Tony Stewart News

Read what's happening with Tony Stewart and the Stewart-Haas Team.

Kentucky 400 Qualifying

Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, led the three-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Friday at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta by qualifying seventh for the Kentucky 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night. Newman turned a lap of 29.629 seconds at 182.254 mph around the 1.5-mile oval.

“I told my guys that catching a cloud wasn’t going to be good enough,” said Newman, who finished fourth in the inaugural Sprint Cup race at Kentucky in 2011. “I was impressed with the effort the guys made with the Quicken Loans Chevrolet. We picked up on it. Definitely feel that a little bit of cloud cover didn’t hurt us. We made some improvements and we beat a lot of cars that beat us in practice. We’ll keep working on it.”

 

Things That Go Bump In The Night

KANNAPOLIS, N.C., (June 26, 2013) – Ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties aren’t the only things that go bump in the night. Kentucky Speedway in Sparta also is home to things that go bump in the night, namely, 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers thundering over the bumps that cover the surface of the 1.5-mile oval.

All tracks have character – subtle undulations and grooves that set it apart from its counterparts. But Kentucky’s surface is the X-Games of paved tracks – edgy and in-your-face. There is no avoiding the bumps. Navigate them wrong, and they’ll make you a part of a spark-filled highlight reel.

 

Stewart’s Hot Streak Cools at Sonoma

Tony Stewart was headed toward a top-10 finish in a rough-and-tumble Toyota/SaveMart 350k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway until a run-in with Jeff Burton 18 laps from the finish. The collision in the treacherous turn 11 turned Stewart sideways and dropped him from ninth to 28th when the checkered flag waved.

“Just too many mistakes today,” said a subdued Stewart after completing all 110 laps around the 1.99-mile road course.

The finish ended a strong streak for Stewart, the driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). He came into Sonoma with four straight top-10 finishes, including a win June 2 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, that vaulted him from 21st in the championship standings to 10th.

 

Toyota/SaveMart 350k Qualifying

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, led the three-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Saturday at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway by qualifying 11th for the Toyota/SaveMart 350k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. Stewart turned a lap of 76.010 seconds at 94.251 mph around the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course.

“We’re definitely getting better,” said Stewart, who is a two-time winner at Sonoma (2001 and 2005). “We’ve made gains each time we’ve been on the racetrack. And compared to where we’ve started in years past, we’re actually ahead of the game this year. Steve (Addington, crew chief) and the guys have worked really hard – here and at the shop – to bring a Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevy that we’ll be able to work with on Sunday.”

 

The Judgment of Sonoma

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – Sonoma, Calif., is a vigorous grape-producing countryside at the center of the state’s robust wine industry, considered by many to be the birthplace of wine-making in the Golden State. Together with neighboring Napa, Calif., they produce what is widely regarded as some of the world’s finest wines. Playing no small part in placing Northern California in its esteemed place in the field of wine production was the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, better known as the Judgment of Paris.

The Judgment of Paris was a blind wine tasting that pitted California’s best offerings against French wines, recognized by most of the world as untouchable, at least at the time. It wasn’t supposed to be a contest at all. California’s burgeoning wine makers were not supposed to be able to hold a candle to the superlative works of France’s finest, but those supercilious opinions couldn’t hold up in the field of play as California wines took first place in both red and white categories, laying the groundwork for the thriving industry that exists today.

 

Right Place, Right Time for Stewart at Michigan

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. But Tony Stewart was a little bit of both Sunday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, where he earned a hard-fought fifth-place finish in the Quicken Loans 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Driving a backup car, Stewart started 14th and overcame a weekend full of handling issues in the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) to score his 12th top-five in 29 career Sprint Cup starts at the 2-mile oval.

“I think we definitely got a lot of luck there at the end, but we’ll definitely take it because we haven’t had much to this point in the year,” said Stewart, the 2000 winner of the June race at Michigan. “A caution came out at the right time, and we got a good restart. Two of the guys ahead of us – one had fuel trouble and one had a tire issue – so we got some breaks going our way today. It was a good weekend for me (after) putting us in a hole as far as I did on Friday crashing our primary car. But I’m proud of these guys, and I’m definitely proud of the effort this week. I thought our guys did a good job.” 

 

Quicken Loans 400 Qualifying

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, led the three-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Friday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn by qualifying 14th for the Quicken Loans 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. Stewart turned a lap of 36.038 seconds at 199.789 mph around the 2-mile oval.

