Tony Stewart Wrecks In First Pocono Practice

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer IJune 6, 2009

The sun was finally shining at Pocono Raceway and the Cup cars took to the track for the first time for practice.  Everyone at the track seemed to breathe a collective satisfied sigh to hear the roar of the engines for the first time this race weekend.

Practice was going well for all, with Jimmie Johnson pacing the field with the fastest lap. And then, all of a sudden, the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Impala driven by Tony Stewart took a wild ride through the grass.

"I went off into the grass but I hit the right front of the splitter with I guess one of the access roads or something and ripped the whole nose off of it", said Stewart.

The car spun after exiting the infamous tunnel turn and heading for the front stretch. 

NASCAR officials and team members brought the car back to the garage to survey the damage.  After extensive review, the team will go to a back up car for Sunday's Pocono 500 race.

Stewart did not appear concerned by the loss of his primary car.

"Yeah, I mean if you look at how Jeff Gordon ran last week and ended up with a bad part there for a little bit, but had a good car.  We'll be the same thing", said Stewart.

Stewart continued about the back up car, "The car will be good.  It's just that we're losing the race track right now", indicating the loss of precious practice time.

The top ten in the first practice in Long Pond are:

1.   Jimmie Johnson

2.   Ryan Newman

3.   Tony Stewart

4.   Denny Hamlin

5.   Jeff Gordon

6.   Jamie McMurray

7.   Martin Truex, Jr.

8.   Casey Mears

9.   David Reutimann

10.  Kyle Busch

Althought Tony Stewart had the coveted pole position for Sunday's Cup race due to the field being set by points due to the rain, he will have to go to the back of the field due to his practice crash.