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Sprint Cup - Stewart Indy Race Report

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indianapolis, Jul. 20, 2012: Get Tony Stewart to laud a 10th-place finish and you might want to check the Mayan calendar to see if the apocalypse is near.

Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, onlookers may have done a Google search for “signs of the apocalypse” after Stewart declared he was “proud” of his 10th-place finish in the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

The driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) rallied from his 28th-place starting spot, which resulted from a trying day of practice and qualifying on Saturday that saw Stewart fight with the handling of his racecar, to post his 10th top-10 finish of 2012 and his 10th top-10 in 14 career Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis.

“We just didn’t start the weekend off good enough, but I will say that I’m really proud of Steve Addington (crew chief), Greg Zipadelli (competition director) and all of our engineers and everybody who worked hard last night to make this car what it was today,” said Stewart, a two-time winner of the Brickyard 400 (2005 and 2007). “It was a lot better, but this is where we should’ve unloaded instead of trying to be good for the race. We’ve just got to be better off the truck.”

Despite a Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevy that began the 160-lap race tight through the track’s corners, Stewart wheeled his way into the top-20 after just 14 laps. He hit a setback on lap 74, however, when a pit road miscue – where an errant tire had to be retrieved before the green-flag stop could be completed – dropped Stewart to 32nd.

Again, Stewart rallied, rising to 24th by lap 85, and cracking the top-15 on lap 110.

When the team made its final pit stop while under caution on lap 126, Addington called for a left-rear wedge adjustment that augmented a tweak to the tire pressure. With four fresh Goodyears and a full tank full of fuel, Stewart was set to go the distance with no more stops.

During back-to-back restarts on laps 130 and 141, respectively, Stewart drove his Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevy with authority, manhandling it into the top-10.

“We just were a little bit tight in the center of the corner, and that’s kind of what we fought all day,” Stewart said. “But yesterday we had problems with security in the right rear getting into the corner and being really loose off of it. We got that fixed. We just got too tight in the center of the corner. So I was proud of the gains they made. It was a very inconsistent car yesterday, and it was a very consistent car today.”