Tony Stewart is back on the track at the Daytona 500.
But he’s pretty much assured of going 0-for-15 in NASCAR’s biggest race.
Stewart was 82 laps behind the leaders when he rolled out of the garage after an early crash. His frustration was never more evident than when he joined in the repair effort, banging on his No. 14 car with a hammer during the long stint in the paddock.
“To hell with the season,” Stewart said. “I wanted to win the Daytona 500. We had a car that we could pass with today. We were passing cars by ourselves. I was so happy with our car, was just waiting for it to all get sorted out again. I don’t know what started it, but we just got caught up in another wreck.”
Stewart’s misfortune came a day after he won the lower-division Nationwide race _ his 19th career triumph at Daytona.
None of them have come in the race he really wants.
FAMILIAR SPOT: Matt Kenseth is back in a familiar spot.
Leading the Daytona 500.
Kenseth was running out front at the 100-lap mark, halfway through the biggest NASCAR race of the season.
While there’s nothing unusual about Kenseth leading at Daytona, where he’s won two of the last three years, it’s a bit jarring to see him doing it in the No. 20 car.
Kenseth had spent his entire Cup career driving the No. 17 machine for Roush Fenway Racing, but he switched to Joe Gibbs Racing this season. He’s got a new car, a new number, a new sponsor and a new team.
But he still knows how to run strong at Daytona.
_ Paul Newberry _ http://www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963