NASCAR’s 2009 Top 12

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Welcome race fans to my NASCAR blog. I’m covering the top 12 finishers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Today, I’m up to sixth place finisher, #14 Tony Stewart.

Tony was leading the points after the 26 race regular season, and started the chase in second. This is Tony’s fourth appearance in the chase, with four wins during the chase. He finished first in 2005, so he knows how to race in the chase. However, this is his first year as driver/owner of Stewart Haas Racing. It is remarkable that he did this well in his first season as an owner. And should be a contender for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

Three of Tony’s four chase wins came in 2006, when he failed to make the chase! He won the title in the chase in 2005 without any wins in the chase, but had three second place finishes. Tony’s other title came in 2002, under the old points system. Tony has won at all the chase tracks, except Auto Club Speedway in California.

Tony started out strong at New Hampshire, but didn’t finish that well, only 14th, dropping him four spots to sixth in points. Finishing ninth at Dover pulled him up a spot. A win in Kansas brought him up another spot to fourth. That proved to be his only win in the chase. And not enough to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

Tony was involved in the big crash at Talladega, where he got together with team mate Ryan Newman and sent Newman airborne. In the final race at Homestead-Miami, he got together with Juan Pablo Montoya and sent him into the wall with a flat tire. Montoya went to the garage for repairs. When he got back on track, Montoya spun Tony out. That dropped him a spot to finish the NASCAR Sprint Cup Season in sixth.

I have to wonder, if there was no chase, could Tony have hung onto his points lead the last ten races? I think I liked it better when the Champion had to do it for 36 races, instead of just ten. All in all, it was a good year for Tony and his new team. Of course, being part of Hendrick didn’t hurt.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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