Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sweet! Tony Stewart duels Edwards in final sprint to win first driver/owner victory at Pocono.


That's Smoken it.
(Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR via Yahoo Sports)

Who would have thought it, it was last July that Tony Stewart not only made the announcement that he was leaving Joe Gibbs Racing, but announced that he was going to owner his own team Stewart-Haas Racing. My first reaction as a Tony Stewart fan was the same as what I said when Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he was leaving DEI to join Hendrick Motorsports, “I support whatever move he makes.”

Tony Stewart never just settles, you knew that when he became part owner of Stewart-Haas Racing that he was going to bring in new people, make changes, put people in the right places and go for victory.

Tony Stewart had been knocking on the door for several races including not only winning the 2009 NASCAR All-Star race last month at Lowes’ Motor Speedway in a late race pass by Matt Kenseth to win, but recorded a few second place finishes including a huge duel with Johnson last weekend at Dover.

However leave it to Tony to start 43rd at Pocono after having crashed his primary car in the first practice, (what a crash too, it’s been a while since I have seen a crash like that at Pocono) and race his way to the front in a race that became somewhat of a sleeper at times because of its long and drawn out green flag runs to beat Carl Edwards off pitroad for the final restart, save fuel by letting off the gas petal a ways away from the corner and coast in not using the brake petal and seal the deal, Tony Stewart winning the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway.

I have to say, there were three key observations I noticed during the 500:
First that the double-file restarts, while the rule change is still new, I am beginning to like it already and it does alter the outcome just a little bit. The double-file restarts makes the restart a lot better, no laps cars on the inside, no need to clear that one long drag racing lap car to go after the lead and it’s worth noting that on the last restart, smoke choose to lineup the outside line, rather than the inside line, it worked.

Second, I have to say that with the exception of dinger (and the animation graphics throughout the race) and the constant ads throughout the race, I enjoyed the NASCAR on FOX broadcast for the Cup Series races, so going into Pocono, I dreaded the NASCAR on TNT broadcasts, however and yes there are some exceptions like the broadcast crew of Weber, Dallenback and Petty, their just no magic in that booth, I enjoyed the TV Broadcast. The pit reporters where great, right on top just about everything, no weird animations, going through the field several times including before lap 20 and the free racebuddy on NASCAR.com. The broadcast worked, but still magic in that TNT booth.

Third, In the final moments of the Pocono 500, what a way Tony Stewart saved fuel, I mean he used no brakes, which is key in saving fuel, rolled out of the throttle very early before the corners, coasted in and then gently applied the throttle again only to do it all again in the next corner, what a way to say fuel. Of course Tony did come over the radio at one point and say I hate racing like this, for the most part I hate seeing it, but it was needed for the victory. Smoke must have taken lessans for the Carl Edwards who has won his fail share of fuel economy races including Texas last fall and Homestead.

Congratulations to Tony Stewart on grabbing your first career driver/owner victory at Pocono in the Sprint Cup Series race, I can’t wait to see what he does at Michigan next weekend.