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Tony Stewart Victorious at Sonoma

Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Driver Leads Final 22 Laps, Inches Closer to Chase Contention 

Date: June 26, 2016

Event:  Save Mart 350k (Round 16 of 36)

Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Location: Sonoma Raceway (1.99-mile road course)

Start/Finish: 10th/1st (Running, completed 110 of 110 laps)

Winner: Tony Stewart of Stewart-Haas Racing (Chevrolet)

To the victor go the spoils.

After winning Sunday’s Save Mart 350k at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, that adage is one Tony Stewart intends to fulfill to the tune of a berth in the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Championship.

Driving the No. 14 Code 3 Associates/ Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), Stewart took the lead with 22 laps to go and sparred with Denny Hamlin on the last lap to score his 49th career Sprint Cup Series win, his third at Sonoma and his first since winning at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on June 2, 2013. This was also Stewart’s eighth Sprint Cup win on a road course, as he has five victories at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

“All of these wins are meaningful – it doesn’t matter where you get them,” said Stewart, now a three-time winner at Sonoma (2001, 2005 and 2016). “We ran close to those guys up front all day. It’s pretty ironic that the last win we got was in a Code 3 Associates car, and I’m proud to do it again. I’m really proud for all of our sponsors – Mobil 1, Bass Pro Shops and everybody.

“I’m excited for Mike (Bugarewicz, crew chief) to get his first win and proud that I could get him a win before the end of the year,” Stewart added. “I’m excited for this team. My guys have been through this whole disastrous roller coaster the last three or four years and never backed down. They’ve never quit on me. There have been days I quit on myself, and they are the guys that send you text messages and call you when you get home like, ‘Hey, this isn’t over.’ I’m proud for them, and it meant more for me to get it for them than for myself.”

Stewart missed the first eight races of the season after injuring his back in a Jan. 31 all-terrain vehicle accident, but NASCAR granted him a medical waiver that made Stewart eligible for the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. To compete for the series championship, Stewart had to win at least one race and secure a position within the top-30 of the championship standings by the 26th race of the season Sept. 10 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. With the victory at Sonoma, Stewart checks one box on his way toward eligibility and seems likely to satisfy the other requirement, as he is only nine points behind 30th-place Brian Scott.

Stewart was fast throughout the race weekend, posting top-10 lap times in both practices Friday, then qualifying 10th on Saturday. It marked his third consecutive top-10 qualifying effort.

Once the green flag waved, Stewart wasted no time in showing his road-racing skills as he drove from 10th to seventh in the opening laps and executed a daring three-wide pass in the turn 11 hairpin.

Stewart held his ground through the first round of pit stops, but he restarted 15th after the lap-38 caution that saw him pit while others stayed on the track or had quicker pit stops.

“We are tight on the right-handers and loose on the left-handers,” Stewart told the crew, who made adjustments to correct the issues during the pit stop.

The No. 14 struggled in race traffic on the restart, and Stewart was only able to make it to 14th by the time he pitted again on lap 70 of the 110-lap race. With 40 laps remaining, the crew told Stewart to “go get them for now” but warned that if the race went caution-free, they might need Stewart to save fuel.

Stewart couldn’t gain much ground, so the team pitted once more with 25 to go. Although he dropped to 32nd, the team gambled that a caution in the final laps would enable Stewart to take advantage of track position and fresher tires. As it turns out, that’s just what happened one lap later when NASCAR threw the yellow for a spring rubber in turn seven.

The caution brought most of the field to pit lane on lap 88, allowing Stewart to move to fourth. As the laps wound down the tension increased for drivers that wrestled their 3,300-pound cars on the 11-turn track in 90-degree temperatures, resting only during three brief cautions in the first 100 laps.

“I can’t ask for any better position that what I am in,” Stewart said before restarting the race in the lead with 20 laps remaining. “I’m going to take what I can get out of this.”

During the final laps, Stewart put on a display of what has made him a power on the NASCAR road courses, holding off hard charges by both Martin Truex Jr. and Hamlin, trading the lead with the latter just once before coming to the checkered flag.

