In more ways than one, this week is a rush for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
Teams rushed to get back from what turned out to be a Sunday night race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway as rain pushed the afternoon race to a primetime affair. The four-car SHR operation diligently rushed to turn cars, equipment and trucks around for the trip to the left coast for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. – the third western race of the very young 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
And the rush won’t stop once SHR finally touches down in Southern California. Tony Stewart will make sure of it.
Rush Truck Centers is back for the 2014 season as an SHR partner, making its season debut as primary sponsor for Stewart and the No. 14 Chevrolet SS this weekend in Fontana.
A subsidiary of Rush Enterprises, Inc., Rush Truck Centers is the premier service solutions provider to the commercial vehicle industry and the United States’ largest network of truck and bus dealerships, representing industry-leading brands. With more than 100 vehicle centers strategically located in high-traffic areas or near major highways, Rush Truck Centers operate as one-stop centers offering an integrated approach to the needs of its customers.
As a partner of SHR since 2010, Rush Truck Centers has played an integral role in getting the team’s racecars to and from the track. The relationship evolved and the company signed on to be the primary sponsor for Stewart at three events in 2013. In 2014, Rush Truck Centers will serve as a primary sponsor of Stewart and the No. 14 team for five races, with the Auto Club 400 serving as its kickoff.
Rush Truck Centers’ timing couldn’t be better.
Stewart and Co. are coming off a season-best fourth-place finish at Bristol. Now they carry that momentum to Fontana, a track where Stewart is already a two-time Sprint Cup winner, the most recent of which came in 2012 in a rain-shortened race around the 2-mile oval.
Although that race did not run to its scheduled distance, the fact that Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet was fast couldn’t be negated. The three-time Sprint Cup champion started ninth and quickly charged to the front of the field, taking the lead for the first time on lap 85. He would eventually be credited with a total of 42 laps led, including the final 22.
Preceding that victory was a win in October 2010 at Fontana, an event Stewart won from the 22nd starting spot.
In addition to those wins, Stewart has scored six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 22 career Sprint Cup starts at Fontana. And while he earned an impressive fourth-place finish in his very first start at the track in 1999, it’s with the inception of SHR in 2009 that Stewart’s stats have soared.
Since SHR’s inaugural season, Stewart’s poorest Auto Club result is the 22nd-place finish he earned last season, the result of an incident with Joey Logano in the final laps that dropped him from the top-10, where he had competed for the majority of the race. In the seven races since 2009, Stewart has failed to lead a lap only once, which was in February 2010 when he finished ninth.
As a driver/owner at SHR, Stewart is always in a rush. And this week in Fontana, Stewart’s fast-paced life is appropriately emblazoned with Rush Truck Centers.