Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Driver Finishes 30th at New Hampshire
Date: Sept. 21, 2014
Event: Sylvania 300 (Round 28 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (1.058-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 28th/30th (Running, completed 301 of 303 laps)
Point Standing: 26th with 609 points
Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske in a green-white-checkered finish (Ford)
Tony Stewart endured an uncharacteristic outing Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, finishing 30th in the Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), experienced an off weekend at the 1.058-mile oval. He qualified 28th on Friday, endured a spin in final practice on Saturday and struggled with an ill-handling racecar throughout Sunday.
It was a rare happening, for Stewart’s Sprint Cup record at New Hampshire is incredibly strong with three wins, 10 top-threes, 14 top-fives, 18 top-10s and a total of 1,302 laps led in 30 career starts.
Stewart went a lap down to the leaders on lap 93, and he described the feeling of his car as being two separate racecars, with the front half totally different from the back half.
Stewart wound up getting spun off turn four on lap 299, and that set up a green-white-checkered finish which extended the race three laps past its scheduled 300-lap distance. Stewart was forced to pit prior to the final restart to replace his flat-spotted tires, but he returned to finish the race, albeit two laps down.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was Stewart’s SHR teammate, Kevin Harvick. Harvick started third in his No. 4 Budweiser Designate a Driver Chevrolet SS and led three times for a race-high 104 laps before finishing third. It was Harvick’s 10th top-five of 2014 and his sixth top-five in 28 career Sprint Cup starts at New Hampshire.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 19th to earn her fourth straight top-20 result.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet for SHR, finished 36th after a flat right-front tire sent him hard into the turn one wall on lap 223. Busch was unhurt and the team was able to repair his racecar. He returned to the racetrack, but was 35 laps down.
Harvick and Busch are representing SHR in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and they entered the second race of the 10-race Chase ranked fourth and ninth, respectively, among the 16 Chase drivers. Harvick leaves New Hampshire in third, seven points behind Chase leader Brad Keselowski. Busch leaves New Hampshire in 15th, 50 points out of first.
Joey Logano won the Sylvania 300 to score his seventh career Sprint Cup victory, his fourth of the season and his second at New Hampshire.
Rookie Kyle Larson finished 1.15 seconds behind Logano in the runner-up spot, while Harvick, Jamie McMurray and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top-five. Aric Almirola, Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brian Vickers comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were 15 caution periods for 63 laps, with three drivers failing to finish.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule – the third race of the 10-race Chase – is the AAA 400 on Sept. 28 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The race begins at 2 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with a pre-race show at 1 p.m.