#20 HOME DEPOT RACE TEAM PEPSI 400 Michigan Speedway - 2-mile oval Race 22 of 34 - NASCAR Winston Cup Series August 20-22, 1999 Race time: Sunday August 22, 1999 Live television coverage: ESPN, Live radio coverage: MRN
Home Depot driver Tony Stewart returns to Michigan Speedway for the second time this season after finishing sixth last Sunday in his first road-course race at Watkins Glen International.
After qualifying 28th at the Michigan race in June, Stewart got together with Geoffrey Bodine on lap 8, and heavily damaged the right front fender of the #20 Home Depot Pontiac. The crew tried to repair the damage as well as possible on each green flag stop, but the aerodynamics was substantially compromised. Stewart went on to finish 9th in the caution-free race.
With 13 races left in the season, Stewart heads to Michigan sixth in the point standings. In 21 starts, Stewart has put the #20 Home Depot Pontiac in the top five five times and has recorded a top-10 finish in thirteen races. Already, Stewart has turned in more top-five finishes than either Jeff Gordon or Dale Earnhardt did at the same point in their rookie campaigns. If Stewart continues on this path through the end of the season, he will become the first rookie since Jody Ridley in 1980 to finish in the top ten.
Tony Stewart, Driver -- (Sixth in standings with 2,861 points) On Rookie Season "In January, if someone had told me that I'd be sixth in the points 21 races into the season, I'd have said they were crazy. We just wanted to make each race and finish as many laps as possible. Everything else has been a bonus this year."
On Returning to Michigan: "I'm looking forward to returning to Michigan Speedway. My rookie season is going by fast and there's a certain comfort zone returning to tracks for the second time.
We didn't qualify the #20 Home Depot Pontiac well there in June. We started at the rear (started 28th) but we did have a good race set-up and ended up with a top-10. This time around, we'll be looking to turn in a good qualifying run; we want to improve our starting position.
On Last Week's Debut Run at The Glen: "Greg (Zipadelli, crew chief) made a good call to get us caught back up after the fuel can got stuck in the drybrake filler. We're making gains on our pit stops, but we still have some room to improve. And I've still got room to improve. I made a mistake trying to get back up through the field and had to stop in the inner loop, so I probably gave up 14 or 15 spots there. Greg probably made up the most gains of the day when he called the stop at the end for fuel and we were able to maintain until the end.