Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, led the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Saturday at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway by finishing 27th in the Irwin Tools Night Race. Stewart was involved in an accident with Matt Kenseth on lap 334 and went on to complete only 471 laps.
SHR driver Danica Patrick, who is driving the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing via a collaborative agreement with SHR, finished 29th after an accident with Regan Smith on lap 434 that damaged her car too extensively to continue.
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet for SHR, finished 36th after being involved in an accident with Juan Pablo Montoya on lap 189. Newman’s car suffered heavy damage and was unable to continue. The finish also dropped him out of the wild-card spot for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with two races to go before the Chase begins Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Denny Hamlin won the Irwin Tools Night Race to score his 20th career Sprint Cup victory, his third of the season and his first at Bristol.
Jimmie Johnson finished 1.103 seconds behind Hamlin in the runner-up spot, while Jeff Gordon, Brian Vickers and Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top-five. Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne and Paul Menard comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were 13 caution periods for 87 laps, with 11 drivers failing to finish the 500-lap race.
With round 24 of 36 complete, Stewart continues to lead the SHR duo in the championship point standings. He fell one spot to 10th and has 746 points, 103 back of series leader Greg Biffle and 16 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne. Newman fell two positions to 15th and has 688 points, 161 behind Biffle and 58 behind 10th-place Stewart.
Only the top-10 in points are locked into the 12-driver, 10-race Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points with the most wins. In the event of multiple drivers having the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.
Kahne holds the 11th-place wild-card spot thanks to his two victories, the most of any driver outside the top-10. Busch vaulted into the 12th-place wild-card spot after Bristol due to his victory April 28 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, combined with his 13th position in the point standings, which is higher than his fellow single-race winners in the top-20 in points – Gordon, Newman, Ambrose and Logano.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the AdvoCare 500 on Sunday, Sept. 2 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at 6:30 p.m.