It was another heartbreaking race for the Home Depot team this season. The Coca-Cola 600 saw a 31st place qualifying effort after pulling a qualifying draw on Thursday. However, team Home Depot would not be swayed and slowly worked their way up towards the front of field and by the time night descended on Lowes Motor Speedway, the 20 team finally found themselves in the top ten of the field, then the top five. Finally towards the very end of the longest Sprint Cup race of the season, the Home Dept team found themselves finally in the lead of the race, even after a cycle of late green flag pit stops the team found themselves in the lead once again. However, it was not to be, with two laps to go Stewart radioed into his team that he had a flat right front tire and another race that team Home Depot should have won was lost in a flash. However, unlike what the announcers (specifically DW) said on TV during the race, Stewart never tagged the wall. The flat was just that- a blown tire that forced Stewart to pit at two laps to go, thus handing Kasey Kahne his first points race of the season and his second win in a row. Kahne was congratulated in victory lane with a big hug from teammate Elliott Sadler, who also ran a very good race.
In a post-race HotPass interview, team Home Depot crew chief Zipadelli claimed that their effort this race “just wasn’t enough”. However, I personally don’t think that is the case seeing that over the course of 600 miles the team found themselves at the front of the race when it counted the most, the end. An poorly timed equipment failure, a poor run does not make. Short of having a crystal ball, no one could have foreseen a(nother) tire failure. The team actually worked very well, getting Stewart in and out of the pits well. It was a great run, with an unfortunate ending. Team Home Depot still finds themselves winless this season, however they are tied for 8th in the race to the Chase with Jimmie Johnson.
Also to be noted was Brian Vickers accident where his tire basically flew off his car, bounced off of David Gilliand’s hood, down the embankment over the inside wall, and over the inside catch fence, landing a glancing blow to a pop-up tent trailer in the infield. Luckily, no one was hurt, but those fans will have a heck of a story to tell their friends. In an interview after being checked out at the infield care center Brian Vickers expressed that they (the fan’s whose trailer was hit by the tire) would get some goodies sent by him, since the track officials confiscated the tire to examine what exactly caused the tire to fly off.