Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Driver Battles Ill-Handling Car to 25th-Place Finish
Date: April 26, 2014
Event: Richmond 400 (Round 9 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (.75-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 20th/25th (Running, completed 399 of 400 laps)
Point Standing: 15th (243 points, 98 out of first)
Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
With three wins, four second-place finishes, 11 top-fives and 19 top-10s in 30 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Tony Stewart has high expectations anytime he visits the .75-mile oval. That’s why after battling an ill-handling racecar throughout Saturday night’s Richmond 400, Stewart was none too pleased with his 25th-place finish.
In posting the second-quickest time in Friday’s final practice session, Stewart and his Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 team of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) felt confident of their chances going into Saturday night’s 400-lap contest.
But from the onset of the race, Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet SS proved fitful.
“Tight, middle (of the corner) off.”
“Need forward bite.”
“Need to cut the center of the corner.”
“Loose in, tight in the middle, loose off.”
All were constant refrains from Stewart over the radio throughout the 3-hour, 12-minute race.
Despite numerous and, oftentimes, massive adjustments by crew chief Chad Johnston to the Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevy, its handling remained wicked. When the checkered flag mercifully dropped, Stewart was one lap down in 25th.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet SS, led the four-car SHR contingent at Richmond by finishing 11th. He started fifth and led twice for 23 laps.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 21st and finished 23rd.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 35th and finished 34th.
Joey Logano won the Richmond 400 to score his fifth career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his first at Richmond.
Jeff Gordon finished .946 of a second behind Logano in the runner-up spot, while Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five. A.J. Allmendinger, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr., comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were nine caution periods for 66 laps, with three drivers failing to finish.
With round nine of 36 complete, Stewart leads SHR in the championship point standings. He is 15th with 243 points, 98 behind first-place Gordon. Harvick is 20th with 220 points, 121 out of first. Kurt Busch is 25th with 185 points, 156 out of first. Patrick is 29th with 153 points, 188 out of first.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Aaron’s 499 on Sunday, May 4 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its prerace show at 12:30 p.m.