Stewart-Haas Racing Review—Dover’s Monster Mile Was Not Kind to Stewart and Newman

Tony conducting a presser for his Prelude to the Dream race.
Credit: CIA Stock
The weekend at Dover International Speedway seemed doomed from the start when the Stewart-Haas Racing duo had slow speeds in the first practice session. When qualifying was rained out, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman had to start the race based on those early practice times. Stewart lined up for the race in the 27th spot with Newman right behind him.

On a track that is known as the Monster Mile, the drivers played catch up all day when both battled ill-handling cars and Stewart had the extra burden of losing three laps to a pit road error.

“I’ve never driven so hard for so little,” said Newman after the race. “I’m not trying to beat up the guys because they know and they’re just as frustrated as I am right now. We just couldn’t get it right today. No matter what change we made, we didn’t make our Haas Automation Chevrolet any better.”

The bad finish was more a product of the car than the driver. “We never hit it from lap one,” said Crew Chief Tony Gibson following the race. Whatever adjustments the team made to the car during the race failed to make the improvements Newman needed and he was never able to make up his lost laps.

Newman finished the race in 28th place, two laps down to the leaders and took a hit in the NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings where he dropped from sixth to seventh. He now has 340 points and is 76 behind series leader Carl Edwards.

Stewart’s day was worse than his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate when the changes the team made on the first pit stop, a competition caution, failed to make the car better. Stewart was close to getting lapped when he pitted on lap 109 for a routine stop.

Unfortunately for the No. 14 team, no fuel went into the car and Stewart had to pit again at lap 116 for gas. Stewart at that point was three laps down and his day was doomed. Stewart battled an uncooperative racecar and ended up six laps behind the leaders in 29th.

On a day when both drivers were happy to see the checkered flag wave and end their misery, Stewart dropped three positions to 10th in the standings. He has 328 points and is 88 points back of Edwards.

Matt Kenseth won the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks to score his 20th career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his second at Dover.
Stewart-Haas Racing Review—Dover’s Monster Mile Was Not Kind to Stewart and Newman Stewart-Haas Racing Review—Dover’s Monster Mile Was Not Kind to Stewart and Newman Reviewed by Rosalie Thompson on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 Rating: 5