Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Driver Finishes 18th with Ill-Handling Racecar

Date:  Sept. 14, 2014

Event: 400 (Round 27 of 36)

Series:  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Location:  Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois (1.5-mile oval)

Start/Finish:  22nd/18th (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)

Point Standing:  26th with 595 points

Winner:  Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford) 

Tony Stewart’s 18th-place finish in the 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, was far from the result usually earned by the driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).

In his12 previous Sprint Cup starts at Chicagoland, Stewart secured a series-best average finish of 8.5. On only two occasions had Stewart finished outside the top-10 at the 1.5-mile oval (2001 and 2006).

But in his 13th Sprint Cup start at Chicagoland, Stewart struggled with an ill-handling racecar. He began the race too tight and adjustments ended up making the car too loose. Stewart spent the last third of the race attempting to gain track position via pit strategy. 

While the 18th-place finish wasn’t a highlight, it was at least a lead-lap finish on a day where a lights-out pace left only 19 of the 43 drivers on the lead lap.

Leading the way for SHR at Chicagoland was Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS. Harvick led three times for a race-high 79 laps before finishing fifth. It was his ninth top-five of 2014 and his eighth top-five in 14 career Sprint Cup starts at Chicagoland.

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet for SHR, finished eighth to earn his eighth top-10 of 2014 and his eighth top-10 in 14 career Sprint Cup starts at Chicagoland.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 19th. It was Patrick’s 73rd career Sprint Cup start and her third at Chicagoland. 

Harvick and Busch are representing SHR in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and they entered the first race of the 10-race Chase seeded sixth and 10th, respectively, among the 16 Chase drivers. Harvick leaves Chicagoland in fourth, 12 points behind Chase leader Brad Keselowski. Busch leaves Chicagoland in ninth, 20 points out of first.

Keselowski came into the Chase as the No. 1 seed and remained there by winning the 400. It was his 15th career Sprint Cup victory, his series-leading fifth of the season and his second at Chicagoland. 

Jeff Gordon finished 1.759 seconds behind Keselowski in the runner-up spot, while Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and Harvick rounded out the top-five. Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were six caution periods for 28 laps, with four drivers failing to finish the 267-lap race.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule – the second race of the 10-race Chase – is the Sylvania 300 on Sept. 21 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The race begins at 2 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with a pre-race show at 1 p.m.