Championship hopes slip for Stewart, Mayfield, Newman

The first race for the 'chase for the championship' did not prove fruitful for contenders, Tony Stewart, Jeremy Mayfield and Ryan Newman; on lap 64 Stewart and Mayfield were involved in an accident that sent both vehicles into the garage, and...

The first race for the 'chase for the championship' did not prove fruitful for contenders, Tony Stewart, Jeremy Mayfield and Ryan Newman; on lap 64 Stewart and Mayfield were involved in an accident that sent both vehicles into the garage, and Newman lost the engine on the No. 12 Dodge with 33 laps left to be completed.

The woes for Stewart and Mayfield began on lap 64, when Robby Gordon's No. 31 Chevy punted the No. 16 of Greg Biffle (in an act of retribution from an earlier accident in which Biffle made contact with Gordon's car) sending him into the wall. During the second incident, as Biffle slid up the race track, the No. 20 of Tony Stewart had no where to go and slammed into Biffle's machine.

Jeremy Mayfield ended up getting caught in the melee at the end, also causing heavy damage on the No. 19 Dodge. Mayfield got the No. 19 Dodge back on track 46 laps down, and finished 35th. Mayfield began the Loudon event ninth in points, and slips one spot to 10th, 142 points out of first.

"They didn't see me that was part of it." Mayfield said. "They shouldn't have seen me, but they also shouldn't have been doing that on the racetrack. Take care of it off the track.

"I just think that Robby Gordon and Greg Biffle ought to go outside the racetrack and fight and get it over with. Go outside and settle it somewhere else."

Stewart, clearly irate, wheeled his car into the garage for repairs the included fixing heavy front end damage and replacing the radiator and rejoining the field 48 laps down. He steered the No. 20 around the track for about forty laps before NASCAR radioed the No. 20 team that they were not meeting the minimum speed requirement.

Stewart promptly pulled his car into the garage and parked it.

"That's probably going to take us out of the championship," commented Stewart. "It wasn't two years ago that we left Daytona 43rd in points and came back and won (the championship). So, it can happen.

"But to try and make up that amount of points in nine more races is virtually impossible. That's been my concern all along about this and it happened to us in the first race."

Stewart entered New Hampshire fourth in points, just 15 markers behind leader Jeff Gordon but will leave in the 'Chase for the NEXTEL cup'.

"That's what happens when you race with a bunch of idiots," commented Stewart's crew chief Greg Zipadelli.

Ryan Newman looked poised to come home with a top-five finish, when with 33 laps to go, the engine let go on the No. 12 Penske Dodge. Newman pulled the No. 12 into the garage finishing 33rd.

Newman's maladies actually didn't hurt Newman as badly, he moved from 10th to ninth in points, 136 points short of the leaders.

"Something in the engine, the bottom line was we didn't make it til the end," said Newman. "The bright spot was we had a good car, the dark spot is we didn't make it to the end."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Robby Gordon , Ryan Newman