“This place has meant a lot to me,” said Stewart, who has openly acknowledged Sonoma as his favorite track. “If I don’t win another one, it’s cool to win the last one here. If it doesn’t happen again, it’s cool. I’ll be all right if this is the last place I win one. I’m going for more – just for the record. I’m not saying I’m laying down. I’m just saying if that’s the only one I get this year, then I’ll be content. I think you’ve known me long enough, you guys know that I don’t lay down for anything. All you’ve got to do is just give me that little bit of hope, and I’ll run with it.”

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished sixth. It was his 13th top-10 this season and his seventh top-10 in 16 career Sprint Cup starts at Sonoma.

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 10th. It was Busch’s 14th top-10 this season and his eighth top-10 in 16 career Sprint Cup starts at Sonoma.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 19th.

Hamlin finished .625 of a second behind Stewart in the runner-up spot, while Joey Logano, Carl Edwards and Truex rounded out the top-five. Harvick, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were four caution periods for 10 laps, with three drivers failing to finish the 110-lap race.

With round 16 of 36 complete, Harvick leads SHR and the series in the championship standings. He is first with 562 points, 35 ahead of teammate Busch. This marks the fifth straight week SHR drivers have been 1-2 in the championship standings.

Patrick is 24th with 288 points, 89 ahead of 31st-place Regan Smith. Like Stewart, if Patrick can win a race and finish among the top-30 in points following the 26th race of the season, she will earn a Chase berth. Harvick earned a Chase spot via his win March 13 at Phoenix International Raceway, and Busch secured his position via his win June 6 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola on Saturday, 

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As Communication Improves, So Do the Results

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina, (June 21, 2016) – If there is any doubt Tony Stewart still has the desire and ability to win a race in his final year of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, then look no further than the June 12 race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, where the three-time champion posted the fourth-best average running position of 5.2 over 400 miles before finishing seventh.

The Michigan finish, combined with running up front at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway the previous weekend, as well as consecutive top-six qualifying efforts in the last two races, have many asking if there is a rejuvenated Tony Stewart heading to Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway this weekend to drive the Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in Sunday’s Save Mart 350.

Tony Stewart Seventh at Michigan

Even though 2016 is his final NASCAR season, don’t think for a minute that Tony Stewart is doing anything but driving as hard as he ever has in his 18 years of full-time Sprint Cup racing, as evidenced in how he battled Sunday afternoon on the restarts at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

The driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) used a fast car and some great moves during those chaotic restarts to finish seventh in the FireKeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

Qualifying for the FireKeepers Casino 400

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Friday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn by setting the third-fastest lap in qualifying for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Stewart turned a lap of 36.190 seconds at 198.950 mph on the 2-mile oval in the final qualifying round.

Qualifying consisted of three rounds. The first was 20 minutes, with every driver on the track vying to set the fastest lap. The 24 fastest drivers from the first round advanced to the second, 10-minute round and the fastest 12 drivers from that session advanced to the final, five-minute round where they battled for the pole. Positions 1-12 were set by speeds in the final round. Positions 13-24 were set by speeds in the second round. The remaining 40-car field was set by speeds posted by those who did not advance past the first round.

No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Driver Ready for Michigan

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (June 7, 2016) – Few sports attract corporate America’s support as well as NASCAR. For 38 weeks a year, each of 40 drivers carry some type of corporate messaging on their cars or uniforms designed to make their product appealing to the millions of fans at the track or watching on television.

Most corporate support aims for brand recognition ultimately to boost sales. This weekend at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, where Tony Stewart will pilot  the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS in Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, one of his primary sponsors will take a little bit of a different sponsorship strategy.

Stewart’s Good Pocono Race Weekend Goes Bad

After qualifying a season-best sixth and running strong in the practice sessions leading up to Monday’s rain-postponed Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Tony Stewart was poised for a strong finish. Unfortunately, an accident derailed those chances, leaving Stewart a disappointing 34th. 

