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Stewart's Lap 72 spin a precursor of craziness

August 13, 2012, Seth Livingstone, Special to NASCAR.COM, NASCAR.com



Stewart's Lap 72 spin a precursor of craziness

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- It hadn't been an easy afternoon for Tony Stewart, but things were looking up.

UPS... Game Changing Moments

Stewart had bounced back from an early-race penalty and charged from 25th to second when he became the first of several drivers to spin late in the Finger Lakes 355. Stewart's mishap came on the tail end of Lap 72 as he came out of Turn 7, heading for the front stretch. It instantly transformed him from contender to a 19th-place finisher.

Video: Stewart spins while running up front

Stewart had been calm and cool even after his team was penalized for removing equipment -- the gas can -- from their pit stall after his stop on Lap 27. "We've come back from [mistakes like] this before. There's plenty of time," Stewart told his crew on the radio.

And sure enough, the three-time Cup champion was stalking race leader Brad Keselowski until Stewart's crash left the No. 14 Chevrolet with serious rear-end damage. If there was a silver lining, it was that Stewart narrowly missed the retaining wall at the entry of pit lane.

Stewart's spin seemed to come out of nowhere. There was no telling if it was a precursor to the craziness in the closing laps when drivers complained of oil in random locations on the track.

Stewart dropped two spots in the standings but remains solidly in position to make the Chase, sitting eighth, 63 points ahead of the 11th-place driver, Kasey Kahne.

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