Sprint Cup Series News (9588)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished 14th in the rain-delayed Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday night at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Persistent showers dampened the 2.5-mile superspeedway, pushing the race into the night by more than three hours. When the race finally did start at almost midnight, Stewart and Co. took a conservative approach to the annual Fourth of July contest.
To finish first in a restrictor-plate race one must first finish, which meant Stewart would hang at the back of the pack for the majority of the event in an attempt to better avoid the multicar crashes that plague the pack-style racing of Daytona.
From his 31st-place starting spot, Stewart aptly displayed the art of preservation early in the race. Relying on his dexterity and detailed guidance from spotter Bob Jeffrey, Stewart weaved his way through a pair of incidents – one of which took place on lap three – and emerged without a scrape.
The team continued to employ a survival mentality as the race wound down. With about 50 laps to go, Stewart started to flex the muscle of his Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevy, a glimpse of which was seen on Friday during final practice when it posted the fourth-quickest lap. Stewart cracked the top-10 for the first time on lap 110.
During the race’s seventh caution on lap 129, crew chief Chad Johnston called Stewart to pit road for fuel and fresh tires. While many of the leaders stayed out, gambling they would have enough fuel to go the distance, Stewart and Johnston were assured of making it to the finish even if multiple attempts at a green-white-checkered took place. Perhaps even more valuable were the four new Goodyear tires on the No. 14 machine, allowing Stewart plenty of grip for the race’s final laps. Proving this, Stewart raced from 22nd place and back into the top-10 in a mere 10 laps.
Another adage of restrictor-plate racing is that cautions breed cautions, and two more were displayed before the finale – the last of which came out on lap 156 when driver Sam Hornish Jr. spun on the backstretch, leading to a green-white-checkered finish.
In sixth place with a car that handled better on the outside of the draft, Stewart looked to be in the proverbial catbird seat when green-flag racing resumed with only two laps to go. Rather than being able to leverage his track position, however, Stewart was shuffled back to 14th place, where he was running when the frontrunners started colliding as the field came to the checkered flag.
The incident triggered a dramatic crash that caused Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevy to take flight, crashing into the protective fencing and connecting with several cars before coming to rest directly in front of pit road. Stewart suffered a good bit of damage to his own racecar, but was able to finish the race.
“I really thought we were going to have a shot there with our Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevrolet,” said Stewart, a four-time winner of the Coke Zero 400 (2005, 2006, 2009 and 2012). “I don’t know what happened there at the end, but the No. 3 car literally went over the top of me. That was one of the crazier things I’ve been a part of. I’m glad Austin is OK, and I’m hoping the same for the fans that were injured.”Five fans sustained minor injuries. All were treated and released by medical personnel.
Snap-on Tools will sponsor the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Ford Fusion, driven by Ryan Blaney, in both races.
Both Snap-on and the Wood Brothers have long histories, with Snap-on dating back to 1920 and the Woods racing team to 1950, and both have made great contributions to their fields.
Many a modern-day NASCAR fan doesn’t realize that the choreographed pit stops seen today were developed in large part by the Wood Brothers years ago. Similarly, many technicians today may not know that tools like interchangeable sockets turned by a ratchet were pioneered and marketed by Snap-on from its beginning nearly 100 years ago.
“I’m really excited to be associated with a long-time company like Snap-on,” Wood said. “We have a lot in common with them.”
Eddie Wood said his family’s connection with Snap-on tools predates the formation of the race team.
“There are three generations of Woods that have been mechanics,” he said. “My grandfather, J. Walter Wood, was a mechanic at a Ford dealership, and I’m sure he used Snap-on tools.”
The Woods’ Snap-on tools likely will come in handy this weekend at Kentucky as Sprint Cup teams will be running a new aero package designed to improve the racing on intermediate-length tracks like Kentucky Speedway. An open test date is set for Wednesday, and the No. 21 will likely see lots of tuning before the green flag drops Saturday night.
“It’s a real privilege to be representing a company like Snap-on that has such a rich heritage of quality and craftsmanship,” Wood said. “We’ll do our best to do a good job for them.”
