STEWART GOES FROM PRINCE TO PAUPER AT KANSAS Second Straight Kansas Win Goes Up in Smoke with Late-Race Crash With heavy rains, along with thunder and lightning, pelting Kansas Speedway, Tony Stewart appeared to have his 33rd career NASCAR ...
STEWART GOES FROM PRINCE TO PAUPER AT KANSAS
Second Straight Kansas Win Goes Up in Smoke with Late-Race Crash
With heavy rains, along with thunder and lightning, pelting Kansas Speedway, Tony Stewart appeared to have his 33rd career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory and his fourth win of the season locked up in Sunday's LifeLock 400.
The driver of the No. 20 Home Depot/Ryobi Lithium Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) was in the lead when a downpour well past the original halfway mark of the race forced NASCAR officials to wave the red flag and halt the event, which was originally scheduled for 267 laps.
Stewart had come from his 19th-place starting position to lead three times for 13 laps, and appeared ready to log his first win in the 10-race Chase for the Nextel Cup and take a substantial lead in the championship standings. But after an almost two-and-a-half hour effort to dry the 1.5-mile oval, the race was restarted and what Stewart once thought was his was now fair game for the race's other contenders.
Before the restart, Stewart pitted for tires and fuel and held onto the lead as other drivers followed his strategy.
But when a multi-car accident on lap 157 stacked up cars off turn two, Stewart had to get on the brakes hard to avoid getting collected in the crash. Stewart was able to dive low to escape most of the carnage, but not without some damage to the left-front corner of the No. 20 machine.
As the field rode around under caution, the damage appeared cosmetic, and with track position at a premium, Stewart stayed on the race track.
But once the race went back to green and Stewart returned to speed, the damage to the left front fender proved troublesome, as the crinkled fender rubbed against the tire each time Stewart dove into the corners.
On lap 175, the tire deflated, and while Stewart waved to the drivers behind him that he was slowing, it wasn't enough. Kurt Busch came upon Stewart quickly and wasn't able to maneuver away from the stricken No. 20. The bumper of Busch's Dodge made contact with the rear of Stewart's car, sending Stewart sideways into the SAFER barrier on the outside retaining wall. The Home Depot Chevrolet then slid down the apron and into the path of fellow Chase driver Carl Edwards.
Stewart was unhurt, but the car was done for the day with heavy rear-end damage. The accident also impacted Stewart's standing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. He dropped two spots to fourth and is now 117 points behind new series leader Jimmie Johnson and nine points ahead of fifth-place Kevin Harvick.
Stewart's JGR teammates -- J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin -- finished 14th and 29th, respectively. The race was shortened to 210 laps due to darkness.