Smoke Celebrates in the Rain

Via @jim_utter

Tony Stewart wins the first rain shortened race at Auto Club Speedway. The race had its one and only caution come out on lap 123 for the rain that slowly moved in and ended our race. The only real racing we saw that featured a real battle was when halfway in the race was upcoming and the looming rain that everyone was murmuring about was advancing in the distance.

No race fan wants to see a rain shortened race because that race takes an exciting finish out of picture because of rain. We’ve only had five races this season and two already have had rain involved. The Daytona 500 was postponed till Monday which was the other rainy race of the season. In 2011 the first race that had rain involved wasn’t until Watkins Glen in August.

The three green flag pit stops that occurred during the duration of the rain shortened event saw few mistakes and not too much advancement in position. Kyle Busch led most of the first 75 laps then eventually passed by Tony Stewart.  Around lap 100, when teams realized we were going past halfway, the race began.

All drivers were aware of the rain that was coming, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon tried to play the rain game but they eventually had to pit and ended up with disappointing finishes of what could have been. The last two pit stops of the day hurt Jeff Gordon and his No.24 team; they occurred two penalties which stripped them of a decent finish. Gordon ended up finishing 26th.

On lap 123 when the final caution came out drivers were offered a chance to pit and Tony Stewart faked the field out when he looked like he was going to pit, that was obviously a questionable move if he had decided to pit. Then at the last second, Stewart made a hard right to join the field once again. The second place driver at the time was Denny Hamlin who followed Stewart down pit road, which would have taken a 2nd place finish from him. Hamlin looked as if he wasn’t going to attempted to stay out once Stewart swerved back out on the track.

Hamlin pitted and ended up finishing 11th.  Less than 30 minutes after they brought the cars down pit road, they called the race and Tony Stewart ended up winning his second race of the season after not winning a race last season until Chicagoland last September. Smoke who is usually cool in the beginning of the season has had a hot start; this defending champion is putting up a fight to defend his crown. A rainy day in Fontana left smoke celebrating in rain.

Results via Nascar.com

FIN

ST

CAR

DRIVER

MAKE

SPONSOR

PTS/BNS

LAPS

STATUS

1 9 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 47/1 129 In Pit
2 2 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries 44/2 129 In Pit
3 14 88 Dale Earnhardt   Jr. Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew / National Guard 41/0 129 In Pit
4 7 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches 40/0 129 In Pit
5 12 99 Carl Edwards Ford Subway 39/0 129 In Pit
6 4 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 38/0 129 In Pit
7 6 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 37/0 129 In Pit
8 13 56 Martin Truex Jr.   Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 36/0 129 In Pit
9 23 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Services 35/0 129 In Pit
10 10 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe’s / Jimmie Johnson Foundation 35/1 129 In Pit
11 1 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 34/1 129 In Pit
12 3 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron’s Dream Machine 32/0 129 In Pit
13 15 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Ford EcoBoost 31/0 129 Running
14 11 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 30/0 129 In Pit
15 5 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Quaker State 29/0 129 In Pit
16 25 22 AJ Allmendinger Dodge Southern California AAA 28/0 129 In Pit
17 24 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 27/0 129 In Pit
18 17 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 26/0 129 In Pit
19 27 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet CertainTeed / Menards 25/0 129 In Pit
20 22 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 24/0 129 In Pit
21 29 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Dewalt 23/0 129 In Pit
22 19 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 22/0 129 In Pit
23 33 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 21/0 129 In Pit
24 8 20 Joey Logano Toyota Dollar General 20/0 129 In Pit
25 28 43 Aric Almirola Ford Medallion Financial 19/0 129 In Pit
26 21 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 19/1 129 In Pit
27 18 10 David Reutimann Chevrolet Accell Construction 17/0 127 In Pit
28 26 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Charter 16/0 127 In Pit
29 40 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 15/0 127 In Pit
30 41 38 David Gilliland Ford 1-800LoanMart 14/0 127 In Pit
31 38 34 David Ragan Ford Front Row Motorsports 13/0 127 In Pit
32 16 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Allstate 12/0 126 In Pit
33 34 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 11/0 126 In Pit
34 42 32 Ken Schrader Ford U.S. Chrome / 1 Less Than 2 Ltd. 10/0 125 In Pit
35 36 249 J.J. Yeley Toyota America Israel Racing 9/0 125 In Pit
36 31 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 8/0 124 In Pit
37 30 26 Josh Wise * Ford Morristown Driver’s Service 7/0 52 In Pit
38 32 98 Michael McDowell   Ford Curb Records 6/0 41 In Pit
39 20 30 David Stremme Toyota @TheNASCARFans 5/0 37 In Pit
40 39 119 Mike Bliss Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing 0 19 In Pit
41 35 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 3/0 18 In Pit
42 43 74 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet Turn One Racing 0 7 In Pit
43 37 33 Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet South Point Hotel & Casino 1/0 2 Out of Race
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