The finish moves Stewart up four positions in the standings to 23rd.
BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 16, 2014) – In a race plagued by inclement weather for the entire day and into the evening, the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway was shortened by 2.5 laps when the skies opened-up again and forced Round 4 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to end under caution. Mother Nature finished ahead of Team Chevy’s Tony Stewart in his No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, who collected fourth place, his best in the 2014 season thus far, after a leg injury in mid-2013.
Having halted the race for nearly three and a half hours, wet weather conditions intervened again with a sudden soaking shower, leaving the field to scramble for top finishing spots. Five-time Bristol Motor Speedway winner Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, earned his fourth consecutive top-10 finish of 2014 with a seventh-place spot at the ‘World Fastest Half-Mile’. This marks the first time in Gordon’s 23-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career he has started the season with four top-10 finishes. Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate and 2013 Bristol winner Kasey Kahne, piloted his No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS to an eighth-place run. Rookie-of-the-Year contender, Kyle Larson, drove the No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS to a 10th place finish and impressed many onlookers with his solid run at the difficult short-track.
Carl Edwards (Ford) was the race winner, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (Ford) was second, Aric Almirola (Ford) was third and Marcos Ambrose (Ford) was fifth to round out the top-five.
The series travels back to the West Coast to take on Auto Club Speedway on Sunday March 23rd.
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 4TH
ON HIS RUN:
“It was great. To start 37th and end up fourth today, I’m pretty excited about that. I’m really excited for Chad Johnson and everybody on the Mobil 1/Bass Pro team. Everybody just worked hard all weekend. We had a long way to go from Friday, when we weren’t very good and every day we just got better and better. So, I’m really proud of this team.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL?
“I feel great! Let’s do it again!” (laughter)
I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FINAL CAUTION WAS FOR, BUT A GREAT RUN FOR YOUR TEAM TONIGHT:
“Well I think the end result of it was going to be the same. Man really proud of Chad Johnston and everybody on this Bass Pro/Mobil 1 Chevy team, awesome job, Rush Truck Centers, Code 3 and Associates. It’s not a win, I know that, but it feels like a win.”
HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS THE NIGHT? “I think we will take that. Come to Bristol and run 500 laps here and a top five that is just what the doctor ordered.”
I KNOW IN YOUR MIND A COMEBACK ISN’T COMPLETE YET. THIS HAS TO BE A BIT OF A RELIEF: “Yeah it’s a step in the right direction for sure. This is a big one. If you come out of this place with a top-five you’ve had a good day. Track position was big like it always is here. We were pretty strong at the end we just couldn’t run those guys down in front of us. Carl (Edwards) was obviously really strong at the end. Happy with the day that we had.”
TALK ABOUT MAKING YOUR WAY UP THROUGH THE FIELD YOU HAD A LONG WAY TO GO: “Us and Brian Vickers both. We started 37th and 38th and ended up 4th and 9th I would say we both had really good days. It’s not impossible to do it, but you have got to think through your way. We stayed around the top 15 all day. We had a really good car, very balanced and very driveable. Chad just kept working on it all day and making it better for us.”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE ENTIRE TEAM? “Obviously it wasn’t the day we wanted for our teammates. It is something I needed for sure. Obviously for Chad and I to work together for the first time for four or five races into the season be able to get a top five at Bristol that is pretty big for us.”
HOW MUCH WAS A TEST FOR YOU PHYSICALLY? “It’s big. I mean this is a physical place. If you look at the lap times we were running mid 15 second laps around here all day it is no walk in the park by any means.”
LOTS OF THREE WIDE RACING OUT THERE TONIGHT: “It’s pretty cool. When leaders caught traffic you had to make holes. We saw that yesterday in the Nationwide race and knew it was probably going to be the same today. The closing rates weren’t quite as big, but if people don’t like the racing here tonight I don’t know what they want. Unless they just want a wreck fest I thought the racing was pretty good. Like I said you run mid 15 second laps on a half mile track and run three wide that is pretty impressive.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 8TH
GOOD FINISH ANOTHER TOP 10 YOU GUYS BATTLED BACK AFTER THAT PIT ROAD INCIDENT TELL US ABOUT YOUR NIGHT: “Yeah we did. It was a great battle by this Axalta Chevrolet. The whole team did an awesome job. We had a really good race car at different times throughout the night. It’s crazy when we went back racing after the rain delay we just completely wore out the left-front tire in just like 20 or 30 laps. I mean we were going backwards in a hurry. Thankfully for that competition caution, but we fixed that and got the car better. Drove up into the top five, I was pretty happy. The car came up through there so good on four tires that we decided to put four more on. The restart just didn’t go the way I needed it to and we never got up through there again.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS - FINISHED 10TH:
ON HIS RUN:
"We had a really good run today. Started off the race in 20th and got to the top 10 pretty easily there in the beginning, and then pretty much stayed in the top 10 for the whole race and inched our way up to the front. Ran in second and third for a long time. Our Target Chevy was great in the middle part of the race. I just think we didn't keep up with it enough the last two pit stops. May have made a bad pit call there at the end also to come in for two. Just got a little bit too tight there in the center and ended up 10th.
"It's crazy to think it's kind of a disappointing finish for the way we ran for most of the race, but all in all it was a good race. It was a lot of fun racing with Austin Dillon there at the end. We must have ran side by side or so for the last 20 laps. I definitely had to got up on the wheel and get the elbows up and try not to make any mistakes.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 18TH
ON HER RUN:
“The GoDaddy guys worked hard all weekend. We had to go to a back-up car just four laps into practice, so I appreciate the effort of Tony Gibson and the guys. It was a tough weekend, so to come out of here with 18th, I’ll take it. It was an eventful night. The 26 (Cole Whitt) wasn’t clear and got into us and so we had some damage. Then I lost 1st and 2nd gear and then finally 3rd gear, so the last 100 or 200 laps I only had fourth gear. That’s why I hit Clint (Bowyer) in the pits. It wouldn’t go, so I dipped the clutch and got sideways and when it was about to spin around, I lifted, it caught and then it went straight and it wouldn’t stop. So I hit him. I apologized to his crew after the race. And then it was like yellow after yellow and if there was any day I didn’t want yellows, it’s today because I didn’t have any gears. We survived and got a decent finish out of it. Gibson made good calls all night and hopefully we can build on this going to Fontana.”