The on-track action at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday is what keeps auto racing enthusiasts coming back for more. Tony Stewart put on a superb demonstration of driving skill and determination, leading to his decisive victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Kobalt Tools 400. As his first win on this particular track and the first Chevrolet victory for 2012, the three-time defending champion Stewart also clocked up his 45th career win from his seventh position start. The victory, which was Stewart’s first with his new crew chief Steve Addington, puts him seventh in the standings.
Jimmie Johnson took second place, fighting his way to the front from the back of the field in a backup Chevrolet after a mishap with his car in practice the day before the race. Stewart kept his position at the head of the field for the last 30 laps of the race, while Johnson was hot on his heels for the last 17 of those laps, but just could not get past. Chevrolet was strongly represented at the event, with other top-ten finishes for the iconic manufacturer including Ryan Newman in fourth position, Paul Menard in seventh, and Jamie McMurray in eighth place, while Dale Earnhardt Jr.finished the race at number 10.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Kobalt Tools 400 victory will no doubt help to ease the pain of last week’s debacle at Phoenix where he turned his car off to save on fuel and failed to get it to re-fire, resulting in a longer pit stop and his finish in 22nd place. It is thought that the problem may be linked to the new electronic fuel injection system introduced by NASCAR. In a post-race interview, Stewart remarked that he was finally glad to win a race at Las Vegas. This may have been an especially sweet victory for Stewart in light of the fact that he missed a good shot at victory last year by incurring a penalty by leaving his pit stop with an air hose still attached to his car.
The current top ten NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings are: Greg Biffle (125 points); Kevin Harvick (115 points); Denny Hamlin (113 points); Dale Earnhardt Jr. (107 points); Matt Kenseth (102 points); Carl Edwards (102 points); Tony Stewart (100 points); Martin Truex Jr. (98 points; and Mark Martin (97 points).
Tony Stewart continued his winning streak by taking the checkered flag at the 14th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne 50-lap midget car event on New Year’s Eve. Driving the twenty-year old VW-powered Munchkin, Stewart completed the race at 11:04 pm, later noting that the car in which he had claimed seven victories was easy to work with and fun to drive. Stewart ended the year on a high note and added to his list of achievements which include being the fast qualifier in his past ten races, and winning nine times in fourteen career starts.
Although it had an unpromising start, 2011 turned out to be an exciting year for both Stewart and his fans as he claimed his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, with his previous two title wins being in 2002 and 2005. The final race of the NASCAR season turned into a nail-biting duel between Edwards and Stewart, with Stewart crossing the finish line in first place and claiming the championship title.
In a post-race interview, 40-year old Stewart was reported as saying that it was the first time he had raced on New Year’s Eve, and that it was a great way to have finished the year. He also noted that it would be hard to keep up his winning streak, but he anticipates that it will be a lot of fun trying.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Tony Stewart has revealed that he will be part of a four-car “Team of Champions”, along with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Bryan Clauson and Jake Blackhurst, to participate in the 26th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals set to start on 10 January. Driving the Chevrolet Performance Parts Sponsored No. 14 Chevrolet/Spike, which he has dubbed “Back in Black”, Stewart intends to challenge the Esslinger/Ford dominated event. Clauson will be driving a No. 39c Essingler/Spike Indycar/Indy 500 race car, while Stenhouse Jr. will be competing in a No. 39a Esslinger/Spike, and Blackhurst will be driving a No. 39b Esslinger/Spike Kitchen Cooked entry.
As the final race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday offered excitement from start to finish, ending with Tony Stewart taking the checkered flag and the championship title. Having won the NASCAR season championships in 2002 and 2005, this was Stewart’s third championship victory – a victory for which he had to battle against very strong competition. The last 40 laps of the 267-lap event proved to be a duel between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards that kept fans in suspense right to the finish line. Although Stewart and Edwards ended the season tied in points, the championship title went to Stewart because of his five victories during the season, compared with one victory for Edwards.
What made Stewart’s victory even sweeter was the fact that it was not without obstacles. Eearly on in the race he discovered a hole in his car’s front grille forcing him to stop for repairs. His team put a new grille over the damaged one, securing it in place with electrical tape, and sending him on his way again. At one stage Stewart was 40th in the field, but climbed to 5th place before a 74-minute rain delay broke his stride once more. But nothing was going to stand in Stewart’s way as he fought his way to the front of the field, and the battlefor first place became a duel between himself and Edwards.
In a post-race interview, Stewart acknowledged that the first 109 laps of the race had been very challenging and commended his crew for their hard work. Commenting on his daring driving style which saw him passing a trio of cars on the inside of the track, Stewart said:”That shows you how bad I wanted to win this thing.” He also noted that a driver can’t hold anything back when going for a championship.
