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SHR cars find all kinds of trouble at Kentucky

July 01, 2012, Jarrod Breeze, NASCAR.com



SHR cars find all kinds of trouble at Kentucky
SPARTA, Ky. -- Fuel injection issues sink Stewart; Newman makes contact, then blows engine

In preparing for a race weekend, Tony Stewart is not one to look ahead. Friday at Kentucky Speedway, Stewart was asked about Daytona.

"That is next week. It's not this week," he retorted. "After Saturday night I will start focusing on Daytona."

"It was going to be a decent night, maybe not a great night points-wise."

--RYAN NEWMAN

Daytona has Stewart's full attention now, and it will surely start with questions as to what went wrong at Kentucky in the Quaker State 400. Stewart's race was ruined nearly as soon as it started as electronic fuel issues relegated him to the garage fewer than 30 laps in.

Ignition problems forced Stewart to the pits under green-flag conditions on Lap 29 but, after taking on fuel, his No. 14 Chevrolet stalled. The crew pushed the car to the garage, where he sat for 32 laps while his team replaced the throttle body.

Stewart returned to the track on Lap 60, but was 35 laps off the pace. He finished 32nd and dropped four spots in the standings to ninth, just eight points ahead of Kentucky winner Brad Keselowski. Stewart has a 42-point advantage on 11th-place Carl Edwards and two wins in his back pocket should the need for the wild card arise.

Ryan Newman fell out of the final wild-card position as Stewart-Haas Racing suffered through a bad night all the way around. Newman encountered myriad problems that ended with a DNF 59 laps shy of the distance, in 34th place. As a result, he dropped to 15th in points and one spot behind Kentucky runner-up Kasey Kahne in the wild-card race, with Kyle Busch holding the other position in 12th place. Newman is 74 points behind 10th-place Keselowski.

Newman qualified fifth and was battling for position just outside the top 10 when his problems began in earnest. On Lap 162, Newman bumped Logano coming out of Turn 4; the contact forced Logano down the track and into Clint Bowyer.

"He [Logano] lost control in the middle of [Turns] 3 and 4. I got into the back of him on accident, but I mean that is part of it. He lost control in the first place," Newman said. "I went to go drive around the outside of him and I don't know if he was halfway blocking me or what. ... Then he raced me really poorly and lack of respect-wise. That doesn't go very far with me, you can see from my past I react to that.

"He's got a few things to learn and I'm going to have to be the one who teaches him."

Logano had a different perspective.

"The 39 car [Newman] just ran all over us in the middle of the front straightaway for no apparent reason. He had a run on us and just ran right into the back of us. That caused me to go down and hit the 15 car [Bowyer] and pretty much ruined both of our nights," said Logano, who finished 22nd.

"I think we had a car that could have finished in the top 10 or just outside of the top 10 and we had it taken away from us by someone else's mistake. That is the frustrating part about it. We had a car that was capable of finishing further up and we just had it taken away from us."

That was only the beginning for Newman, however. The end came when his engine blew on Lap 209, sending the No. 39 Chevrolet spinning into the wall between Turns 1 and 2. The incident proved disastrous for Regan Smith, as well, who couldn't avoid the oil spewing from Newman's car and also found the wall.

"Just something blew up. That was the bottom end of the motor," Newman said. "It was going to be a decent night, maybe not a great night points-wise."

By this time Stewart was running as well as he had all weekend. Despite driving the same chassis that had won at Las Vegas earlier this season and in last year's Chase opener at Chicagoland, Stewart struggled in both practices at Kentucky and qualified in 22nd position.

But the damage had been done to both SHR cars.

"The power has been great, the reliability [Saturday night] wasn't to be the best, but just going to Daytona hopefully we can rebound," Newman said.

Starting now, Stewart is working toward that end. Just don't ask him about New Hampshire. That's two weeks away.

Watch Stewart-Haas Racing's highlights below: