Charlotte: Tony Stewart race report

STEWART FINISHES 15TH IN COCA-COLA 600 AT CHARLOTTE Office Depot/Old Spice Driver Battles Ill-Handling Car in Series' Longest Race That extra 100 hundred miles in the Coca-Cola 600 -- the longest race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series...

STEWART FINISHES 15TH IN COCA-COLA 600 AT CHARLOTTE

Office Depot/Old Spice Driver Battles Ill-Handling Car in Series' Longest Race

That extra 100 hundred miles in the Coca-Cola 600 -- the longest race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule -- is always felt, but it's even more so when the racecar you're piloting is sliding around at speeds nearing 200 mph.

Such was the case for Tony Stewart, who knew exactly when the race felt like it should've been over at its 500-mile mark, but knew he had another 66 laps to go before the checkered flag dropped on the 400-lap affair.

When it did, the driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet Impala for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) finished a respectable 15th out of the 43 cars that qualified for the marathon event around the 1.5-mile confines of Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

"We just couldn't find the right balance tonight," said Stewart, who started 26th. "We made gains on it, but it seemed like we could never get the back of the car down into the racetrack. We'd lose a little stability, get a little of it back, and then kind of repeat it.

"This is a tough race for that. You start in the heat of the afternoon with the sun beating down on you and end in the nighttime when it's a lot cooler. The track conditions change a lot and you have to change with them. We kind of chased our car all night."

Stewart's SHR teammate, Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet, finished ninth. Newman started from the pole for the 46th time of his Sprint Cup career and for the ninth time in his 19 races at Charlotte. His top-10 effort was his third in the last four Sprint Cup races and his fifth top-10 finish this season.

Kurt Busch, who won last weekend's non-points NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte, swept the city's Sprint Cup action by winning the Coca-Cola 600. It was Busch's second win this season, his first point-paying win at Charlotte and his 22nd career Sprint Cup victory.

Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray finished .737 of a second behind Busch in the runner-up spot, while Kyle Busch, Mark Martin and David Reutimann rounded out the top-five. Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Newman and Matt Kenseth comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were eight caution periods for 34 laps, with seven drivers failing to finish.

With round 13 of 36 complete, Newman moved into the top-12 in the Sprint Cup championship standings. Thanks to his top-10 finish at Charlotte, Newman gained one spot to rise to 12th, where he now has 1,547 points and is 351 markers behind series leader Kevin Harvick. Stewart lost two positions to fall to 16th in the standings. He has 1,520 points and is 27 points out of 12th.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the June 6 Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

-source: jgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jamie McMurray , Clint Bowyer , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing