Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup -- Round 2: Dover On the rebound: Mayfield, Stewart try to forget New Hampshire misfortune Pardon the cliche, but Jeremy Mayfield and Tony Stewart were certainly in the wrong place at the wrong time this past ...
Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup -- Round 2: Dover
On the rebound: Mayfield, Stewart try to forget New Hampshire misfortune
Pardon the cliche, but Jeremy Mayfield and Tony Stewart were certainly in the wrong place at the wrong time this past Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway. Because of that, they find themselves in an unwanted place this week -- at the tail end of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings, looking at a sizable point deficit after only one week of the 10-race "Chase."
The cars driven by Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) and Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) were damaged in an early-race accident. Both cars returned, their drivers desperately trying to recoup some valuable track position. Stewart couldn't maintain the minimum speed mandated by NASCAR, and left the race for good after completing only 83 laps, relegating him to 39th place. Mayfield stayed out until the end and ended up 35th after completing 251 laps.
Going into Round 2 of the Chase this weekend at Dover International Speedway, Mayfield is 10th in the Chase standings, 142 points behind Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet) and New Hampshire race winner Kurt Busch (No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie Ford), who each have 5,210. (Earnhardt is the official leader this week, via NASCAR's tiebreak -- he has four victories this season compared to Busch's three.) Stewart, fourth going into Round 1, has fallen all the way to eighth place, 124 behind Earnhardt and Busch.
Neither deficit is insurmountable, but both are disconcerting, given the fact that going into Round 1, the Chase's format had reset the top-10 drivers' totals, making the difference between first and 10th only 45 points. Mayfield, ninth going into the Chase, lost 102 points on first place. Stewart lost 109 points on first.