Stewart was forced to qualify his backup car after he crashed his primary car minutes into the opening practice. “I needed help in (turns) one and two on the first lap and then three and four on the second lap, but considering the hole I put us in to start the day, I’m pretty happy with that,” said Stewart, who won at Michigan in June 2000. “The guys on this Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet team busted their butts today and I’m really proud of the effort everyone gave to get the backup car ready. I think we’re in pretty good shape for the rest of the weekend.”

 

Statements from Stewart-Haas Racing Drivers Regarding the Passing of Jason Leffler

KANNAPOLIS, N.C., (June 17, 2013) – The following are statements from Stewart-Haas Racing drivers Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick regarding the passing of fellow racecar driver Jason Leffler. 

 

Playing for the Home Team(s)

KANNAPOLIS, N.C., (June 12, 2013) – Home court. Home turf. Home field. All are terms used when explaining the psychological advantage that exists for home teams competing in traditional stick-and-ball sports. It’s a theory that doesn’t usually apply to teams competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. 

But the Quicken Loans 400 on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn will be pretty close to a home game for Tony Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). And given the roll the team is on, a little “home track” advantage may be just the perfect boost to keep the energy going.

 

Stewart’s Roll Continues Through Pocono

Tony Stewart may get down, but he should never be counted out. Stewart, the driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), delivered that message last week with a victory at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and then backed it up Sunday with an impressive fourth-place effort in the Party in the Poconos 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. 

Stewart started 19th in the 43-car field Sunday and made an impressive save after a late-race run-in with Brad Keselowski to bounce back for his third top-10 in as many races. 

 

Party in the Poconos 400 Qualifying

Rain canceled today’s qualifying session for the Party in the Poconos 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Because teams did not practice Friday, the 43-car field for Sunday’s 160-lap race was set by current owner points per the NASCAR rulebook. 

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), will start 19th. His teammate, Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, will start 23rd. Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, will start 30th. 

 

Timing is Everything

KANNAPOLIS, N.C., (June 5, 2013) – Timing is everything. It’s a simple proverb that in NASCAR is an inherent truth. Perhaps no one knows this better than Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).

The three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion earned his third title in 2011 because his timing was impeccable. Five wins in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup propelled Stewart from ninth when the Chase started to first when it ended. Winless in the 26 races prior to the Chase, Stewart found his groove when it mattered most.

Last Sunday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, Stewart again displayed his knack for timing.

In the 12 Sprint Cup races prior to Dover, Stewart had only two top-10s with a season-best finish of seventh the race before at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. He was mired an uncharacteristic 20th in points, and with Dover serving as Round No. 13 on the 36-race schedule, conventional wisdom said that Stewart was in for more frustration. In his last five races at Dover, Stewart’s best finish was 20th.

But with 12 laps to go in the 400-lap race around the mile-long, concrete oval, Stewart was in second place, reeling in leader Juan Pablo Montoya. On lap 398, Stewart passed the former Formula 1 race winner and drove off to his 48th career Sprint Cup win and his third at Dover, extending his streak of winning at least one race in each of his 15 years in Sprint Cup – the longest such streak among active drivers.

The victory vaulted Stewart to 16th in the championship standings, placing him only 33 points outside the top-10. And as the only driver between 11th and 20th in points with a victory, Stewart is on track to make the 12-driver Chase because he currently holds the first of two wild card spots awarded to a race winner outside the top-10 but among the top-20 in points.

Stewart’s win at Dover reminded everyone he’s still a threat to win no matter the circumstances. It was also a reminder that summer has begun. Of Stewart’s 48 career Sprint Cup victories, only six have come before June.

Now Pocono (Pa.) Raceway is next up for Stewart, a track where he has won twice, each time in June (2003 and 2009).

The 2.5-mile triangular layout is aptly called the “Tricky Triangle”. It’s proven troublesome for some, but not for Stewart, who came to NASCAR from the open-wheel ranks of USAC and the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Designed by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rodger Ward, Pocono is unlike any other track in the world, and it’s a throwback to Indy car venues of old. Its three different corners are each modeled after a different track. Turn one, which is banked at 14 degrees, is modeled after the now-closed Trenton (N.J.) Speedway. Turn two, banked at eight degrees, is a nod to the turns at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And turn three, banked at six degrees, is modeled after the corners at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis.

