Charlotte II: Tony Stewart race report

Stewart Salvages a Top-10 at Charlotte Sixteenth Top-10 of Season Maintains Sixth Place Point Standing CONCORD, N.C., (Oct. 16, 2004) - Tony Stewart came into Saturday night's UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Charlotte as ...

Stewart Salvages a Top-10 at Charlotte
Sixteenth Top-10 of Season Maintains Sixth Place Point Standing

CONCORD, N.C., (Oct. 16, 2004) - Tony Stewart came into Saturday night's UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Charlotte as the defending race winner, and while his title defense came up short, his 10th place effort was remarkable nonetheless.

Despite using the same car that carried him to victory in last year's 334-lap contest, Stewart found his #20 Home Depot Chevrolet to be a shadow of its once dominant self. It had led six times for 149 laps in last year's UAW-GM Quality 500, but in this year's race at the 1.5-mile oval it couldn't even sniff the lead.

The car was a handful. Tight while in traffic and loose when riding in clean air, there was never a happy medium, but it was not for a lack of effort.

Crew chief Greg Zipadelli made wholesale changes throughout the race, adjusting everything. Tire pressures were tweaked, spring rubbers were inserted, wedge was added and the track bar was lowered. All helped, but none fully alleviated the car's evil feel on the race track. But it was enough to keep Stewart on the lead lap when the checkered flag waved.

"We were obviously looking for a better race that that," said Stewart, who started 15th, "but to come out of here with a top-10 says a lot about this race team. Nobody ever quits here, that's for sure."

The 10th place effort allowed Stewart to maintain his sixth-place point standing, but he now sits 204 markers arrears series leader Kurt Busch. With only five races remaining, the top-10 point standings heading into the Oct. 24 Subway 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway are:

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Kurt Busch