Saturday, April 14, 2012
Tony Stewart has off night at TMS
By David Stein
FORT WORTH, Texas -- It was just off.
That was crew chief Steve Addington's simple explanation for Tony Stewart's worst finish of the season Saturday at the Samsung Mobile 500.
In November, Stewart was shooting off guns in the winner's circle at Texas Motor Speedway. At Saturday's Samsung Mobile 500, Stewart never led, never really threatened -- he was never really there.
Stewart finished an unsual week in Fort Worth with a 24th-place finish.
The week started poorly, too. Stewart struggled in his first practice session Thursday, and things got worse when he wrecked his primary car during Friday's practice.
During the race, Stewart moved up a few spots to 19th. After 100 laps, Stewart fell back and never really moved up or down.
Stewart was optimistic during the beginning of the race because his front end was good. The back end was a different story, though. The heavy winds pushed Stewart even more off balance, but Addington said it wasn't the reason they finished poorly.
"Everybody has to deal with it. That's no excuse for the way we ran," Addington said. "We were just off tonight."
Stewart didn't talk to reporters after the race, but Addington spoke about the problems Stewart's team had getting the No. 14 working correctly.
"It was just off," Addington said again. "If I could explain it I could have fixed it. Everybody worked really hard, we just missed the balance on it."
With two wins on the season, Stewart is still in great shape for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, but Addington's team isn't going to just forget about this weekend and move on.
"We're not going to just sweep it under the rug because we won two races," Addington said. "We have to figure out what we're doing when we come back here."
Stewart apologized to his team for wrecking the primary car, but Addington said that wasn't a good excuse, either. Stewart drove that same backup car to victory in the November win at TMS.
"We win as a team and we lose as a team," Addington said. "We're a good enough team that we should be able to drag a car off the trailer and get closer than we did tonight."
The finish moves Stewart down four spots into seventh place in the Sprint Cup standings.