Racin’ with Russ
Tony Stewart has a habit of rising to the occasion when an opportunity presents itself, and winning on a rough Saturday night in Daytona turned out to be right up his alley.
Stewart started from nearly scratch on the field after his second-place qualifying attempt was DQ’ed after officials spotted a discrepancy in his NACA ductwork to the inside of the car.
For much of the race, the Indiana native was detached from the lead pack until a mid-race caution bunched up the field.
From there, he worked his way toward the front of the pack. Late in the race, he managed to get a push from Kasey Kahne to battle the strongest duo of the night—Roush-Fenway drivers Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle.
On the final restart with just a few laps remaining, the Roush pair took off, yet Stewart was able to separate them and zoom by to take the lead and the eventual win as the rest of the pack wrecked after the white flag flew.
As Stewart took the checkers under caution, numerous drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Biffle were shaking their heads as they emerged from badly wrecked cars.
Surviving the carnage from this wreck-a-rama event behind Stewart included Jeff Burton, Kenseth, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman.
There were a pair of "big wrecks" during the event, something that just cannot be avoided. More than half the 43 cars entered were involved in wrecks before the end.
The latest stats find Kenseth out front in points but only by 25 over Earnhardt Jr. and 44 over Biffle.
Stewart’s win marks his third of the year and 47th career-wise, good enough for 14th on the all-time wins list.
Kurt Busch recovered after being involved in one of the many race wrecks to capture his second win of the season—this one at Daytona with pushing help from Ford driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Michael Annett, Austin Dillon and Logano capped the top five finishers.
Elliot Sadler tops the charts with Dillon and Stenhouse close behind.
Danica Patrick ran among the top 10 for much of the race but spun late in the go, earning a 31st-place finish.
Open Wheel News
The Indy Car series competed on the street course in Toronto where Ryan Hunter-Reay won for the third event in a row.
Will Power and Dario Franchitti led for a while, but both were involved in separate incidents, winding up way down the charts.
Charlie Kimball and Mike Conway wrapped up the other two podium spots.
Hunter-Reay now leads the points by 34 points over Power with five races remaining.
Across the pond, the F-1 set competed on the always entertaining Silverstone track in England.
Fernando Alonso led most of the race until Mark Webber took over with a handful of laps remaining.
Webber edged Alonso and his teammate Sebastian Vettel.
Alonso still maintains a narrow lead over Webber in the big picture.
The big news from this department is the temporary suspension of NASCAR Sprint Cup driver A.J. Allmendinger for testing positive after a drug test lest week. The news came to Penske late afternoon, just a few hours before the race started in Daytona.
The team scrambled to arrange for Nationwide driver Sam Hornish Jr. to be picked up in North Carolina and flown post-haste to the Florida venue.
Hornish made it within minutes to the start of the race, had a flat tire mid-race resulting in a disappointing 33rd-place finish.
Allmendinger has until Tuesday to allow a second test or “B” test reviewed before the temporary suspension becomes indefinite.
Lots of questions need to be answered such as the validity of the whole situation and who will Penske put behind the wheel of their Pennzoil No. 22 Dodge for the next round of races…or longer. (USA Today)
My opinion? I am as shocked as many others are in this turn of events for a driver who has been literally sitting on top of the world with his opportunity to compete for one of the top teams in the sport. Stay tuned for updates in this developing story.
Look for Austin Dillon and Tony Stewart to be penalized this Tuesday for allowing air to enter the cockpit thru NACA ducts during qualifying.
That’s it for this week.
Preview: Next week, RWR will review the NASCAR action from New Hampshire along with more racing news from around the globe. .