You do NOT know how tempted I was to name this post “Darlington- The Track that Bitch-Slapped Tony Stewart and Team OldSpice/Office Depot.” Urg. Seriously…when I watch a race I have notepad open on my laptop to take notes since I now have the NASCAR.COM Trackpass Scanner so I have to have my laptop up anyway. That way when I sit down later to write the post I have my thoughts from the time…and let’s just say there is one document on my desktop right now called “LadyInBlackisabitch.”
Tony qualified 23rd - because he pulled an early qualifying run (at least that is what I like to tell myself anyway). After the green flag dropped Tony stated that the car was loose coming out of the corners. During the first pit stop the crew threw everything they could at the car including changing air pressure and track bar. What they didn’t throw at the car that first pit stop was a full load of fuel. Whoops. Luckily for the team there was another caution not tooo long into the fuel run and they were able to top Tony off.
The next set of pitstops Tony makes a rare mistake and missed his pit box. The official team release said it was due to congestion on pit road making it impossible for him to angle into his box correctly. I don’t know exactly where Tony was pitting but he complained multiple times during race about not being able to see his pitboard sign and at one time told Darian that next weekend he wanted it to be a different design and color.
Because of an accidental run in with Paul Menard Tony received cosmetic damage on his nose and someone hit the back end of his car later…which was only exacerbated by the loose off the corners condition that caused Stewart to slap the outside wall with the right rear of the car. That pushed the rear spoiler off center which several laps later caused his number 14 Chevrolet to spin. The backend of that poor car was pretty trashed. They ended up having to tape parts of the decklid to the rear window to keep it secure. Later when Tony was describing the car to Darian what the car was doing he said that he had been driving cars along time and couldn’t figure out why it was going back and forth from loose to tight. I think that the messed up rearend of the car could have had something to do with it.
Now when Tony’s not running well I tend to get a wee bit cranky. I can’t imagine how but Darian and Tony sounded totally cool over the course of the entire race with each other on the radio. I mean Tony let out some frustrated words out when he spun- but heck I can’t fault him for that. Several years ago I had a full car of people and a dude ran a red light and hit my car hard enough to spin it a quarter revolution. I let loose a curse laden tirade that scared my sister-in-law before we got out of the car- so I definitely can not fault him there. Tony took two pit stops to fix damage. He finished 23rd, one lap down. He dropped to 18th in the points but is only 59 points out of the top 12. Teammate Ryan Newman posted a 9th place finish and rose to 14th in the points.
Congratulation go to Denny Hamlin, who won the race.
Notes about Darlington:
- After the race, Tony seemed upset at himself telling the team on the radio that he was sorry and that “you all deserve better than what you got for a driver. I appreciate the hard work guys.” However I do not think that the poor luck they had was really his fault except maybe the one pit stop where the box was missed. And everyone makes mistakes. They are just having bad luck this season so far.
- Speaking of bad luck, it was reported soon after the race that Stewart-Haas Racing has lost it’s partnership with Old Spice for the 2011 season. I really think that sucks. A team runs into a little bit of of tough spell and one of their main sponsors go running for the hills? Nice. What makes it worse is that it’s a sponsor that Tony has had for YEARS. You can be darn sure I won’t be buying any old spice. Well and I am a girl so…that is easy to say!
- I am concerned about points and the 14 team making the chase, but Misty likes to reassure me with these words: You can’t keep Stewart down even if you wanted too. She likes to point out that he is the master of recovery- and he will get into his groove soon and make the chase. I hope she is right.
- Speaking of the Stewart being the master of recovery- when he did spin late in the race on Saturday- he did a GREAT job of keeping that car off the walls and out of any more trouble. I mean seriously…even my dad mentioned that.
- One of my twitter friends said it best: We will “never giving up on Tony, EVER. He is an amazing driver and he WILL win” (via @tstewartluvr14). And I believe that! He will soon!
Next weekend we are back to Sunday races with a trip to DOVER. GO TONY GO!!!!