Stewart-Haas Racing Report - Life after Las Vegas

Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR
The Stewart-Haas Racing drivers finished second and fifth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway but neither driver was happy with the end results, a sign that the team is running well and looking for wins.

Tony Stewart, who had the fastest car all day, was left grasping for words to explain his feelings at taking second place. Ryan Newman felt he should have gotten a better finish than fifth which was his highest of the season.

At the end of the day, the Stewart-Haas team left Las Vegas a little richer than they came - at least in the NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings. However, they also left a little disappointed that a win eluded the team.

Stewart not happy with second at Las Vegas

Stewart left Las Vegas with four post-race awards, a second-place finish and a nagging thought of what might have been as a pit road mistake ultimately helped Carl Edwards grab the victory from the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet.

While leading the race, Stewart pitted under green and pulled out from his pit box with a hose still attached to the car. The ensuing penalty left him deep in the field but a fast racecar and a strategic gamble (two-tire pit stop) helped move him back to the front of the field.

On the last pit stop of the race Stewart knew he had to take four tires and the other drivers, knowing how well Stewart had raced on two, chose that path. Stewart’s early success ultimately became his downfall. Carl Edwards outdistanced Stewart who was never able to close the gap and "Smoke" had to settle for second, a spot that left him unhappy, but also tied him with Kurt Busch for the points lead.

Ryan Newman gets 5th at Las Vegas for his best start in several years

Newman battled an ill-handling car all day but Tony Gibson and the #39 Haas Automation Chevrolet team worked tirelessly to make improvements to the handling. As a result, Newman was able to drive to a fifth-place finish.

“It was a good double top-5 for us at Stewart-Haas Racing.” Newman observed after the race. “We really fought back today. We were really loose for 80 percent of the race, but the last two runs when it cooled down, we could just kind of ride. We had a fast racecar – it just took us a while to get the balance right. Once we did, we had a good day and we were able to come out of here with another top-five. This is the best start we’ve had as a team and the best start I’ve had in several years.”

With the good start to the 2011 season for the Stewart-Haas teams, both drivers will be expecting even better results when they hit the short track at Bristol after a week off.

Stewart-Haas Racing Report - Life after Las Vegas Stewart-Haas Racing Report - Life after Las Vegas Reviewed by Rosalie Thompson on Thursday, March 10, 2011 Rating: 5