Wood Brothers Racing PR
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished fourth in the rain-delayed Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Sunday night.
The reigning Sprint Cup champion started 34th and managed to race his No. 4 Chevrolet into the second position just before the halfway point of the race, which had begun nearly three hours late due to rain. Harvick ran near the front of the pack for the majority of the second half of the event and put the team in contention for the win late in the race.
With just four laps remaining of the scheduled 160 laps, the caution flag waved for the final time, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Harvick restarted fifth but had advanced a spot as he took the checkered flag. Just past the finish line, Harvick was involved in a wreck that sent several cars spinning on the frontstretch and collected a majority of the lead pack. Harvick was unhurt and credited with a fourth-place finish in a race that ended at approximately 2:40 a.m. EDT.
“There was just a lot of pushing and shoving,” said Harvick, who won the Sprint Cup race at Daytona from the pole position in July 2010. “I just want to thank everybody on my Jimmy John’s team first. I caught the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) there and he had a big piece of damage on the left-rear, but at that point you couldn’t run off, and I finally just snagged him and turned him as he was in the middle of the track. I hate that all happened, but just at the end of the race it becomes pretty aggressive.”Harvick’s fourth-place finish led the four-car SHR contingent in Sunday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The top-five result was Harvick’s 12th this season and his eighth in 29 career Sprint Cup starts at Daytona.
Danica Patrick and the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) finished 35th in Sunday’s Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, her race cut short after cutting down a right-front tire and making contact with the wall in turn two at lap 126.
The incident was the third of the night for Patrick, who had been collected in two prior multicar accidents at lap four and lap 106. In both situations, the GoDaddy Chevrolet SS sustained damage when cars in front of Patrick wrecked and she had nowhere to go to avoid the subsequent melee.
After the first incident, the team pitted three times to repair the damage to the front end and right-rear quarter panel. Following the accident, Patrick ran as high as 15th and was scored in the 16th position when the No. 5 and No. 20 cars made contact in turn four at lap 106. The No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS suffered significant right-front damage in the ensuing 12-car incident. Patrick brought the car to the attention of her pit crew, making a total of five trips to pit road during the caution period for repairs.
Patrick lined up 28th for the lap-114 restart and quickly radioed to the team that the car wouldn’t turn as she lost time to the lead pack. At lap 126, she cut down a right-front tire and made contact with the turn two wall. Patrick brought the car down pit road, and after an initial assessment, crew chief Daniel Knost had her drive the car to the garage for repairs. Further inspection revealed that the damage was too significant to get back on track, and Patrick had to settle for a 35th-place finish.“It was definitely a bummer of a night,” Patrick said. “Here at Daytona, it’s such a roll of the dice when it comes to the race. I thought we were going to get out of here tonight with a decent finish after getting into two wrecks, but it didn’t work out that way. The guys did a great job repairing the car after the first two deals, but then we cut down a tire, got into the wall, and it just destroyed the right-front (suspension). We had a great GoDaddy Chevy here tonight, but the luck didn’t fall our way.”
- Richard Childress Racing drivers Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman and Paul Menard finished seventh, eighth and 16th, respectively, in the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway.
- Menard ranks 13th in the Sprint Cup Series championship point standings, trailing current leader Kevin Harvick by 176 points, while Newman ranks 14th and Dillon ranks 21st.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned his second win of the 2015 season and was followed to the line by Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch.
- The 18th race of the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season is the Kentucky 400 at Kentucky Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2015, which is scheduled to be televised live on NBC beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Austin Dillon Endures Wild Ride En Route to Seventh-Place Finish at Daytona International Speedway
The sparks were flying - literally - for Austin Dillon this Fourth of July holiday weekend when he drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/NRA Museum Chevrolet to a seventh-place finish in the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. The Welcome, N.C., driver slid across the finish line upside down on his roof after becoming airborne and making contact with the catch fence in the tri-oval of the 2.5-mile speedway in a last-lap multi-car incident. The start of the 160-lap race was delayed nearly four hours because of thunderstorms in the area. Once the track was dry, Dillon started from the second position and remained a front runner for a majority of the race, discovering the top groove worked better than the bottom one. He fell to the rear of the field after making a series of pit stops under caution to fix front grille damage he received while trying to avoid a multi-car incident on lap 85. However, once green-flag racing resumed on lap 92, it took him just 10 circuits to race his way from 34th to 10th. Dillon was scored in the 11th spot with 20 laps remaining and used the final laps to try and gain positions. A late-race caution set the field for a green-white-checker finish with Dillon 11th in the middle of the field for the restart. A multi-car incident occurred as the field raced to the checkered flag, which was when Dillon was clipped by another car and sent airborne into the tri-oval catch fence before sliding on his roof and landing upside down. Dillon was credited with a seventh-place finish, was evaluated and released from the infield care center. He heads into the Kentucky Speedway race weekend 21st in the point standings.
