I will however start on a good note for all us Stewart fans out. Tony won another race for the Nationwide Series #20. This is the 8th win for this car which has had 4 different drivers behind the wheel this season including Joey Lagano who got his first win this year. It was wonderful to see Tony back in Victory Lane albeit in a Nationwide Race. His victory came on an audible by his crew chief Dave Rogers who decided to take only two tires. Unfortunately the great pit strategy on Saturday wouldn’t translate over to the Cup race on Sunday.
I really thought Tony would carry his momentum from Saturday over to Sunday. But once again another heartbreak for Tony. Tony started back in the pack in 28th position. I don’t usually take stock in where Tony qualifies because one way or another he finds his way to the front and yesterday was no exception. Tony took the lead for the first time after a caution on lap 138. He came out of the pits in the lead just inches ahead of Casey Mears.
And then Lap 271…
As Earnhardt is slowing down to come down pitroad, Jamie rear ends Junior as well as collecting teammate David Ragan. This brings out the 6th caution of the day. We knew there were going to be drivers short on fuel. There was also the approaching thunderstorm. This was probably going to be the “money stop” for teams. Several drivers including Kurt Busch stayed out. Stewart headed down pit road. He was the first driver of the bunch to take 2 tires. This put him back in 14th spot. The final caution came out as Hornish and Bowyer have a meet and greet. This was lap 280. NASCAR brings out the red flag four laps later due to the rain and decides to call the race done and declares Kurt Busch the winner. Tony finishes 13th after leading 132 laps. Tony became only the 13th driver to lead 10,000 plus laps. Right before they called the race TNT intereviewed Tony, you could see the disappointment in his eyes as well as disappointment in his voice. Upside of this is Tony did move up to 9th in the overall standings. Sometimes it just isn’t your day.
Here is the Top 10 from yesterday
- Kurt Busch
- Michael Waltrip
- J.J. Yeley
- Martin Truex
- Elliott Sadler
- Reed Sorenson
- Casey Mears
- Denny Hamlin
- Jimmie Johnson
- Bobby Labonte
Yep…that’s quite a top 10 there folks. I am not saying they didn’t deserve to be there, because there are times when you have to roll the dice, but there are only two drivers in that whole top 10 who are even in the top 12 in standings. Like Michel Waltrip said in a post race interview…”he is going to take his 170 points and call it a day.”
Couple of notes…
- Ron Hornaday wins the truck race on Saturday night.
- Congratulations to Patrick Carpentier for snagging his first pole. He finished 31st. Even though he finished pretty far in the back of the pack it is still a positive step forward.
- Tight race for that elusive 12th spot in the standings. Matt is out of the Top 12 and Kevin Harvick is in, but Matt is only 15 points behind Kevin for that spot with Martin Truex and Ryan Newman biting at the heels.
- Kyle again tangles with another driver on the track. I am sure there was some beatin’ and bangin’ going on between the two. Juan did intentionally spin Busch out and made no bones about it, but Kyle stood his ground. I believe Juan was penalized two spots in the race finish for his spin (if not please let me know).
- Casey Mears out of the #5 over at HMS. While watching the race yesterday all I could think of was..Mears-Penske..Mears-Penske. Sound familiar folks?
One final note…I don’t usually make too many predictions/projections because I am usually wrote 99.9% of the time, but I am going to make one here. I believe Tony has made up his mind about his future. And I belive we will all know before the end of July.