No riches for Stewart at Richmond. HENRICO COUNTY, Va., (Sept. 6, 2003) - Tony Stewart's week began with his first career ARCA win at the one-mile, dirt oval of the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds on Monday, and on Thursday he scored his ...
No riches for Stewart at Richmond.
HENRICO COUNTY, Va., (Sept. 6, 2003) - Tony Stewart's week began with his first career ARCA win at the one-mile, dirt oval of the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds on Monday, and on Thursday he scored his second straight NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win at the .750-mile, paved oval of Richmond International Raceway.
His third race in six days came Saturday night in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Richmond, where Stewart's week-long run of success came to a screeching halt.
A spin courtesy of Jeff Burton sent Stewart's #20 Home Depot Chevrolet backward into the turn three wall on lap 129. Stewart was running ninth at the time, with his sights on getting even more with over 270 laps remaining in the 400-lap contest. But the damage accrued from the hit drastically altered the #20 car's handling characteristics, and Stewart - a three-time Winston Cup winner at Richmond - was a shadow of his former self, struggling home to a 27th place finish.
It was a disappointing result to what had been a high-performing week, with Stewart dropping out of the top-10 in the championship point standings. It was also a case of what might have been, as two drivers ahead of Stewart in points - Kurt Busch and Michael Waltrip - were having difficult evenings before Stewart encountered difficulties of his own. Instead of gaining precious ground with only 10 races remaining, Stewart lost ground. He fell to 11th in points, 61 markers out of the top-10 and 253 digits out of the top-five.
Winning the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 was sophomore driver Ryan Newman, who increased his 2003 win total to six - two more than any other driver on the circuit. Finishing second was Jeremy Mayfield, while Ricky Rudd, Burton and Rusty Wallace rounded out the top-five.
Overshadowing Newman's win was the post-race contretemps between Kevin Harvick and Ricky Rudd, and then escalating when the crews of Harvick and Rudd became involved. The racing equivalent of a bench-clearing brawl started when Harvick, who was running second with seven laps to go, was spun out by Rudd. And when the checkered flag waved, 16th place finisher Harvick drove not to the garage area but to pit road, where third-place Rudd was unbuckling from his race car. The two exchanged words, and then crewman from the respective teams intervened, creating a mob-like stetting. Clearly perturbed by the very public disturbance, NASCAR called both drivers, crew chiefs, owners and crew members to the Big Red Truck. Penalties for the incident are expected to be announced Monday.
The next event on the Winston Cup schedule is the Sept. 14 Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon. Live coverage by TNT begins at 1 p.m. EDT.