Start - 2 Finish - 7 Laps Led - 8 Points - 21
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE:
"The No. 11 car got turned by the No. 4 car across the start/finish line and I thought the race was going to be over right there. We were almost there and I was just pushing the No. 24 car and the next thing I knew, I was looking at my roof for a long time. I thought it was all over when I was sliding there and the No. 2 car came in and really got me. It was a wicked ride, but thank the good Lord above for taking care of me. I am just going to be really sore. It got my tailbone pretty good and my arm. I should be fine. My plan is to just go ice it up and get ready for Kentucky. I am thankful for what NASCAR has done to make the sport this much safer. I just hope everybody in the stands is all right. I'm praying for everybody and glad the good Lord looked out for me tonight."
Paul Menard Finishes 16th at Daytona International Speedway
Paul Menard and the No. 27 NIBCO/Menards Chevrolet team started Sunday night's rain-delayed event from the fourth position and raced inside the top 20 all night, en route to a 16th-place finish. The Richard Childress Racing driver had little complaint after the 400-mile event took the green flag at 11:40 p.m. Eastern Time, noting only a slightly loose and then tight-handling conditions. Crew chief Justin Alexander called the No. 27 Chevy to pit road four times during the 160-lap Coke Zero 400 for a combination of either two or four tires and fuel. Menard maintained a position in the top 20 and raced as high as second throughout the night. He was in the top 10 in the closing laps, but was stuck in a slow line during the final laps and crossed the finish line 16th. This moves the team to 13th in the driver point standings. Up next for Menard is Saturday night's race at Kentucky Speedway on July 11.
Start - 4 Finish - 16 Laps Led - 0 Points - 13
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
"We had a fast NIBCO/Menards Chevy. We missed quite a few wrecks and raced in the top 20 all night. My guys worked hard all weekend and I'm proud of what they gave me this weekend. Glad to see Austin is okay after that wreck crossing the finish line. Thanks to the fans for sticking it out with us through the rain delay."
Ryan Newman Makes it Through The Rain-Delayed Coke Zero 400 Collecting an Eighth-Place Finish at Daytona International Speedway
Ryan Newman drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet SS to an eighth-place finish in Sunday's Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. The South Bend, Ind., driver started 17th since the starting line up was established by the first practice session times after rain washed out qualifying. Mother Nature reared her ugly head once again on race day postponing the 160-lap event until 11:40 p.m. ET. The first caution waved on lap three for a multi-car crash. Newman came out unscathed needing four fresh tires after avoiding the crash. The next yellow flag was the competition caution on lap 25. Crew chief Luke Lambert waited until the No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet was scored as the leader on lap 28 before calling the driver onto pit road. The top spot earned the team a valuable bonus point. From that point on, Lambert and Newman implemented their usual conservative restrictor-plate strategy in hopes of avoiding any on-track issues. Opportunities to fine tune the No. 31 Chevy came on laps 29, 56, 60 and 88. The only real chassis change came in the form of wedge adjustments but overall, Newman described his balance as good. A second major melee broke out on lap 105 with Newman scored in 23rd. Like before, the Grainger driver took evasive action and asked for four fresh tires and additional fuel during the following stops on laps 112 and 113. In the final 25 laps, NASCAR threw the yellow flag three times. Each incident, Newman successfully maneuvered through them and when the checkered flag waved with cars wrecking, the No. 31 Chevrolet crossed the finish line in eighth place. In the first 17 races of 2015, Newman has earned four top-five and nine top-10 finishes with just nine races remaining before the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. Newman ranks 14th in the championship standings. Next Saturday, the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will compete at the Kentucky 400 at Kentucky Speedway. Caterpillar will be the primary partner.
