Early Exit for Stewart at Pocono Home Depot Driver Finishes 35th After Mid-Race Accident LONG POND, Pa., (Aug. 1, 2004) - Tony Stewart suffered his first DNF (Did Not Finish) of the season in Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series...
Early Exit for Stewart at Pocono
Home Depot Driver Finishes 35th After Mid-Race Accident
LONG POND, Pa., (Aug. 1, 2004) - Tony Stewart suffered his first DNF (Did Not Finish) of the season in Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway when he crashed on lap 108 while racing for position with Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne.
Sandwiched between the two while negotiating Pocono's infamous tunnel turn, Stewart's #20 Home Depot Chevrolet got loose and nosed hard into the outside retaining wall. The car rolled backward - just missing a line of oncoming traffic - and came to rest in the infield.
"We just got real loose," said Stewart, whose last DNF came at Pocono last July, 36 races ago. "We had Kasey Kahne on the outside of us and Kurt Busch on the inside of us. I beat both of them in the corner and cleared both of them. Then they both got runs on me - one on the inside of me and one on the outside of me. I just got loose up off the corner, spun and crashed."
Extensive damage to the car's right front corner ended any chance of Stewart returning to the race. As a result, Stewart dropped one spot in the championship standings to fifth, 434 points behind series leader Jimmie Johnson.
It was an unceremonious end to what had been a decent run for Stewart, despite dealing with an ill-handling race car.
He had run in the top-10 for the first half of the 200-lap race, but dropped to as low as 17th following a lap 104 restart. During the preceding caution, crew chief Greg Zipadelli made extensive wedge and air pressure adjustments while crewman changed tires and added fuel to The Home Depot Chevrolet. While the stop was extended by just a few seconds, the time spent on pit road would hopefully prove worthwhile during the second half of the race. But four laps later, Stewart's day was over.
Winning the Pennsylvania 500 was Johnson, who made a clean sweep of Pocono by winning the Nextel Cup race held at the 2.5-mile oval back in June. It was his fourth victory of the season and the 10th of his career. Finishing second was Mark Martin, while Kahne rebounded well from his dustup with Stewart and Busch to finish third. Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon rounded-out the rest of the top-five, while the remainder of the top-10 comprised of Terry Labonte, Robby Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Jeremy Mayfield and Elliott Sadler.
The next event on the Nextel Cup schedule is the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Live coverage by NBC begins at 2:30 p.m. EDT.