this 20 minute cautions while we figure out who goes where. This was not the first race where the cars weren’t lined up correctly and likely it won’t be the last. Instead of worrying about how many lower series races cup drivers can race in and which races they can and can’t race in (by the way if you are interested I don’t think there should be limit on the number of races- but I think that they shouldn’t be allowed to race in the case races) NASCAR needs to figure out how to fix there scoring system and rules so that they don’t turn into a laughing stock.
Race winner was Jimmie Johnson, who will now be one of the four drivers racing for the Championship in Homestead.
Tony did have another awesome helmet this week in Martinsville (click on photo to be taken to the rest of the album to see other views):
Next week we are racing in Texas…anyone going who will have an extra bobble head you know how to get in touch with me (firstname.lastname@example.org)…I really want one of those suckers.
Gratuitous Tony Stewart:
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