Miles the Monster, mascot to the concrete mile track in Dover, made sure that Tony Stewart, his crew, and his stalwart fans were left disappointed, disheartened, and bewildered at the team’s luck after Sunday’s race (not to mention generally pissed off- but that’s a post for another day). Saturday’s qualifying session was rained out and forced the race line up to go by the practice speeds , a new rule in 2011, for the first time this year. Unfortunately this put the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet deep in the field- starting 27th. (more…)
I am surprised I didn’t get the cops called on me this Sunday during the last 20 laps or so of the Autism Speaks 400 race at Dover. I was watching alone for a change and when Tony was chasing Biffle down, passing Biffle, and then working that track to make his car seem as wide as possible when Jimmie was doing the same to him, I was screaming. And standing about two feet infront of the television- as if my mere proximity to the tube and yelling my cheers that loudly would somehow propell that 14 car on my voice alone. Because I was alone I wasn’t shy about being LOUD and PROUD in my rooting for Tony and Team. And because I was alone I admit that I may have had a few choice words for Jimmie Johnson when he passed Tony (even though I actually kinda like Jimmie) that didn’t get filtered out by my internal sesor when I watch with other people.
Team Office Depot/Old Spice didn’t have the most stellar first practice or qualifying run on Friday so honestly I wasn’t sure it was going to be the best weekend for us. Then I made the mistake of reading the transcript from Tony’s Friday media session- which is something I almost never do- and he just seemed rather grumpy and overly concerned about his car. Yet another reason to think that Dover would not be a great weekend for Team Office Depot/Old Spice. I was reassured a bit on Saturday morning when I caught glimpses of the last two practices- to see that Tony’s car seemed to be picking it up.
Qualifying 31st, Tony spent most of the race mired in heavy traffic but working his way up the field slowly but surely. Not having the best of pit stalls I think kind of messed him up in the pits and he often lost one or two spots during a stop. Tony eventually worked his way into the top ten- running consistently at about 8th or so. Then there was a lucky debris caution. Darian called Tony in at the last minute for two tires. And because Team Office Depot/Old Spice only took two tires, they found themselves slowly hunting down race leader (at the time) Greg Biffle- and eventually catching him. They raced hard for awhile and Stewart eventually become the race leader. Unfortunately Jimmie Johnson was also moving up the field- and Jimmie was on four fresh tires. Tony held Jimmie off as long as he could- but Jimmie eventually got around Tony with two laps to go and never looked back. Tony came in second at Dover. Partly because of his second place finish and also because of Jeff Gordon’s inability to get either of his laps back, Stewart and Team Office Depot/Old Spice left Dover first in the points, with Jeff Gordon a mere 46 points behind him. Stewart-Haas teamate Ryan Newman also had yet another top ten finish (way to go RYAN!!) and moved up two spots in the points and is now up to fifth.
Notes on Dover:
- This race had too many debris cautions for my taste. People- if your race car has parts falling off of it- pull into the pits! That is my PSA for Dover.
- I am kind of glad its the end of the Fox coverage because DW kind of pissed me off with an offhanded comment he made regarding drivers not having original thoughts during the preshow (in reference to Kyle Busch’s comment about Dale Jr.)
- Well judging by the results this weekend- the crew chief switch on the #88 seems to at least done SOME good. Jr finished 12th. Not bad. Still- Junior seemed down in his afterrace interview. As a side note, my friend says Dale Jr. reminds her of Jeff Boomhauer when he talks.
- As mentioned by Kyle Busch during the preshow- don’t forget to go to RealChocolate.com to try for your chance at a free Mars product this friday. (Thanks Kyle!)
- *Technically most NASCAR fans would call Dover race 13 on the schedule because for some unknown reason they don’t count the All-Star race (yeah I know you don’t get points…but you get a million bucks and a cool ring? What more do you want?).
Next weekend the race is at Pocono (aka the Evil Little Triangle). Also don’t forget race fans that NASCAR coverage switches to TNT this weekend.