Tony Stewart Captures Win of 2007! – SCI July 16th Issue

Next stop on the Nextel Cup Schedule is Indianapolis Motor SpeedwayRoughly four years ago, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) was the site for a publicity show down pitting the top NASCAR driver, Jeff Gordon, against one of the top Formula One drivers, Juan Pablo Montoya. Each driver swapped cars for 7 laps on the 2.6 mile road course through the Indy infield. At the day’s end, both drivers, especially Juan, and teams gained a new found respect for the style of racing each series has to offer.In two weeks, Juan Montoya and the rest of the NASCAR Nextel Cup boys descend on Indy to once again showcase their skills. Of the 36 races on the Nextel Cup circuit, The Brickyard 400 ranks in top 5 favorite for many of the NASCAR drivers due to the rich racing history of IMS.Of all current drivers with 2 or more career starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the current points leader, Jeff Gordon, has had the most success. In teno starts at IMS, Gordon has an average finish of 7th.Also expect the following drivers to do well next week:Kevin Harvick – Average Finish 8th
Tony Stewart – Average Finish 8th
Kyle Busch – Average Finish 9th
Carl Edwards – Average Finish 10thNext Week’s Schedule:Nextel Cup Series off until July 29th at Indianapolis Motor SpeedwayBusch Series: @ Gateway International Raceway
7/20/07 – 06:00pm NASCAR Busch Series Busch 250 Practice
7/21/07 – 03:35pm NASCAR Busch Series Busch 250 Qualifying
7/21/07 – 07:30pm NASCAR Busch Series Busch 250 Craftsman Truck Series off until July 27th at O’Reilly Raceway ParkTony Stewart Captures First Win of 2007It was a long time coming for the two-time former champion. No one needed a win more than Tony Stewart entering Sunday’s USG Sheetrock 400. With the revised seeding in the Chase for the Championship this year where drivers are seeded based on wins, a winless Stewart would have found himself in the bottom half of the 12 drivers racing for the championship. Add that to the pressure that’s building in Smoke’s shop with the emergence of Denny Hamlin as a top-level driver, and I’m sure Smoke’s desire for a win was at a boiling point.However, nothing relieves pressure like a win and a small climb up the flagstand. “I’m glad this is over, I’m going on vacation.” said Stewart in the winner’s circle. The win for Stewart, 30th of his career, came in a dominating fashion. The only true contender was Jimmie Johnson who wrecked out late in the race.Let’s hope that Smoke can build on this win and finish the season in the same strong manner he finished 2006. The next race is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a special place to all drivers but especially for Tony. With an average finish inside the top ten, expect Tony to contend for a win at the Brickyard!There’s a Tear in Budweiser’s BeerThe biggest news in NASCAR this year, and perhaps since his late father passed away at Daytona, is Dale Earnhardt Jr’s defection from Dale Earnhardt Inc. The biggest winners in this switch is of course Dale Earnhardt Jr and Hendrick Motorsports while the biggest loser is Budweiser!Dale Jr and Budweiser have been married together since Jr first made the jump to the Cup Series. No other sponsor has been able to brand a driver quite as effectively as Budweiser. Everything from Dale’s hat, suit, car, undies and perhaps, yet unconfirmed, his pee is branded with Budweiser red. Millions have been spent and millions have been made on this famous partnership.While it will certainly be a shock to fans and Jr himself to sport the colors and logos of another sponsor, Budweiser will be reeling. In terms of marketability, Dale Earnhardt Jr is ir-replaceable. There is simply no other driver in NASCAR who can keep pace with Jr’s merchandise sales. And the potential replacement drivers DEI is considering, namely Kyle Busch, are at the bottom of the pole when it comes to marketability.For one of the best sponors in NASCAR’s sake, let’s hope that Budweiser can somehow break from DEI and move to another popular driver. I think I hear Kasey Kahne’s phone ringing right now!USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway RecapFor much of the USG Sheetrock 400 yesterday at Chicagoland Speedway, it was the battle of the home improvement warehouses. Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson ran in the top five for much of the day and battled each other for the lead late in the race. It was all fun and games until a cut tire sent Johnson spiraling out of control and hard into the wall with 45 laps remaining.Bruised and battered, Johnson walked away from the wreckage while an elated Tony Stewart scaled the flagstand to take the checkered. Perhaps the biggest hit Johnson took was in the points. The 37th place finish by Johnson dropped him 3 spots in the points to 7th position. There is now less than 300 points separating Johnson from the 12th place driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr.Other drivers to note:Dale Earnhardt Jr suffered several major setbacks in the USG Sheetrock 400 including the loss of his power steering. However, the ever positive Jr was able to salvage a 19th place finish which was good enough to maintain his 12th place standing in the points.Jeff Gordon had an uneventful day at the USG Sheetrock 400. Battling an ill-handling car for much of the day, Gordon was able to salvage a 9th place finish and increase his lead in the points.Matt Kenseth had a typical Kenseth kind of day. The former champion finished in 2nd place in sits 43 points outside of 2nd place driver Denny Hamlin.Denny Hamlin looked to rebound from a controversial finish at Daytona last week entering the USG Sheetrock 400. While Hamlin didn’t have the success of teammate Stewart did, he was able to finish in 17th and maintain his 2nd place standing in the points.

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