Atlanta II: Tony Stewart race report

STEWART GETS 17TH IN 20TH START AT ATLANTA Home Depot Driver Struggles with Ill-Handling Car in Pep Boys Auto 500 "Loose on entry. Tight in the center. Loose off." Those were the words most often uttered by Tony Stewart in Sunday's Pep Boys Auto...

STEWART GETS 17TH IN 20TH START AT ATLANTA
Home Depot Driver Struggles with Ill-Handling Car in Pep Boys Auto 500

"Loose on entry. Tight in the center. Loose off." Those were the words most often uttered by Tony Stewart in Sunday's Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga.

Stewart struggled in his 20th career Sprint Cup start at Atlanta, as he and crew chief Greg Zipadelli could never find the handle on their No. 20 Home Depot Toyota. No amount of tools in the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) toolbox could fix the car's tendency to want to slide out from beneath Stewart as he entered the track's corners, push its nose through the middle of the corners, and then have its rear end want to kick out again as Stewart exited the track's corners.

The 325-lap wrestling match Stewart endured with his steering wheel resulted in a 17th-place finish.

"I did everything I knew how to do with that thing to get it to handle," said Stewart, who came into Atlanta with 12 top-10 finishes in his 19 previous Sprint Cup races at the 1.54-mile oval. "It just wouldn't respond the way we needed it to."

Stewart's JGR teammates -- Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch -- finished third and fifth, respectively, in the Pep Boys Auto 500.

Carl Edwards won the Pep Boys Auto 500 to score his 14th career Sprint Cup victory, his seventh of the season and his third at Atlanta. Finishing 2.684 seconds behind Edwards in second was Jimmie Johnson, while Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Busch rounded out the top-five. Kurt Busch, Jamie McMurray, David Ragan, Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were 10 caution periods for 43 laps, with three drivers failing to finish the three-hour and 43-minute race.

All three JGR drivers are represented in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup. Stewart continues to lead the JGR trio in points, as he maintained his eighth-place point standing, but fell to 401 markers behind series leader Johnson. Hamlin and Busch held onto their respective slots in the point standings at 11th and 12th, respectively. Hamlin is 425 points out of first and Busch is 465 points down to Johnson.

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Carl Edwards , David Ragan , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing