Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished 42nd in the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. An early-race accident caused substantial damage to the No. 14 Chevy and forced the team to call it a day after just 52 laps of the 334-lap contest around the 1.5-mile oval.
Stewart had just cracked the top-20 when the competition caution was displayed on lap 25. After reporting that he needed more rear grip, the team made a chassis adjustment, changed four tires and added fuel. Quick pit work placed the three-time Sprint Cup champion in 16th-place for the lap-29 restart.
While Stewart was busy working his way to the front, the issue of tire wear became a topic of concern for crews up and down pit road. A handful of teams were experiencing problems – some extensive enough to send cars to the garage for repairs after tires deflated and came apart, tearing away fenders and crush panels.
The No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 team however, ran into a problem of a different sort on lap 53 when Stewart got loose off turn four and spun through the infield grass.The grass was saturated from heavy rains leading into the race weekend, and the nose of the Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy dug into the dirt, ripping apart the front end. After a quick review of the damage on pit road, crew chief Chad Johnston sent Stewart to the garage where the team determined the car was beyond repair. The result was Stewart’s first finish outside the top-35 in 27 career Sprint Cup starts at Texas.