Dramatic Turn: Tony Stewart’s Triumph at Dover Surprises NASCAR Fans, Juan Pablo Montoya Claims Second
“Smoke” hasn’t exactly had a magical start to the season.
The three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion – and his team – sputtered out of the gates this year with a mere two top ten finishes, a season-best seventh place result and no win since Daytona last July.
This past weekend, however, Dover shattered that storyline.
Powering past fellow Oakley driver Juan Pablo Montoya with three laps to go, Tony Stewart blazed his way to a glorious victory and effectively snapped his 30-race winless streak.
“Our guys have never given up,” Smoke said. “There’s been a lot of dejected guys all year and disappointed guys all year…but nobody is walking around with their heads down. They are all trying to find a solution and that’s what makes days like today so special is when you have guys that just do not quit and they refuse to give up.”
It was a valiant effort.
Starting way back in 20th place on Lap 100, he managed to creep up to 15th halfway through the event. And while a positive signal, it was hardly a noteworthy event…for the time being, that is.
Flash forward, and the racing veteran picked up speed – clawing his way up the board to a pivotal moment with 19 laps to go.
Capitalizing on a black flag on Jimmie Johnson for jumping a restart, Smoke’s pit strategy paid dividends as he moved into a position to pounce.
With three laps left, he clipped Juan Pablo on the outside and into the lead – charging his way to an impressive victory despite less-than-ideal odds through the weekend.
“This means more to me going from where we were Friday to where we are today than having a weekend where we show up and we are quickest in practice, sit on the pole and everything goes right all weekend,” he added. “It’s much harder to do it the way that we just had to do it over the last 48 hours.”
Safe to say, Stewart-Haas Racing is now back on track.