Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Driver Finishes 25th


Date:  Sept. 20, 2015

Event: 400 (Round 27 of 36)

Series:  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

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

Start/Finish:  23rd /25th (Running, completed 264 of 267 laps)

Point Standing:  26th with 530 points

Winner:  Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Tony Stewart had a solid run going for him in the 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. 

After starting 23rd, the driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) had methodically worked his way up to 15th place  by lap 100 of the 267-lap race. But an inopportune caution on lap 192 moments after a scheduled, green-flag pit stop upended Stewart’s race and left him 25th at the finish.

Already a lap down because of the torrid pace of the leaders (there were only 12 cars on the lead lap before lap 100), Stewart lost a second lap during his green-flag pit stop on lap 188. It was expected, however, as once the pit stops cycled through – because even the leaders eventually had to pit – Stewart would get that lap back. But when the yellow caution flag waved just a few laps after Stewart had come in for service, most of the field still hadn’t pitted. That stopped the cycle and left Stewart unable to regain that lap. It ended up being an obstacle that could not be overcome.

In fact, Stewart wound up losing another lap as the race pace around the 1.5-mile oval remained stout, as evidenced by its duration being less than three hours – two hours, 51 minutes and 30 seconds to be exact. The 25th-place result was only the fourth time Stewart had finished outside the top-10 in 14 career Sprint Cup starts at Chicagoland. 

Teammate Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finishing third at Chicagoland to lead the way for SHR. Busch paced the field three times for a total of 37 laps en route to his ninth top-five of 2015 and his second top-five in 15 career Sprint Cup starts at Chicagoland.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 26th.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 42nd. Harvick led twice for 10 laps and was poised to win the opening round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, but a cut tire led to a spin on lap 139 that sent him backward into the turn three wall. Harvick was forced to the garage area where his crew spent several laps making repairs. Harvick returned to the racetrack, albeit 58 laps down.

Harvick and Busch are representing SHR in this year’s Chase and they entered the first race of the 10-race Chase seeded fifth and seventh, respectively, among the 16 Chase drivers in the Challenger Round. Busch leaves Chicagoland in fifth, four points behind Chase leader Matt Kenseth. Harvick leaves Chicagoland in 16th, 43 points out of first. Following the third race of the Chase at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, only those Chase drivers who have won a race or are among the top-12 in points will advance to the Contender Round.

Denny Hamlin won the 400 to score his 26th career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his first at Chicagoland.

Carl Edwards finished .962 of a second behind Hamlin in the runner-up spot, while Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Kenseth rounded out the top-five. Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Aric Almirola comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were six caution periods for 28 laps and all 43 drivers were racing at the conclusion.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule – the second race of the Chase – is the Sept. 27 Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN.