MONSTER MILE TAKES A BITE OUT OF STEWART Home Depot Driver Caught in Massive Pileup on Lap 17 at Dover Sunday's Best Buy 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway was only 17 laps old when Tony Stewart ...
MONSTER MILE TAKES A BITE OUT OF STEWART
Home Depot Driver Caught in Massive Pileup on Lap 17 at Dover
Sunday's Best Buy 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway was only 17 laps old when Tony Stewart became involved in a massive pileup off turn two that claimed a total of 10 cars.
The driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota had nowhere to go when Elliott Sadler moved down into the path of David Gilliland as the pair exited turn two. Sadler spun up into the SAFER Barrier that lines the outside retaining wall of the 1-mile oval and then drifted back across the track and directly into Stewart's path.
The impact was hard, with the front end of Stewart's Toyota badly damaged, along with the rear end after those running behind Stewart slammed into his bumper. When the smoke cleared, the aptly named Monster Mile had chewed up and spit out The Home Depot Toyota.
"I take 100 percent responsibility. It's my fault for being even anywhere close to Elliott (Sadler)," Stewart said. "If I'm within a half a lap of him, I expect that to happen. When I hit him, it caused all the guys behind us to wreck. So it's my fault."
Stewart was unhurt in the accident, and despite his No. 20 ride being battered and beaten, he was able to drive it back to the garage area where his crew went to work.
In what appeared to be controlled chaos, broken parts and pieces were removed and cut from the car while replacement parts were readied nearby. By lap 132, Stewart was back on the race track thanks to the Herculean efforts of his team.
Two cars involved in the accident -- Sadler's Dodge and the Toyota of Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin -- were officially out of the race. When Stewart returned to the concrete oval, he was in 40th position, with his eyes set on outlasting other cars involved in the crash, as well as future crashes.
Stewart was 113 laps off the pace when his race resumed, and the two drivers in front of him were also involved in the lap 17 melee. Scott Riggs and Kevin Harvick were 87 and 63 laps off the pace, respectively, with Riggs running 40th and Harvick in 39th.
Those would be the drivers Stewart would chase for the remainder of the Best Buy 400.
"You guys did a really, really good job of getting this thing back together," said Stewart over the radio on lap 197.
With Riggs and Harvick able to continue on just like Stewart, there were no more positions to gain or lose for the No. 20 team. Crew chief Greg Zipadelli called Stewart to the garage area just after lap 300, and when the checkered flag waved on lap 400, Stewart was credited with a 41st-place finish.
"I've got a great group of guys," Stewart said. "Unfortunately, adversity is our motto here at Joe Gibbs Racing."