Tony Stewart says his team has never had such a string of bad luck in his career. Daytona didn't turn things around.
Smoke succumbed to flu-like symptoms during the Coca Cola Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night. He got out of the car on lap 72.
Former Joe Gibbs Racing driver J.J. Yeley took the wheel, beginning his drive to a 20th place finish, coming all the way back from 33rd.
Yeley ran as high as 10th during the event, which he failed to qualify for, and kept the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in the Chase.
On lap 140, Yeley was tagged from behind by David Ragan, and then, just 17 laps later on lap 157, he was collected in a melee caused by defending champion Jimmie Johnson.
The final incident occurred during the green-white-checker finish. The 20 car was involved in the last-lap incident that included Reed Sorenson, Dave Blaney, and Michael Waltrip, among others.
During the postrace news conference, Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs said Stewart was feeling better after staying in the infield care center most of the race.
Tony Stewart's crew chief Greg Zipadelli tipped his hat to his driver for starting the race and attempting to finish. The driver described his illness as "a real severe headache and some other flu-like symptoms."
Smoke remains in the top 12 in points, a mere two points ahead of 13th-place driver Kevin Harvick.
The 37-year old expressed gratitude to his former teammate, saying he was thankful that Yeley stepped up for him and took over the ride.
Ricky Rudd subbed for Stewart in Dover two years ago after he'd injured his shoulder during the race in Charlotte. He'd run the first 25 laps before handing over the reins.
Stewart is expected back in the car next week under the lights in Chicago.