TYPICAL TALLADEGA Late Race Accident Kicks Stewart from Top-10 to 28th Tony Stewart came into Sunday's Aaron's 499 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway intent on getting his first win of the season and his first win at...
Late Race Accident Kicks Stewart from Top-10 to 28th
Tony Stewart came into Sunday's Aaron's 499 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway intent on getting his first win of the season and his first win at the restrictor-plate venue where he's finished second six times. But before Stewart could even mount a charge to the front in the last two laps of a green-white-checkered finish, Stewart went from eighth to 28th when his No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet was sent into the wall after getting nudged by the No. 26 Ford of Jamie McMurray.
"I was trying to get down in front of the 38 and I couldn't," said McMurray, referring to David Gilliland's No. 38 Ford. "He kind of squeezed me up and then the 20 was on the outside, and when you have a green-white-checker you just have to go. I didn't think the 38 was going to shoot me up so far, but I ended up getting into the 20. I was trying to stay between him and the 38 and the 38 kept coming and we got together."
Stewart's impact with the wall made his once potent Home Depot Chevrolet undriveable. The two-time Nextel Cup champion climbed from the car unhurt and boarded a nearby ambulance for the mandatory trip to the infield care center. He was treated and released.
"We just got crashed," Stewart said. "It's frustrating. You work all day, and you go from the front to the back a couple of times, and you put yourself in a position to get a good finish there at the end, and instead you end up wrecked."
The premature end to Stewart's Talladega run marked his second DNF (Did Not Finish) of the 2007 season. The other DNF came at Talladega's sister track -- Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway -- where in the season-opening Daytona 500 Stewart was crashed with 50 laps to go after leading twice for 35 laps.
Despite the disappointing result, Stewart actually gained one position in the championship point standings. The Columbus, Ind., native is now sixth in points, 443 markers arrears series leader Jeff Gordon.
Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates -- J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin -- finished 19th and 21st, respectively, in the Aaron's 499. Hamlin held steady at fifth in points, while Yeley gained one spot to rise to 21st.