Tony Qualified: didn’t, was placed 39th in the starting order, actually started 43rd
Tony Finished: 30th
Points: 16 points, 35th in the standings.
Let’s start with qualifying- or lack there of. I might have believed NASCAR’s stance that the issue with qualifying was all on the teams- if only a couple of teams failed to make qualifying. When 30% of the field lacks to even make it to qualifying because they are stuck in technical inspection- then something about the whole process is wrong. When four of those teams are top echelon teams like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart- then obviously something is majorly wrong- this race is not these teams first rodeo- their crew chief’s know what they are doing. I was completely livid when I found out what happened during qualifying that if you follow my twitter account you likely got bombarded by my tweets regarding the ridiculousness that was this issue. I have been thinking about the issue most of the weekend and my thought is that there is a solution: Make the teams clear technical inspection BEFORE qualifying ever begins. Once a call passes technical inspection they are rolled out onto the grid and are to not move or be altered until qualifying begins. So that’s my idea. But it is ridiculous when 30 percent of your running field can’t even make it to qualifying because they are stuck in tech.
Now onto the race. Because Tony apparently missed driver introductions (how does one miss driver introductions- I am not sure. I heard he was also late to the driver’s meeting) he ended up having to drop from his 39th place starting position down to 43rd. Well, I thought to myself, it wouldn’t be the first time I have seen him come back from the very back before to win the whole thing- but unfortunately it was not meant to be. Tony struggled with the handling and crew chief Chad “Pedro” Johnston just could not seem to adjust the machine to make it better.
Tony did, at one point, struggle up all the way to 18th place but that would be the highest position he would attain and he wouldn’t keep it that long. On lap 306 Tony was caught up in a multi-car accident that sent cars all over the track. Tony said on the radio was that he was doing ok avoiding the accident until someone behind him failed to check up and pushed into him- he sustained front end damage. “Pedro” and crew went right to work as soon as Tony could bring the car to them- working through out the pitstop to bring the car in, work on it and send it back out again to try to not lose too much position. They got Tony back on the track but he was smoking and had to bring it in because NASCAR was threatening to black flag him if they didn’t come in and fixed it- he was able to make it back out and across the finish line but finished 30th, 6 laps down.
There are three positives I can take from the race: Tony didn’t have a dreaded DNF. Tony finished not only better from where he started but better from where he was placed in the starting grid. And the crew didn’t suffer any pit road penalties that I could find out.
Race winner was Jimmie Johnson.
Notes about the race:
1. If you didn’t know- Tony has declared his crew chief’s nickname to be Pedro. “Pedro” has joined the twitterverse: @johnston_pedro
2. I didn’t think it was too funny of Jimmie Johnson to mention that if they need someone to find where the walls are without SAFER Barrier are that he just needs to send out Jeff Gordon. While yes I know it was said in jest- but I am sure Jeff nor his back needed that big impact. SAFER BARRIER EVERYWHERE NASCAR – seriously.
Quote Of The Race: “What Pedro wants, Pedro gets.” — Tony Stewart on the radio discussing pit strategy with his crew chief Chad “Pedro” Johnston
The Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:
Next Week’s Race: Fabulous Las Vegas- I will see you there!