By admin | September 14, 2008
By Richard Allen
Last week in Richmond Tony Stewart harshly criticized his Joe Gibbs Racing crew for their work on pit road. The two time Sprint Cup champion believed a slow pit stop cost him a race win and he let his crew know about over the in car radio.
This week in New Hampshire, it was his “other” team which may have cost ‘Smoke’ a shot at victory. During an early caution flag pit stop Stewart’s #20 Toyota bumped into the #70 car of Johnny Sauter as Stewart was leaving his pit stall. Stewart had to return to pit road to repair the damage, which placed him at the back of the pack.
The #70 car is part of the Haas Automation team, of which Stewart will be a part owner next year.
Later, Stewart was caught and penalized for speeding on pit road, perhaps trying to make up for his earlier troubles. That penalty put him one lap down. He went on to recover for an 8th place finish, but it could have been much better had he not again had issues in the pits.
Stewart is now in 7th place in the overall standings, 73 points behind co-leaders Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson.
A better pit stop last week by his soon to be old crew could have conceivably given Stewart a win and ten bonus points going into the Chase for the Championship. Not getting tangled up with his soon to be new team could have conceivably allowed for a better finish than 8th in Loudon.
The last two weeks for Tony Stewart and his teams have definitely been “the pits”.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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