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TONY STEWART - 2014 Daytona II Race Report
Event: Coke Zero 400 (Round 18 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 12th/40th (Running, completed 45 of 112 laps)
Point Standing: 20th (465 points, 186 out of first)
Winner: Aric Almirola of Richard Petty Motorsports in a rain-shortened race (Ford)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished 40th in the rain-postponed Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Stewart was collected in a multicar accident on lap 20 of what eventually became a 112-lap event when rain cut the race short of its scheduled 160-lap distance.
“The No. 17 car (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) got sideways on the lap that we’re all getting a competition caution,” said Stewart, a four-time winner of the Coke Zero 400 (2005, 2006, 2009 and 2012). “It didn’t make much sense to me. We were in good shape with our Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevy, so it’s just dumb to be in this position this early.”
Stewart qualified 12th for the Coke Zero 400, which was postponed by NASCAR until Sunday due to rain Saturday night. Light showers delayed Sunday’s scheduled start time of 11 a.m. EDT and eventually forced NASCAR to display the red flag, temporarily halting the race. Stewart was in eighth place when green-flag racing began on lap 13 and took the lead just four laps later. He led three circuits around the 2.5-mile oval and was near the front just before the accident that collected him and 15 others.
The Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited team spent several laps in the garage making extensive repairs to the No. 14 Chevrolet. Stewart returned to the track in 40th place in an effort to pick up positions as attrition progressed. Rain showers that passed over the track after the halfway point, however, brought the race to an official conclusion before Stewart could take advantage.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 40th and finished third after leading three times for 36 laps. It was his fourth top-five this season and his 11th top-five in 28 career Sprint Cup starts at Daytona.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Florida Lottery/GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 29th and finished eighth for her second top-10 this season. It was Patrick’s 64th career Sprint Cup start and her fifth at Daytona.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 13th and finished 39th after being collected in the same accident that claimed Stewart. Harvick also spent several laps in the garage for repairs before eventually returning to finish the race.
Aric Almirola won the Coke Zero 400 to score his first career Sprint Cup victory.
Brian Vickers finished in the runner-up spot behind Almirola as the race ended under caution with heavy rain beginning to soak the racetrack. Busch, Casey Mears and Austin Dillon rounded out the top-five. Denny Hamlin, Michael McDowell, Patrick, Clint Bowyer and Marcos Ambrose comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were six caution periods for 29 laps with 14 drivers failing to finish.
With round 18 of 36 complete, Harvick leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He is 11th with 514 points, 137 behind series leader Jeff Gordon. Stewart is 20th with 465 points, 186 out of first. Busch is 24th with 422 points, 229 out of first. Patrick is 27th with 358 points, 293 out of first.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Camping World RV Sales 301 on Sunday, July 13 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by TNT beginning with its prerace show at noon.