New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 14, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
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Cutoff for The Chasf
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SPONSOR OF THE NASCAR PAGE► lf you have a question or a comment, write: NASCAR This Week, c/o The Gaston Gazette, PO. Box 1893, Gastonia, NC 28053
I IIT LET
Race: Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen
Where: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International (2.45 miles). 90 laps/220.5 miles.
When: Sunday. Aug. 14 Last year's winner: Tony Stewart
Qualifying record: Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 124.580 mph, Aug. 8, 2003.
Race record: Mark Martin, Ford, 103.300 mph. Aug. 13, 1995.
Last week: What could be more fitting at Indianapolis Motor Speedway than Tony Stewart climbing yet another fence? By winning the Allstate 400, Stewart climbed not only a fence but also his highest mountain. "This,” said Stew
art, “is everything I ever wanted or dreamed of. lf I die tomorrow. my life’s complete.” He had raced in five Indy 500s and six Brickyard 400s (the title of this race prior to this year) without ever winning. Stewart put together a day that was almost perfect. He took the point lead away from Jimmie Johnson and now leads for the first time since he won the championship in 2002. It was his fourth victory in a span of six races and his seventh straight top-10 finish. In short, with 15 races re maining in the season and five until the postseason race-offs, Stewart staked his claim as the favorite for the championship.
Race: Zippo 200 Where: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International (2.45 miles), 82 laps/200.9 miles.
When: Saturday, Aug. 13 Last year’s winner: No race since 2001, when Ron Fellows won.
Qualifying record: Scott
Pruett, Ford, 121.052 mph. July 7,2001.
Race record: Terry Labonte, Chevrolet, 91.468 mph. June 30. 1996.
Last week: Martin Truex Jr., in a Chevrolet, won the Kroger 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park.
Race: Toyota Tundra 200 Where: Nashville Superspeedway, Gladeville, Tenn. (1.333 miles), 150
When: Saturday, Aug. 13 Last year’s winner: Bobby Hamilton
Qualifying record: Bobby Hamilton Jr., Dodge. 160.990 mph. Aug. 14, 2004.
Race record: Scott Riggs, Dodge, 132.466 mph, Aug. IO. 2001.
Last week: Dennis Setter, in a Chevrolet, won the Power Stroke Diesel 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park.
Sirius Satellite Radio 9 The
Distance: 2.45 mile road course
Mlles/Laps:....220.5 mi. - 90 laps
► Tony Stewart's Allstate 400 victory was the feel good story of the summer. It underlined what has been obvious for the entire season: Stewart, always supremely talented, has matured and come into his own.
► Dale Earnhardt Jr., after winning at Chicagoland and putting together three straight top-10 finishes, has lost the momentum he gained with a pair of disastrous finishes. Earnhardt’s back is against the wall as he tries to make the Chase in the final five regular-season races.
► It was also a disastrous weekend for Jimmie Johnson, whose car didn’t make it through inspection in time to qualify. As a result, Johnson started near the back of the field, crashed in the race and was badly shaken when a tire failure sent his Chevy hard into the wall.
► Stewart’s father, Nelson, said he hoped his son would return to the Indianapolis 500. “I've never said never yet," Stewart said. "We ll cross that bridge down the road.”
► When Kasey Kahne won for the first time earlier this year, Stewart said he was honored that Kahne beat him for his first victory. Kahne returned the favor. “Tony was OK with me beating him in Richmond, so I guess I’m OK with him beating me at Indy.” he said.
► No one understood what Stewart’s victory meant more than his crew chief, Greg Zipadelli. "lf the people at home knew what the first six years of a roller coaster it was at the Brickyard 400, they'd understand how important this was to this team," he said.
► The current hot streak — four victories in a span of six races — has created a transformation in the fans. Stewart has quieted his detractors in the grandstands and become, almost overnight, one of the sport’s most popular figures.