Martin Truex Jr. finished in third place, with Matt Kenseth taking the fourth spot and Jeff Gordon coming in fifth. Having scored two wins in the season, Jimmie Johnson had a disappointing finish to the season, finishing 32nd due to engine trouble and an incident in lap 143 where he spun out and hit the wall. Nevertheless, Johnson ended in sixth place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings with 2304 points. Both Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards clocked up 2403 points, with Kevin Harvick taking third place with 2345 points, Matt Kenseth at fourth place with 2330 points, and Brad Keselowski in fifth place with 2319 points.
Owned by Gene Haas and Tony Stewart, and based in Kannapolis, North Carolina, Stewart Haas Racing is a NASCAR Sprint Cup race team, running the #14 Office Depot Chevrolet Impala, driven by Tony Stewart, as well as the #39 United States Army Chevrolet Impala, driven by Ryan Newman. Technical support is supplied to the team by Hendrick Motorsports – also a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor. As the name would suggest, the primary sponsor for the #14 car is Office Depot, with additional sponsorship provided by Old Spice and Burger King. The #39 car is sponsored by the US Army, Tornados and Haas Automation.
Gene Haas is the founder and sole owner of Haas Automation, the largest machine tool manufacturer in the US. He was also the founder of the NASCAR race team, Haas CNC Racing, back in 2002. Working as a single car team, Haas CNC Racing entered the Nextel Cup (the predecessor of the Sprint Cup), with the team’s first race taking place on September 30, 2002. The team’s driver at the time was Jack Sprague, and he finished 35th after being involved in a crash during the race. After racing sporadically in the following years, the team moved to Kannapolis in 2006 and started fielding a second car, making its presence known on the NASCAR scene.
In late 2008 it was announced that Haas CNC Racing would join forces with Tony Stewart to form Stewart-Haas Racing, and this took place in January 2009. Tony Stewart notched up the first win for the new team in May 2009, when he took first place in the All-Star race. With an impressive list of achievements, Tony Stewart has been referred to as “one of the finest racers of his generation” in an article appearing in the New York Times in 2008. By March 2010, Stewart had competed in 40 races, with four wins, 15 top-fives, 25 top-tens and one DNF.
The second driver in the team, Ryan Newman, is certainly not short on talent having achieved 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup wins in his racing career, as well as having 7 Nationwide Series wins and one Camping World Truck Series win. With a degree in vehicle structure engineering, and his hobbies including driving and working on vintage cars, Newman is certainly dedicated to the exciting world of auto racing. Fans will no doubt be watching with keen interest as Stewart-Haas Racing tackles the 2010 season, their second as a team.
Haas CNC Racing is now known as Stewart Haas Racing, with Gene Haas and Tony Stewart as joint owners.
Haas CNC Racing is based in Kannapolis, North Carolina and is currently a NASCAR racing team. Gene Haas owns the team as well as Haas Automation Company. There are two cars driven in the NEXTEL Cup series, that being #66 Best Buy Chevy, driven by Jeff Green and the #70 Yellow Transportion Chevy driven by Johnny Sauter. Hendrick Motorsports provides technical and engine support for the team.
The team was only formed in 2002 as part of the R&D team owned by Hendrick. The #60 Haas Chevy and the team had its debut in Kansas. The three races participated in saw the team stand 35th in Kansas, 35th at Rockingham and 30th at Homestead-Miami. The team continued to struggle and soon Sparague was switched for John Andretti who also did not have the best results. Later 5-time Cup winner, Ward Burton was assigned to drive #60.
Pontiac announced its move away from the sport, which meant the team had to move to Chevrolets. Burton gave the team their first top-ten finish at Rockingham, making them not only 9th there but also 9th as a team. These races were followed by a couple of bad races but they re-emerged in 10th place at the California Speedway. In October, another 10th place was made by Ward at the Talladega Superspeedway. Mike Bliss replaced Burton and finished 10th at Darlington ensuring a place for him in the 2005 season. Jeff Green drove #66 Best Buy Chevy in the 2006 NASCAR Nextel cup series where he finished 28th overall. Green will drive again for the team in 2007.
The Busch Series team debuted at Kansas with the #00 Haas Chevy and Jason Leffler as driver. The year 2004 was a good year with the team driving full-time. Leffler managed to grab a pole in California and won at Nashville. The win was not only Leffler’s first but also Haas’ first win; but despite that Leffler left the team and signed up with Joe Gibbs Racing’s Cup program for 2005. Leffler was replaced by Blake Feese but with no good results Haas had to finally merge with Labonte Motorsports for 2005.