Stewart celebrates his first 500 mile Winston Cup
victory, the MBNA America 500 in Atlanta.
Atlanta Motor Speedway: Tony Stewart never looked back after passing Ward Burton's #22 Caterpillar Dodge on lap 303 today. Stewart Dominated the day leading the most laps (143) and swapping lead position 13 times on this day when a new speedway record would go into the books for 34 lead changes among eight different drivers.
Even Kyle Petty led a lap today even though it was during pit stops, but nevertheless Kyle had a good outing in the #45 Sprint Dodge finishing 15th, one spot ahead of Jeff Gordon whose #24 Dupont Chevy was the last car on the lead lap.
Six other cars led laps also including Kurt Busch (59), Matt Kenseth (46), Dale Jr. (38), Ward Burton (20), Ryan Newman (15) and Dave Blaney (2).
Bill Elliot, popular Hometown hero who started on the pole was Passed by Rookie Ryan Newman before the first lap was complete and slowly lost ground until he wrecked on lap 288 due to oil on the track.
There were seven cautions on the day, the first being for debris on the track when Brett Bodine's right rear window popped out and was laying on the track. One was for a piece of paper on the track! The rest were due to oil from engines blowing up (one engine rule?) and accidents, the worst of which involved the #10,9,43 and 25 cars on lap 290.
Shawna Robinson in her BAM Racing Dodge struggled all day but nevertheless finished the race one position ahead of pole sitter Bill Elliott but still 15 laps behind.
Chevys still seem to be a little in the hole and again only two finished in the top ten, that being Dale Jr. and rookie Jimmie Johnson. Johnson said in a post race interview that he and Jeff were finding that they shared a lot in their cars setup but nevertheless Jeff never seemed to get a handle on his setup today and only improved his starting position from 19th to 16th.
**********OTHER NOTES AND QUOTES FROM THE TRACK**********
NASCAR announced today new rules for speeding on pit road. Said Mike Helton, "we're going to change the way we police pit road speed. Starting at Darlington the penalty will be the same whether the speeding occurs coming onto or leaving pit road. The penalty will be a 'pass through' on the next lap. If a car speeds on its penalty pass through there will be a stop and go penalty.
Steve Park held a news conference today and said " the only remaining effect of my injury is my speech so I'll let my right foot do my talking from now on. Steve says his vision is about 98% now from what it used to be and he considers it as good or better than most other drivers. He's run over 600 practice laps at Darlington where he was injured last year in a Busch car and says he has no trepidation about returning to the track. He is unhappy with the fact that his Busch racing detracted from his duties in his Pennzoil Chevy and for the foreseeable future will not be running in the Busch series at all.
Watch this site for more news and further details on the Steve Park interview and a few words from Kyle Petty revealing some of his thoughts on the state of NASCAR today, also from a press conference held at AMS this morning.
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