While the track is relatively flat, Stewart’s statistics at Pocono are not. In addition to his two wins, he has two poles, 11 top-fives, 20 top-10s and has led 156 laps. In 28 career Sprint Cup starts at Pocono, Stewart’s average start is 12.4 and his average finish is 11.3. He consistently ranks among the top-five in NASCAR loop data statistics and has the fifth-best overall driver rating at Pocono (98.6). In the last 16 races at Pocono, Stewart and Jimmie Johnson share the best average finishing position (9.4).

That Pocono, with its turn two and long straightaways, is akin to Indianapolis bodes well for Stewart. He’ll race his No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS at Indianapolis in July, and then return to Pocono in August for the series’ second visit to the “Tricky Triangle”. The two venues account for three of the 13 races before the Chase begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Stewart’s Pocono statistics have already been highlighted, and his Indianapolis numbers are just as robust: two wins in 14 starts, a pole and only two finishes outside the top-12.

As history has proven, Stewart’s timing is excellent. Coming into Pocono with back-to-back top-10s has put Stewart back into Chase contention. Just as summer is heating up, the race for the Chase is too. And like clockwork, so is Stewart.

TONY STEWART, Driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:

How big was last weekend’s win at Dover for you and the team?

“It’s big, and it definitely gives us some momentum. We got two weeks of momentum under our belts now at two totally different racetracks. That’s big, because momentum is huge in this sport. We still have a lot of work to do, but we won’t sit. I guarantee you none of these guys will tell you we’re exactly where we want to be right now. It’s a good reward for how hard they’ve been working to get that first win of the year. Now it’s trying to be more consistent and stay in the top-10 more and make our program better. It’s proof that no matter how bad it’s been this year, none of these guys have quit and given up, and I’m really proud of that fact.”

You tested at Pocono last week. What is the biggest difference you noticed with the track, given the new pavement has aged a year and that this is the first Pocono race with the sixth-generation (Gen-6) racecar?

“It’s probably lost some grip, but that will make for some better racing. You can see rubber getting into the racetrack, and that was with just a few laps around the track. To me, that’s very positive. The pace slowing down will make for better racing, for sure. The track surface really held up well over the winter. It didn’t shift a lot. It’s still smooth as glass.”

How much has the new pavement affected what works for you as a driver at Pocono?

“The thing about Pocono – it’s definitely unique. It’s got its own personality, but now that it’s been repaved and all the little nuances and tricks you learned when it was rougher and the tunnel turn was more aggressive – a lot of those things are gone. For us, we’re still learning it, or relearning it.” 

This will be Danica Patrick’s first race at Pocono. How do you see her doing and how much do you see her leaning on you and SHR teammate Ryan Newman for help?

“Now that it’s been repaved, it’s a good time for her to come in here. I think it’s a little more clear-cut what to do. This track – there’s parts of it you treat like a road course, and she’s got a huge road-racing background. She understands the concept of what it takes to have a good lap here and carry speed here. There may be things that we ask her before it’s all said and done that may help us as drivers. I think people underestimate how good she is right out of the box at tracks and how good she is at figuring out racetracks. We haven’t had to do a lot of coaching with her. Her input is as good as ours is right out of the box. Her feedback is so strong. You can tell right away that her mind is a sponge. She absorbs a lot of information very quickly. If we see something that is drastically wrong, you grab her and take her off to the side and talk to her. But you really don’t do a lot of that with her. She figures it out pretty quick.”

Winning by maximizing fuel mileage has been a theme at Pocono. Your win at Pocono four years ago came in a fuel-mileage race. Can you explain what you did to make sure you had enough fuel to go the distance while many of your competitors did not?

“I’ve lost a lot more races like that than I’ve won. It was between Carl (Edwards) and me. We were the strongest two cars at the end of the race and we were able to get the track position we needed. Our guys did a great job of getting us out of the pits in the lead and that gave us the opportunity to make Carl push harder in the beginning to get the lead. Once he went into that fuel conservation mode, we had to follow suit. To be in a situation where your speed is dictated off the guy behind you and not off of what you can do, it’s a different style of racing. It’s hard. It’s just as hard, if not tougher, than trying to run 100 percent.”

 

Stewart Does the Monster Mash at Dover

Victory lane was the last place Tony Stewart expected to end up when he strapped himself into his No. 14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for the FedEx 400 benefitting Autism Speaks NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

After all, winning from the 22nd spot on the starting grid in a racecar with which he’d struggled through practice and qualifying this weekend on a fierce, 1-mile concrete oval at which almost half (47) of the previous 86 Sprint Cup Series winners started no farther back than the front two rows, felt like nothing short of a monster task.

 

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