Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Driver Finishes 42nd After Early Accident

Date:  Nov. 8, 2015

Event:  AAA Texas 500 (Round 34 of 36)

Series:  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Location:  Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)

Start/Finish:  22nd /42nd (Accident, completed 52 of 334 laps)

Point Standing:  27th with 663 points

Winner:  Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet) 

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished 42nd in the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. An early-race accident caused substantial damage to the No. 14 Chevy and forced the team to call it a day after just 52 laps of the 334-lap contest around the 1.5-mile oval. 

Stewart had just cracked the top-20 when the competition caution was displayed on lap 25. After reporting that he needed more rear grip, the team made a chassis adjustment, changed four tires and added fuel. Quick pit work placed the three-time Sprint Cup champion in 16th-place for the lap-29 restart.  

While Stewart was busy working his way to the front, the issue of tire wear became a topic of concern for crews up and down pit road. A handful of teams were experiencing problems – some extensive enough to send cars to the garage for repairs after tires deflated and came apart, tearing away fenders and crush panels. 

The No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 team however, ran into a problem of a different sort on lap 53 when Stewart got loose off turn four and spun through the infield grass. 

The grass was saturated from heavy rains leading into the race weekend, and the nose of the Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy dug into the dirt, ripping apart the front end. After a quick review of the damage on pit road, crew chief Chad Johnston sent Stewart to the garage where the team determined the car was beyond repair. The result was Stewart’s first finish outside the top-35 in 27 career Sprint Cup starts at Texas. 

Having a much better day was Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for SHR. Harvick led twice for 11 laps before finishing third. It was his 21st top-five this season and his sixth top-five in 26 career Sprint Cup starts at Texas. 

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished seventh. It was his 19th top-10 this season and his 14th top-10 in 26 career Sprint Cup starts at Texas.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 16th. 

Jimmie Johnson won the AAA Texas 500 to score his 75th career Sprint Cup victory, his fifth of the season and his sixth at Texas.

After leading 312 laps, Brad Keselowski finished 1.082 seconds behind Johnson in the runner-up spot. Harvick, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were nine caution periods for 47 laps, with four drivers failing to finish the 334-lap race. 

As the eighth race in the 10-race Chase, Texas served as the second race in the Eliminator Round. The original, 16-driver Chase field was whittled down to 12 following the Oct. 4 race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway for the Contender Round. The next cutoff race came Oct. 25 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, whereupon the Chase field shrank to eight for the Eliminator Round. The next cutoff race comes Nov. 15 at Phoenix International Raceway, where only four drivers will advance to the final, winner-take-all Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Harvick and Busch continue to represent SHR in the Chase. Harvick leaves Texas third in points with a 10-point cushion over the cutoff spot. Busch leaves Texas in seventh, 28 points outside of the top-four.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Nov. 15 Phoenix 500k at Phoenix International Raceway. The penultimate race of the 2015 Sprint Cup season starts at 2:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC.