Driver of Mobil 1 Chevy Earns Third Top-20 in Last Four Races
Date: July 19, 2015
Event: New Hampshire 301 (Round 19 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (1.058-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 25th/20th (Running, completed 301 of 301 laps)
Point Standing: 26th (366 points, 134 out of 16th)
Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Tony Stewart put forth a workmanlike performance Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon to finish 20th in the New Hampshire 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Stewart started the 301-lap race around the 1.058-mile oval from 25th in the 43-car field. His No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS was good off the track’s long, flat corners, but it struggled through the center of the corners.
“Tight” is how Stewart described his car through the middle-third of the corner, and despite numerous track bar and wedge adjustments throughout the race, balancing the car’s handling proved elusive. This was especially true in traffic, where Stewart remarked on lap 98 that “it feels like the nose is up in the air and it chatters the tires.”
Twice Stewart lost a lap to the leaders, but each time he tenaciously battled back to grab his eighth top-20 this season and his third in the last four races.
His fellow Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammates also worked hard for their results in New Hampshire.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, led SHR by finishing third. It was Harvick’s seventh top-five in 29 career Sprint Cup starts at New Hampshire and his 13th top-five this season. He also led 59 laps to bring his season total to 1,284 laps led. Harvick has only led more laps than that in a single season once – in 2014 when he led 2,137 laps en route to the Sprint Cup championship. Harvick has led a lap in 15 of the 19 Sprint Cup races contested in 2015.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 10th to earn his 12th top-10 in 29 career Sprint Cup starts at New Hampshire and his 11th top-10 this season.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 24th. It was her 13th top-25 of the year.
Kyle Busch won the New Hampshire 301 to score his 32nd career Sprint Cup victory, his third this season and his second at New Hampshire.
Brad Keselowski finished second, while Harvick, Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five. Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Austin Dillon, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were seven caution periods for 34 laps, with only one driver failing to finish.
With round 19 of 36 complete, Harvick leads SHR in the championship point standings. He is first with 734 points, 69 ahead of second-place Logano. Busch is eighth with 576 points, 158 out of first. With two wins apiece, Harvick and Busch are locked into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Patrick is 22nd with 416 points, 84 out of 16th, the cutoff position to make the 16-driver Chase field on points. Stewart is 26th with 366 points, 134 out of 16th.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Jeff Kyle 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 26. The 22nd running of the event begins at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC Sports Network.