Tony Stewart needs a tremendous rally at Dover to keep his perfect Chase season alive.
Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet has not performed like the car that romped to victories in the first two races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. He was horrible at practice and that carried over into Saturday’s qualifying in Dover, Del., where he turned a lap of 156.760 mph and will start the third Chase race 27 spots behind polesitter Martin Truex Jr.
Stewart’s two wins have only given him a seven-point cushion over Kevin Harvick entering today’s race. With four Chase drivers starting in the top six at the concrete mile, this could be the race where the standings get rattled.
History shows all is not lost for Stewart. He started 27th in the second Dover race in 2000 and won. In the first Dover race in 2009, he finished second after starting 31st. If any driver knows how to work his way through traffic, it’s Stewart.
Truex returned to the site of his only career Cup win and turned a lap of 159.004 mph to win the pole at Dover International Speedway. He crashed the Chase party with his first pole of the season. He won his only career Cup race in 2007 at the Monster Mile.
Chase driver Kurt Busch was second. Paul Menard was third. Chase drivers Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson took the next three spots.
Like Stewart, four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon also struggled during qualifying and starts 34th.
Denny Hamlin, all but out of contention, starts 11th. Brad Keselowski was 15th, Matt Kenseth 18th, Ryan Newman 20th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 21st, and Harvick starts 22nd.
Edwards wins N’wide race
Carl Edwards dominated again at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, winning his seventh race of the season in the Nationwide Series. Edwards completed the season sweep having won the May race at Dover in a wild finish.
He led 179 of the 200 laps at one of his favorite tracks in NASCAR.
Brad Keselowski was second, Clint Bowyer third, and Kasey Kahne fourth. Points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was fifth.
Hornaday wins trucks race
Ron Hornaday picked up his 50th victory in the Trucks Series with a win at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky.
Hornaday held off Austin Dillon over the final 10 laps to beat Dillon to the finish line by .438 seconds.
Hornaday is the winningest driver in Trucks Series history.
Nelson Piquet Jr. was fourth, Brian Ickler fifth, followed by Ricky Carmichael, Todd Bodine, Cole Whitt, Dakoda Armstrong and David Starr.