Stewart was a stalwart among the top-10, but following a lap-93 restart, cars stacked up through turn one of the 2.5-mile triangle. As the field exited the corner, the jockeying intensified. Stewart got loose and tangled with his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate Danica Patrick, slapping the outside SAFER Barrier.  

No. 14 Team Boasts Plenty of Pennsylvania Representation This Weekend at Pocono

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (May 31, 2016) – Few people are likely to list the state of Pennsylvania among the top producers of NASCAR talent, but on Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), the Keystone State is well represented with three crew members.

The three Pennsylvanians who work on Stewart’s Chevrolet say this weekend’s Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway is one of the most important of the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. Each began racing in the area and could think of nothing better than to win in front of the homefolks Sunday afternoon at the “Tricky Triangle.”

Tony Stewart 24th in Coca-Cola 600

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished 24th in his 18th and final Coca-Cola 600 Sunday at Charlotte (N.C) Motor Speedway.

Stewart qualified 21st but started 39th in the 40-car field after NASCAR cited the team for an unapproved body modification during prerace.

When the green flag flew in the late afternoon sun, Stewart rushed toward the front, climbing to 25th by the lap-25 competition caution. Unfortunately, that was the only caution in the first 115 laps. The leaders’ fast pace put Stewart a lap down at lap 87 as he raced in 24th.

“The car feels like it is up out of the track,” Stewart reported while manhandling his machine as it struggled in the center of the track’s 24-degree banked corners.

Qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600

Date: May 26, 2016

Event: Qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 (Round 13 of 36)

Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)

Pole Winner: Martin Truex Jr. (28.077 seconds at 192.328 mph)

SHR Lineup:        

Kevin Harvick (8th, 28.381 seconds at 190.268 mph)

Kurt Busch (13th, 28.404 seconds at 190.114 mph)

Danica Patrick (19th, 28.492 seconds at 189.527 mph)

Tony Stewart (21st, 28.543 seconds at 189.188 mph)

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Thursday at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway by setting the eighth fastest lap in qualifying for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Harvick turned a lap of 28.381 seconds at 190.268 mph on the 1.5-mile oval in the final qualifying round.

Qualifying consisted of three rounds. The first was 20 minutes, with every driver on the track vying to set the fastest lap. The 24 fastest drivers from the first round advanced to the second, 10-minute round and the fastest 12 drivers from that session advanced to the final, five-minute round where they battled for the pole. Positions 1-12 were set by speeds in the final round. Positions 13-24 were set by speeds in the second round. The remaining 40-car field was set by speeds posted by those who did not advance past the first round.

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 13th with a time of 28.404 seconds at 190.114 mph.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 19th with a time of 28.492 seconds at 189.527 mph. 

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 21st with a time of 28.543 seconds at189.188 mph.

Martin Truex Jr. led the final round of knockout qualifying by taking the pole with a lap of 28.077 seconds at 192.328 mph. It was his ninth career Sprint Cup pole, his first at Charlotte and his second of the season.

Joey Logano will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 28.124 seconds and 192.007 mph.

The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Harvick, Carl Edwards, Trevor Bayne, Paul Menard and Chase Elliott. All are listed in the order they’ll start the race.

The Coca-Cola 600 gets underway at 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday with live coverage provided by FOX.

No. 14 Chevrolet Honors Fallen Serviceman Paul D. Karpowich

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (May 24, 2016) – Tony Stewart on Sunday enters his final Coca-Cola 600 – the longest race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule – as a two-time winner at Charlotte (N.C) Motor Speedway but yet to visit victory lane in the 600. That hasn’t escaped the three-time champion’s attention.

“Any time you win a race at Charlotte, it’s big,” Stewart said. “It’s a speedway with a lot of history and, obviously, the Coca-Cola 600 is a huge event. I’m a big fan of shorter races nowadays, but the 600 is truly a special event with it being on Memorial Day weekend and the history of the 600, back to when it was known as the World 600. There’s just a lot of tradition that surrounds the month of May in Charlotte. So, this is a big race. It’s an important race to win.”

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