Tony Stewart Nextel Cup Series No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet
The Man to Beat
John Clark/NASCAR This Week
Tony Stewart is flying high right now, having taken over the points lead after winning at his favorite track, Indianapolis.
Stewart has won four of the past six races to vault into points lead
By Monte Dutton
NASCAR This Week
INDIANAPOLIS — When Tony Stewart said he would trade his 2002 championship for just one victory at the Brickyard, he knew he wouldn’t actually have to do it.
Now, thanks to Stewart’s victory in the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he could be well on his way to a second title.
At age 34, Stewart, the 1999 Raybestos Rookie of the Year, has already won 23 races. More to the point, four of them have occurred in his last six tries. When the Columbus, Ind., resident won the Nextel Cup race in his home state, he realized a lifelong dream.
“You know,” Stewart said, “you dream about something for so long,
you become consumed by it. ... It’s hard to take the emotion out of this race.
“When you have something like this so big happen in your life, you really just don’t want that day to end. There’s so much pressure I put on myself to do well here, just because of the history of the place and being so close and growing up around it. It’s hard for people who didn’t grow up in Indiana and haven’t grown up around racing to understand what it really means to be a driver from Indiana.”
Stewart became the first Indiana-born driver to win a NASCAR race at Indy, although the event’s only fourtime winner, Jeff Gordon, spent his teen-age years in the state after moving from California.
After trailing Jimmie Johnson by
66 points entering the race, Stewart left with a 75-point edge, marking the first time he’s led the Cup points race since he completed his championship season.
Stewart won the annual NASCAR race at Indy in his seventh try. He also competed five times in the Indianapolis 500 without winning.
But this time Stewart handled the stress well.
“It’s the most relaxed I’ve seen him in seven years,” said longtime crew chief Greg Zipadelli, “and ifs the most relaxed I’ve seen him all season. It’s the first time in seven years I’ve seen him that he can enjoy himself and realize what he’s capable of and enjoy those accomplishments.”
Contact Monte Dutton at [email protected]
At first, Stewart wasn’t happy with NASCAR at Indy
When stock cars raced at Indi anapolis for the first time in 1994, Tony Stewart wasn’t too happy about it. At the time, Stewart had no idea he would wind up racing stock cars himself. “I said, ’Indy cars are the only thing that should be on the racetrack. That's the way it’s always been; that's the way it always should be.' I was one of the guys who ‘boohooed’ then," Stewart admitted.
Junior continuos to load NASCAR popularity contest
Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues to lead the fan balloting for the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award, with more than 4 million votes cast. Trailing Earnhardt are Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart. The official voting site is www.mostpopu-lardriver.com. Balloting continues until 11:59 a.m. on Nov. 21.
Earnhardt conspiracy? Don’t malts ma laugh
Why does everyone think a conspiracy is involved when It comes to (Dale) Earnhardt Jr. and ‘The Chase’? The fact is, he’s not going to make it. No way.
Plenty of folks out there believe that NASCAR will do anything to get him in the final playoff, but the fact is the guy can’t do much on the track anymore, even if he is getting help from the officials. ...
I think he’s been exposed for what he really is: Nothing without the help of a good crew chief!
Thanks for letting us know how you feel.
Jeff Gordon vs. Mike Bliss
Incredibly, the two former sprint-car drivers clashed again, with Gordon as the aggressor. It didn't cause a crash this time, just a testy moment as Gordon tried to keep his Chase hopes alive. "There’s a magnet on the cars, I guess," said Gordon. “This was a reverse of the last situation. We were being real aggressive. I dove my nose in there and felt like I was inside of him, probably like he thought he was inside of me at Chicago. I’m just glad both of us made it through and worked through it.”
NASCAR This Week's Monte Dutton gives his take: “This time the two got together without notable consequence, and as far as we know, there was no confrontation at a nearby airport."
All times Eastern Nsxtsl Cup
Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen, I p.m., Sunday
2 p.m., Saturday
Toyota Tundra 200, cha*mn. 5 p.m.. Saturday