Start - 17 Finish - 8 Laps Led - 1 Points - 14
RYAN NEWMAN QUOTE:
"This is the kind of race that can make or break your season and fortunately for us, we ran the kind of race we strategized for and made it through with no drama. We needed this points day with the way the standings are and I am very happy to see everything is okay with Austin."
Biffle took to the track in the first of two practice sessions on Friday in his No. 16 Cheez-It Ford. Just a few laps in things got dicey up ahead and Biffle wound up collected in the melee. The damage resulted in the No. 16 team having to pull out the backup car. Despite July Daytona heat, the team got the backup car ready in time to make some laps in final practice.
The start of the Coke Zero 400 was delayed around five hours for rain. Biffle started 25th, but just three laps in got collected in an accident on the track. Despite multiple pit stops for repairs, Biffle was able to remain on the lead lap in his Cheez-It Ford.
Aerodynamics are crucial to Superspeedway racing and after the damage the team did the best they could to fix their Ford. Over the course of the race the No. 16 Cheez-It Ford had good balance, but was lacking aero speed.
Biffle was poised to salvage a decent finish as the field headed into a green-white-checkered finish. A giant wreck unfolded as the field slid across the finish line. Biffle was sliding sideways in the No. 16 Cheez-It Ford and made it across the finish line for a 20th-place finish.
After nearly a four-hour rain delay at Daytona International Speedway, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series took the green flag for the Coke Zero 400 at 11:42 p.m. Eastern Time. The starting order for the 160-lap event was set by first practice speeds in lieu of the NASCAR rule book after qualifying was rained out on Friday afternoon. Brian Scott and the No. 33 Shore Lodge Chevrolet started in the 26th position and spent the majority of the first 50 laps inside the top 10. Cars in front of the Shore Lodge Chevrolet began making contact in turn 4 on lap 87. Scott was unable to avoid the mayhem and was collected in the wreckage unable to return to competition, leading him to a 42nd-place finish. Scott will make his first Sprint Cup start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26.
Start - 26 Finish - 42 Laps Led - 0 Points - N/A
Brian Scott Quote:
"It was Daytona. They were wrecking and my spotter (Billy O'Dea) did a great job telling me where things were. It was one of those accidents where we needed to gas up to get by the cars that were sliding up, and as soon as we got past those another car came up and we ran into the back of them. A bad end to a long day. Not the day we wanted for our Shore Lodge Chevy SS."
“We just got caught in that logjam there and were trying to pick which lane and no lane was really going anywhere” Stenhouse said. “We were all running right there in the middle and that is where we ended up and got in that last lap crash. We had some damage but missed the big wrecks which definitely helped us out. We wanted a better finish but all in all we will take it. We completed all of the laps which the last two superspeedway races we haven’t done that so this was good.”
After a lengthy rain delay forcing the Coke Zero to be raced in the early morning hours, the two-time XFINITY champion lined up in the 30th position after qualifying was cancelled setting the field by Friday’s first practice session speeds. Stenhouse quickly maneuvered his Fifth Third Ford up to 16th by lap three when the first yellow flag was displayed.
Just past the halfway mark of the 160-lap race, the Olive Branch, Miss. native got some cosmetic damage to his Ford as the No. 42 and No. 19 tangled causing the No. 19 machine to turn up into Stenhouse. The crew worked feverishly to repair the mangled machine.
Despite the damage, the Roush Fenway Racing driver quickly maneuvered his Ford back up inside the top-20 in only eight laps.With track position being so valuable, crew chief Nick Sandler told Stenhouse to stay out but conserve fuel. With less than 30 laps remaining, the 2013 Rookie of the Year lined up in the 10th position but the outside line stalled causing Stenhouse to lose a few positions before the final caution was displayed setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Stenhouse would ultimately earn a 19th-place finish.