Stewart Runs Down Montoya To Conquer The Monster

Race winner Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet celebrates
6/2/2013
By: Billy Tewes

Tony Stewart mounted a charge in the closing laps to beat Juan Pablo Montoya and end a 30 race winless streak, by conquering the Monster Mile at Dover. Stewart came out of nowhere after the final caution and ran down Montoya, passing him with three to go to win the FedEx 400.  This win at the Monster Mile is Tony Stewart’s 48th career Sprint Cup victory and first of the 2013 campaign.

The race began with early domination by the Joe Gibbs drivers of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. Even Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr appeared incredibly strong early on. Hamlin, Kenseth and Busch led majority of the first 250 laps. Kenseth’s day would be ruined by a blown engine, which has plagued Toyota Racing Development all season. Kenseth was chasing down leader Kyle Busch and came over the radio saying he had blown up. Another Toyota driver, Martin Truex Jr, suffered a similar fate to Kenseth as his day was cut short due to engine failure.

The final caution of the race came out when Denny Hamlin cut a tire and grazed the wall. Juan Pablo Montoya came out of the pits in front of Jimmie Johnson, who looked poised to run away from the field after leading 143 laps prior to the pit stop. Montoya starting first as opposed to second was crucial because coming to the green flag, Johnson jumped Montoya on the restart. Johnson was in front of Montoya in the restart box and was black flagged and called to pit road. Johnson’s had the responsibility of giving back the lead to Montoya and he failed to do so. Johnson would finish 17th a lap down.

Montoya would end up finishing second after valiantly fighting off Stewart up until the final three miles. Montoya was discouraged yet again, as he would lose his second race of the season in the closing laps (Richmond was the other). Stewart’s win marks his third career win at Dover. Today’s race could very well play into Tony Stewart making the chase as he currently sits 16th in the standings and is on the outside looking in for the chase.

Nascar heads to the Pocono Raceway where drivers prepare for long straights and only three turns as opposed to four. The race is 400 miles instead of 500 like it was for many years. Last year was the first year they tried a 400 miler and in my opinion the racing has been much better. The extra 100 miles is very hard on engines and sometimes drivers end up stretched out and the action is MIA. Last years race was rain shortened and awarded to Jeff Gordon. Pocono is rich in history as it has been known for many close quarter finishes. One that comes to mind was the 1998 Pocono 500 where Jeremy Mayfield bumped legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. out of the way in the final corner to win.

Mayfield quoted Earnhardt in that he was “just trying to rattle his cage a bit”, something that Earnhardt did to many drivers over his storied career. For next weekends race, I am going to go with Denny Hamlin to win. He looks as if he is fully healed from his crash earlier this year and is a four time winner at Pocono. I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the Gibbs drivers (barring engine failure) end up competing for the trophy next week.


Pocono’s unique configuration as seen from aerial view!

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Harvick Steals One At Richmond

Race winner Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Kevin Harvick burns it down after winning the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond

4/28/2013

By: Billy Tewes

Kevin Harvick stole the show at Richmond to win his first race of the 2013 season. Ironically the Toyota Owners 400 would be won by a Chevrolet! Harvick was nowhere to be found until the last stretch of the race where he ran down race leader Juan Pablo Montoya who was trying to end a 94 race winless streak. Harvick led all of three laps en route to victory lane.

Harvick ended up benefitting from the drivers that took older tires. The drivers that pitted got bottled up behind the three drivers that stayed out and Harvick slipped by those three to win. Harvick bumped himself up into the top 10 in the points standings with his win.

Matt Kenseth led the most laps last night with 140, followed by Clint Bowyer who would finish 2nd and lead 113 laps. Juan Pablo Montoya who led late until the final caution led 67 and the only other significant lap leader was Kurt Busch with 36.

The race got really interesting when the #11 car of Brian Vickers slapped the wall to setup a green white checkered finish. What absolutely blew me away with this race is that more drivers did not stay out on the final restart to gain track position. Three drivers with older tires stayed out and after the leaders pit, these drivers had tires that were 60 laps older than the leaders. Track position is so important with only two laps to go and the decision on the parts of the crew chiefs to bring their drivers to pit road could have destroyed their chances at winning and that ended up happening to Juan Pablo Montoya.

Juan Pablo Montoya was in the lead and came out 6th after the stop. He would end up finishing 4th but the caution at the end essentially ruined his night. This race really hurts for him because he was trying to end a 94 race winless streak and get his first win on an oval.

Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch got into after the race and Kurt Busch was also upset with Matt Kenseth. Kurt Busch got into Tony Stewart and nearly wrecked Stewart. Stewart then fell back and finished 18th. After that Kenseth bumped Kurt Busch out of the groove coming to the checkered flag and finished 7th and Busch finished 9th. Busch then rammed Kenseth in the back bumper. Kurt Busch has had a history of run-ins with drivers and easily loses his temper so it was no surprise to see him go crazy last night!

Make sure to tune in next week as the drama continues at the Talladega Superspeedway. The track is notorious for “the big one” where multiple cars wreck at dangerously high speeds. Im going to go out on a limb here and say that Jeff Gordon is going to steal the show with a last lap pass. Adios Nascar fans and I’ll have more insight going into the race weekend!

The fall finish at Talladega last year!!