Accident Ends Bass Pro Shops/Track Boats Chevrolet SS Driver’s Night
Date: May 21, 2016
Event: NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (non-points race)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 17th/20th (Accident, completed 70 of 113 laps)
Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished 20th in his 18th and final NASCAR Sprint All-Star race after hard contact ended his night Saturday at Charlotte (N.C) Motor Speedway.
Stewart’s bid to win his second All-Star race ended on lap 20 in the second 50-lap segment when Chase Elliott, in traffic, slowed on the track in turn four to enter the pits. The field attempted to avoid Elliott, but the result was a multicar accident that saw Stewart make hard contact with Kasey Kahne, destroying the No. 14.
Stewart was not injured but admitted he was angered, both by the accident and by the officiating that had him down a lap to the leaders at the beginning of the second segment.
“I got in a wreck – I mean, (Elliott) wrecked everybody and put everybody behind him in jeopardy, and we got caught on the outside of it,” Stewart said.” I shouldn’t have been back there in the first place. We couldn’t even get clarification after the pit stop as to where we were even supposed to be, and then we restarted and find out we’re a lap down, and it’s like, how did that happen? How did that happen?”
Stewart had started the race in 17th and quickly moved to 14th in the first 10 laps. A combination of handling issues, an untimely caution, a penalty to race leader Matt Kenseth and confusion during a pit stop sequence dropped him a lap down to the leaders. Eight of the 20 cars in the race began the second 50-lap segment a lap down.
Stewart and crew could not figure out why NASCAR scored the No. 14 a lap behind the leaders and made repeated inquiries to NASCAR. The ruling forced Stewart to race near the back of the field, where the accident occurred that ended his race.
Until the accident, it appeared it was going to be a memorable night for Stewart. Sprint named him the grand marshal for his final All-Star Race. He gave the command for drivers to start their engines from the driver’s seat of the No. 14. Rain cancelled qualifying earlier in the evening, so NASCAR set the lineup for the first 50-lap segment based on owner points, positioning the No. 14 in 17th.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet SS, led the way for SHR Saturday night by finishing fifth in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. It was Busch’s seventh top-five finish in 16 career All-Star Races.
The 32nd annual non-points race featured drivers who met one of the following requirements:
•Won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in 2015 or 2016.
•Is a past All-Star Race winner who is a full-time Sprint Cup competitor.
•Is a Sprint Cup champion who is a full-time Sprint Cup competitor.
•Won the first segment of the Sprint Showdown.
•Won the second segment of the Sprint Showdown.
•Won the third segment of the Sprint Showdown.
•Placed first or second in the Sprint Fan Vote.
The 113-lap race around the 1.5-mile oval was broken up into three segments, including two 50-lap segments and a 13-lap final segment, and featured a 20-driver field.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 11th after leading 21 laps.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 15th. The effort marked Patrick’s best-ever finish in the All-Star Race. Patrick earned her way into the All-Star Race by winning the Sprint Fan Vote.
Joey Logano won the All-Star Race to earn his first victory in six career All-Star Races. His previous best finish was second in 2013.
Brad Keselowski finished 1.142 seconds behind Logano in the runner-up spot, while Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards and Busch rounded out the top-five. Chase Elliott, Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch comprised the remainder of the top-10.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to points-paying racing on Sunday, May 29, with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. The longest race on the Sprint Cup schedule gets underway at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX beginning at 5:30 p.m.