STEWART FORCED TO RUN WITH THE BULLS IN KANSAS Mishaps with Team Red Bull's No. 83 Squad Yields 40thPlace Finish Tony Stewart didn't run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, but he did have a run-in -- several, in fact -- with Team Red Bull's No....
STEWART FORCED TO RUN WITH THE BULLS IN KANSAS
Mishaps with Team Red Bull's No. 83 Squad Yields 40thPlace Finish
Tony Stewart didn't run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, but he did have a run-in -- several, in fact -- with Team Red Bull's No. 83 car during Sunday's Camping World RV 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
Three separate pit road mishaps and one unrelated on-track incident -- all with the No. 83 car of Brian Vickers -- conspired to leave Stewart 40th when the 267-lap race mercifully ended.
During Stewart's first three pit stops, Vickers' No. 83 Toyota -- which had the pit stall directly in front of Stewart -- blocked the two-time Sprint Cup champion in his stall, thwarting the quick service given to Stewart by his Home Depot over-the-wall team.
The first incident came on lap 49, when just before Stewart was ready to exit his stall, Vickers chopped across the nose of Carl Edwards' Ford, sending both cars spinning into the pit stall ahead of Stewart. The ensuing gridlock forced Stewart to back up and crank his steering wheel hard to the right before he could motor off pit road.
On the next round of regularly scheduled pit stops on lap 95, Vickers stopped his car short in his pit box, leaving Stewart no room to pull out of his stall once his crew had completed service on the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota. Again, Stewart had to back up before he could leave his stall, negating a stellar 12.83-second pit stop by his crew.
The third and final pit road miscue happened on lap 119 when Vickers' crew took their time getting back over the wall after they had pitted Team Red Bull's No. 83 car. As soon as the jack dropped on The Home Depot Toyota, Stewart hit the gas, only to hit the brake milliseconds later as Vickers' crew stood in his way. Precious seconds were again lost on pit road.
As if that weren't enough, seemingly cosmic forces brought Stewart and Vickers together again on lap 130, this time off turn four of the 1.5-mile oval.
As Stewart made his way back toward the front of the 43-car field, he had a head of steam coming off turn four. But there in front of him was Vickers, and the closing rate Stewart had upon Vickers was substantial. Slight contact was made between right-front nose of Stewart's Toyota and the left-rear quarterpanel of Vickers' Toyota. Stewart tugged his steering wheel hard left, sending his Home Depot machine spinning through the track's manicured infield grass.
The unscheduled soil aeration courtesy of The Home Depot damaged the splitter on the No. 20 car's nose. Stewart tried to make some laps at speed, but it soon became apparent that the splitter would have to be fixed if he was going to finish the race.
It was a hard decision, but a necessary one. Crew chief Greg Zipadelli called Stewart to the pits on lap 191 -- thankfully, when the No. 83 car was still out on the race track -- and instructed his crew to fix the splitter and the brackets that attached it to the bumper. It took six laps, but it was mission accomplished.
Stewart returned to the track in 41st position, gaining only one spot when Martin Truex Jr., fell out of the race with terminal transmission problems.
Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammates -- Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch and -- finished 11th and 28th, respectively, in the Camping World RV 400.
All three JGR drivers are represented in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup. Hamlin now leads the JGR trio in points, as he picked up one spot and is 10th in points, 243 markers arrears series leader Johnson. Stewart fell four positions and is 11th in the standings, 255 points out of the lead. Busch remained 12th in points and is 311 markers behind Johnson.