Unscheduled Pit Stop for Flat Tire Thwarts Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Driver
Date: Oct. 11, 2015
Event: Bank of America 500 (Round 30 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 36th /26th (Running, completed 331 of 334 laps)
Point Standing: 25th with 599 points
Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
When the Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway was postponed from Saturday night to Sunday because of rain, Tony Stewart saw a silver lining. His No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) performed much better in the heat of the day than it did in the cool of night, and when Sunday yielded beautiful sunshine and temperatures in the low 70s, Stewart was optimistic heading into the 334-lap race around the 1.5-mile oval.
Despite starting 36th in the 43-car field, Stewart made steady progress. After 88 laps he had gained 10 positions despite a tight-handling racecar.
Running among the top-25, Stewart grazed the wall on lap 110 as he searched different lines on the racetrack that would better complement the handling of his Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy.
While the damage appeared cosmetic, Stewart radioed that he had a flat tire on lap 124. Forced to make an unscheduled pit stop under green-flag conditions, Stewart lost valuable track position. When the tires were taken off the car, it was confirmed that the right-rear tire was flat, but also that there was no tire rub. The cause of the flat tire was a puncture.
The stop put Stewart two laps down to the leaders, and he was mired in the turbulent air of the race traffic around him. Nonetheless, Stewart kept his focus and hustled the Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy up to 26th when the checkered flag dropped.
Kevin Harvick led the way for SHR Sunday at Charlotte by finishing second in the Bank of America 500. It was Harvick’s series-leading 11th second-place finish this season and his 14th top-two result in the 30 races run in 2015.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 State Water Heaters Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished fifth to score his 10th top-five of 2015 and his seventh top-five in 31 career Sprint Cup starts at Charlotte.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 19th to earn her 11th top-20 this season.
Joey Logano won the Bank of America 500 to score his 12th career Sprint Cup victory, his fourth of the season and his first at Charlotte.
Harvick finished .703 of a second behind Logano in the runner-up spot, while Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Busch rounded out the top-five. Carl Edwards, Austin Dillon, Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were nine caution periods for 44 laps, with five drivers failing to finish the 334-lap race.
As the fourth race in the 10-race Chase, Charlotte served as the first race in the Contender Round. The original, 16-driver Chase field was whittled down to 12 following last weekend’s race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Two more races will be run with the next cutoff coming after the Oct. 25 race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, whereupon the Chase field shrinks to eight for the Eliminator Round. Another three races will be run after that, where after the Nov. 15 race at Phoenix International Raceway, only four drivers will advance to the final, winner-take-all Championship Round Nov. 22 in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Harvick and Busch continue to represent SHR in this year’s Chase. Harvick leaves Charlotte second in points, six behind Chase leader Logano. Busch leaves Charlotte in fifth, nine points out of first.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Oct. 18 Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. The race starts at 2:15 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC.