Black Magic Spin Sends Stewart from First to 37th at New Hampshire's Magic Mile Tony Stewart began Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon in much the same fashion he's always run at the...
Spin Sends Stewart from First to 37th at New Hampshire's Magic Mile
Tony Stewart began Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon in much the same fashion he's always run at the 1.058-mile oval - out front.
The driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing started fifth and was in the lead by lap 63 of the 308-lap race. And with two Nextel Cup wins at New Hampshire's Magic Mile already on his resume, Stewart appeared poised to land a third.
But a bump from the No. 12 Dodge of Ryan Newman on lap 91 of the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 sent Stewart spinning into the turn three wall.
"The 12 car just took us out," said Stewart, whose 37th place finish overshadowed his 28 laps led. "All I did was race him the same way he races us and he wrecks us. I don't even think he tried to make the corner."
Heavy damage to the front of his orange and black Chevrolet sent Stewart to the garage. There, crew members worked furiously to make repairs and get Stewart back onto the track to salvage as many points as possible.
Twenty-three laps later, Stewart returned to action, a distant 42nd in the 43-car field.
"We're starting to learn to race him like he races us," said Stewart regarding Newman. "He doesn't give anybody a break, so I wasn't about to give him a break.
"Everybody races each other differently. And there are guys who are really good at give and take and there are guys that aren't. Ryan is one of those guys who is not good at the giving part. He's really good at taking, but he's not very good at giving. We're racing everybody the way they race us and most of the guys get it, but there are a couple of them who don't.
"After a while, you finally get tired of giving guys spots and them not doing the same thing. You watch Ryan at the beginning of the race holding the No. 2 car (Kurt Busch) up. We just bullied our way by him but never touched him. We did what we had to do to get by him.
"It's frustrating, but there's nothing we can do about it. We have a great group of guys here who did everything they could to get us back out there to do what we could."
The two-time and defending Nextel Cup champion picked up a handful of positions by soldiering on, as engine problems for Dale Earnhardt Jr., a broken oil pump for Stanton Barrett and separate crashes by Kenny Wallace, Joe Nemechek, Kurt Busch and Newman, fittingly, allowed Stewart to gain five spots to finish 37th.
While the result did drop Stewart outside of the top-10 in points for the first time since he was 12th at Atlanta 15 races ago, the team's tenacity allowed Stewart to remain within shouting distance of the top-10. He currently sits 11th, just 11 points behind 10th place Greg Biffle and 458 markers arrears series leader Jimmie Johnson.
Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates - Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley - sit 12th and 27th, respectively, in points. Both drivers maintained their point positions with solid runs at New Hampshire. Hamlin finished sixth to log his seventh top-10 of the season and J.J. Yeley finished 12th to back up the top-10 effort he posted last Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Kyle Busch scored his third career Nextel Cup victory and his first of the season by winning the Lenox Industrial Tools 300. Carl Edwards finished second, while Biffle, Mark Martin and Kevin Harvick secured the rest of the top-five. Hamlin, Jeff Burton, Kasey Kahne, Johnson and Scott Riggs comprised the remainder of the top-10.
The next event on the Nextel Cup schedule is the July 23 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race begins at 2:05 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by TNT.