After one of the toughest races of the year, it was Tony Stewart and the No. 14 car that took the checkered flag of the 2013 FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway Sunday afternoon.
The racing was intense all day, but Stewart was able to finally corral the rest of the field and lead the last and most important lap, winning his first race of the season. Juan Pablo Montoya finished in second place by a margin of .788 seconds.
Sunoco Racing talks about just how wild Sunday’s race was:
2013 FedEx 400 Top 10 Results
|Finish||Driver||Car #||Time (secs)|
|1||Tony Stewart ||14||--|
|2||Juan Pablo Montoya ||42||0.788 sec|
|3||Jeff Gordon ||24||0.966 sec|
|4||Kyle Busch ||18||1.151 sec|
|5||Brad Keselowski ||2||1.937 sec|
|6||Clint Bowyer ||15||3.035 sec|
|7||Joey Logano ||22||3.368 sec|
|8||Kevin Harvick ||29||4.378 sec|
|9||Mark Martin ||55||4.545 sec|
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ||88||5.083 sec|
|11||Jeff Burton ||31||5.224 sec|
|12||Kurt Busch ||78||5.355 sec|
|13||Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ||17||5.965 sec|
|14||Carl Edwards ||99||7.646 sec|
|15||Greg Biffle ||16||11.564 sec|
|16||Casey Mears ||13||15.285 sec|
|17||Jimmie Johnson ||48||1 lap|
Aric Almirola ||43||1 lap|
|19||Marcos Ambrose ||9||1 lap|
|20||Paul Menard ||27||1 lap|
|21||Bobby Labonte ||47||1 lap|
|22||David Ragan ||34||3 laps|
|23||Kasey Kahne ||5||4 laps|
|24||Danica Patrick ||10||4 laps|
|25||Josh Wise ||35||5 laps|
|26||David Reutimann ||83||6 laps|
|27||Austin Dillon ||51||6 laps|
|28||David Stremme ||30||6 laps|
|29||Dave Blaney ||7||7 laps|
|30||J.J. Yeley ||36||10 laps|
|31||Joe Nemechek ||87||12 laps|
|32||Landon Cassill ||33||12 laps|
|33||Jamie McMurray ||1||19 laps|
|34||Denny Hamlin ||11||19 laps|
|35||Timmy Hill ||32||22 laps|
|36||Ryan Newman ||39||101 laps|
|37||David Gilliland ||38||103 laps|
|38||Martin Truex Jr. ||56||120 laps|
|39||Travis Kvapil ||93||238 laps|
|40||Matt Kenseth ||20||240 laps|
|41||Mike Bliss ||19||340 laps|
|42||Michael McDowell ||98||345 laps|
|43||Scott Riggs ||44||383 laps|
*Visit NASCAR.com for full results and race times.
Dover International Speedway is one of the wildest tracks on the NASCAR circuit, and Sunday’s race exemplified that from start to finish. After a 1:15 p.m. ET start time, the field began to attack the mile-long track that was running especially slick on the hot June afternoon.
NASCAR’s official Twitter shared a great photo of the start:
Drivers like Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Stewart began to report back to their crew chiefs around 30 laps into the race that the track was changing with the more rubber and heat put into the Dover concrete.
It was just a few laps later that fan-favorite Danica Patrick was forced to the pits after making contact with David Stremme. Jeff Gluck of USA Today reported what Patrick said about her green-flag stop:
Danica Patrick: "Guys, I'm feeling like I'm gonna hit the wall! I've gotta pit!"— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) June 2, 2013
The racing for the rest of the first half of Dover was relatively clean, with two debris cautions on Lap 79 and 126. Then on Lap 159, then-leader Matt Kenseth blew his engine and was forced to the garage. NASCAR insider Reid Spencer talked about the incident:
As Kyle Busch might say, Matt Kenseth drew the short straw this week. Sorry to see things go awry for such a strong car.— Reid Spencer (@Reid_Spencer) June 2, 2013
As a serious favorite to win the race, Kenseth’s early exit gave hope to everyone else in the field.
The race entered the halfway mark (200 of 400 laps) with the weather starting to change drastically as the cloud cover began to hit Delaware, but the constant disparities by the sun and clouds kept the track from ever finding a consistent temperature.
It was about 30 laps later that the field was forced to begin green-flag pit stops once again. The No. 48 car and Jimmie Johnson took the lead after starting the race in the 24th spot and going a lap down.
Fox’s NASCAR Twitter account shared the amazement about Johnson’s success:
Jimmie Johnson has cracked the Top 10. Yes, the one that was just a lap down. #NASCAR— FOX SPORTS: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 2, 2013
Lap 279 brought out the caution flag for Martin Truex’s blown motor, allowing the field to be reshuffled and bringing the madness back to the Monster Mile. The racing was as intense as it had been all day when Ryan Newman and David Gilliland got into a wreck on Lap 299.
Ryan Newman and David Gilliland wreck coming off of Turn 2. Both drivers get out of their cars to exchange words, and then walk away.— Jordan Bianchi (@Jordan_Bianchi) June 2, 2013
Once the green flag fell again, the best drivers on the course started to make their parade to the front. The back-and-forth racing in the last 100 laps at Dover International Speedway was flat-out amazing and proved why the fans love this track.
The field managed to keep the racing clean for the majority of the rest of the race, forcing several teams to make late pit stops, potentially hurting their chances of contending for a win.
Gluck reported Busch was one of the victims of the long green-flag run:
Well, one mystery solved: Kurt Busch just gave up second place to hit pit road. Strategy didn't work.— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) June 2, 2013
A penalty to Johnson on the late restart forced the No. 48 team a lap down and out of contention late.
After Johnson was removed from contention, it came down to a battle between Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Stewart. It was a late-lap pass by Stewart that finally capped off the thrilling win at Dover.
2013 Sprint Cup Standings
|1||Jimmie Johnson ||473|
|2||Carl Edwards ||443|
|3||Clint Bowyer ||423|
|4||Matt Kenseth ||399|
|5||Kevin Harvick ||399|
|6||Dale Earnhardt Jr. ||398|
|7||Kasey Kahne ||392|
|8||Brad Keselowski ||375|
|9||Kyle Busch ||374|
|10||Paul Menard ||371|
|11||Jeff Gordon ||361|
|12||Aric Almirola ||354|
*Complete standings found at NASCAR.com.