Archive for March 9th, 2012

Stewart would like a do over at LVMS

- March 9th, 2012

LAS VEGAS — If Tony Stewart could turn back the clock one year, he would love nothing more than a do-over for the 2011 Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
It would have saved him a lot of anxious moments as he battled Carl Edwards tooth an nail in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship nine months down the road.
Stewart admits that winning the Cup was great, but the pressure of having to do it on the final lap of the final race at Homestead Miami Speedway could have been avoided.
What happened last year at LVMS was a team mistake in a race he should have won handily and instead lost to — who else — but Edwards.
Stewart had moved from his 15th-place starting spot to take the lead on Lap 13 of the 267-lap race.
He would end up leading 163 laps in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet.
At one point, opened up a four-second advantage over his nearest rival.
But an innocent gaffe on a pit stop on Lap 151 cost him valuable time and track position when the rear tire changer’s air hose, which caught the left-rear corner of Stewart’s car. The air hose was pulled out of the pits and into the stall ahead of the No. 14 team before it snapped loose and crew members were quickly able to pull it back into their reach.
NASCAR officials took note and penalized Stewart for illegally removing equipment from his pit stall.
Stewart would have to do a pit lane drive through at 45 m.p.h. and the resulting loss of track position was enormous. Instead of being the leader, he was back in 24th. Stewart wound up finishing second, and the winner was Carl Edwards.
“That’s a race we should’ve won,” Stewart said. “Winning in Sprint Cup is hard enough as it is, and when you have a race like that and you’re not able to close the deal, especially at a track where you haven’t won yet, that’s hard.
“I wasn’t really in any mood to appreciate it right after the race, or even when I was in the media centre talking about it. But on the flight home, and then Tuesday at the shop when I saw all the guys and we had our competition meeting, the anger went away.
“To be mad about a second-place finish – that’s a good problem to have.”