Another exciting finish thanks to the new double file restart rule.
Tony qualified and started 32nd in Saturday night’s race. But once that green flag dropped Tony was on a mission to move forward and that is exactly what he did nearly immediately. It didn’t take him long to work his way up to the top 15 and then to the top 10- where he stayed around 7th place most of the evening. He seemed to be struggling a bit with the handling of the car into the turns judging by his hotpass audio. Crew chief Darian Grubb continuously took stabs at adjusting the car to make it work more for Stewart with adjustments to air pressure and trackbar. The race at Chicagoland was actually fairly incident free…the first two cautions of the race thrown for track debris. Team Office Depot/Old Spice seemed to be working their way towards a solid top 10 possiby even a top 5 finish.
Then there was the bad pit stop and things just seemed to go downhill for a bit. First there was the pitstop- under caution where Tony took off from the pits two lugnuts short of a full load. Crew Chief Darian Grubb calls him back in almost immediately- reminding him to be calm about it. Tony may have been mad but if he was I didn’t hear it. Then during the next caution, after pitting, Tony either cuts down a tire on debris or thinks he cuts down a tire and comes back in to the pits again. During that last 60 laps he must have pitted 4 or 5 times, luckily all of them were during cautions and he fell no lower than 17th. Each time Stewart and Grubb discussed changes to the car that Tony needed to be able to push through the field.
Tony was determined though and didn’t let a frustrating night get the best of him and continued to push forward through the pack with the help of his spotter. Before the last restart Tony and Darian had one of my favorite exchanges of the night with Darian telling Tony that it “aint been pretty.” and Tony telling Darian that was true but “he wasn’t done yet.” And how true that was because Tony ended up pushing forward into 4th, retaining his points lead over second place Jeff Gordon. The race winner was Mark Martin. Teammate Ryan Newman finished 6th to help Stewart-Haas racing land another double top ten for the team.
NOTES on CHICAGOLAND:
- How cool that Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon were able to finish 1-2 and how great for the fan to get that money! Wish it was me!
- Boy Jeff Burton doesn’t like the double file restarts…but I do. Of course they have been working to Tony’s advantage so far.
- I decided that I didn’t much care for the back-to-school paint scheme Tony was running- with the exception of the part of the car that looked like a composition book. I think it would have been cooler to make the whole car look like the book and then maybe have it look like a kid scribbled on it… instead of the crayons on the front and the pens on the side. Plus I just don’t like the white base to the car. But that is just me.
- Speaking of alternate paint schemes…should it be called a paint scheme or a wrap scheme…since technically they wrapped the car?
- Being alone and watching a race doesn’t stop me from talking to the tv. Or yelling things like “WATCH OUT!” like Tony can here me (regarding when Paul Menard nearly spun into his right side. Tony’s reaction was a nice calm “Wow that was about as close as I wanna get tonight.” Me I was all “WATCH OUT!!!”
- I really could just slap whoever sits there at DirecTV central with their finger on the censor button where it comes to Tony’s radio feed. I know I have harped on this before…but I really wanted to know what he and Darian said at the end of the race but all I got to hear was something like “Damn….win them and lose them as a team.” I know that there was stuff inbetween.
- I know that you know I love the commercials. Did you catch the new ending to the Toyota Autograph Seeker commercial…when the little flying robot comes back with Kyle Busch and he just kind of moans? It made me laugh.
- Speaking of the commericals…I also noticed a new version of the old spice commercial that had the girl who in previous versions was “from russia” presenting tony with a big ole turkey leg- which he bites into and then proceeds to say “Thanks Old Spice” complete with mouthful. All I could do is shake my head. At least it wasn’t as disturbing as last week’s Burger King commercial that had Tony and the King (who you all know gives me the creeps) swapping spots in the car so Tony can enjoy himself a Double Whopper (I still can’t find that commercial on youtube or anything or I would post it for your pleasure)…that was just creepy. I wish Tony had just run over the King or something.
Next weekend is an off weekend. The next NASCAR race is on July 26th at Indianapolis Motorspeedway.