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Home Depot Racing Team Forced to Backup Car After Crash in Practice
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Tony Stewart crashed his primary Home Depot Chevrolet midway through this morning's practice session at Chicagoland Speedway. He cut a right front tire upon entering turn four of the 1.5-mile oval, making a hard right side impact with the turn four retaining wall. The #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Team will now race Chassis No. 100 in Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400. This is just the second time in its six-and-a-half year existence the #20 team has had to use its backup race car following a crash in practice. The only other time where its backup race car was used due to a crash in practice was last year at Chicagoland. There, in the morning practice session, Stewart hit oil in turn three, spun, and impacted the turn three wall with the left side of the race car. Stewart went on to win last year's race at Chicagoland in his backup race car. Following today's crash, Stewart was evaluated in the infield care center. While Stewart was awake, alert and able to walk on his own, medical personnel determined that further examination was needed at St. Joseph's Hospital in Joliet. There, Stewart underwent precautionary X-rays. All tests came back negative. J.J. Yeley, driver of the #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series, qualified the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet a respectable 13th for the USG Sheetrock 400. The sophomore Busch Series driver toured the 1.5-mile oval in 29.006 seconds with an average speed of 186.168 mph. Yeley was fitted into the seat of the #20 car and was able to make two mock qualifying runs before today's practice session ended. In his first career Bush Series start last year at Chicagoland, Yeley led 25 laps before a late race pit stop dropped him to ninth. With Yeley qualifying the #20 car, Stewart will start the USG Sheetrock 400 from the 43rd and last position. The benefit of Yeley making a qualifying attempt was for the #20 team to obtain the best pit selection possible. Stewart will drive the #20 car in tomorrow's two practice sessions and in Sunday's race. "My guys had to work and their efforts got us a 13th in qualifying trim," said crew chief Greg Zipadelli. "So our pit pick is a little bit better than if we didn't do it. "And most importantly, we did the drill. We put somebody else in who hadn't been in our car and we just missed the top-10 in qualifying. So, I'm proud of my guys. I think a big part of it is keeping our momentum going, but also keeping our confidence that we can do what we need to do. That's important this time of year. "If Tony's not feeling up to it, we won't run that much tomorrow," added Zipadelli. "We'll let J.J. run some and go from there. We'll just keep J.J. as a backup driver. He's done a great job for us. If he's got a good race track, this is one of them. He just tested two days up here in his Busch car. He was really good this morning and really comfortable. He got in our car and did a great job. I wouldn't think twice about anybody else."
The History of Chassis No. 100This was a brand new race car at the spring Atlanta race, and as the 100th chassis built by JGR, it marked a small milestone in the company's 14-year history. Prior to the Atlanta race, Chassis No. 100 saw track time via pre-season tests at Las Vegas (Jan. 31-Feb.1) and California (Feb. 2-3). Its second career start came at the spring Dover race, where a late race pit road speeding penalty thwarted a potential top-10 effort.