Tony Stewart, driving the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, returned to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Oral-B 500 on Sunday night starting in the 12th position and would make it up to 4th in the opening 100 of the scheduled 325 laps.
Trouble for Stewart began on the restart on Lap 122 when Kyle Busch, driving the #18 M&M’s Toyota, came around and moved up high into the path of Stewart forcing the #14 Chevrolet into the outside wall. Stewart received the brunt of the damage as Busch’s car also received damage to the right rear.
“We just got run over big-time!” Stewart said over the radio to his crew. “I hit the wall pretty hard there.”
Stewart told the crew his steering wheel is ‘about an inch to the left.’ He then fell from 11th to 19th before being able to stop to make repairs, the first of several stops to repair damage to the right front.
Then on Lap 172, Stewart blew a right front tire, propelling the #14 Chevrolet into the Turn 2 wall and then to the garage for subsequent repairs.
“Sorry guy, you deserve better than this,” Stewart radioed his crew.
Stewart declined an interview after bowing out of the race early finishing in the 41st spot, but crew chief Chad Johnston said, “I went into today with some pretty good hopes of finishing well and possibly coming out here with a win. And it just didn’t work out in our favor.”
Stewart’s next chance to try to gain entry into the Chase for the championship will be the final race of the regular season at Richmond International Raceway for the Federated Auto Parts 400, Saturday, Sept. 6 at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.