Home Depot Racing Team Report: Talladega Fall 2005

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Round 29 of 36
UAW-Ford 500

Car No.: 20 — Joe Gibbs Racing Home Depot Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Teammates: Bobby Labonte in the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet & J.J. Yeley in the #11 FedEx Chevrolet*

(*J.J. Yeley's addition to Joe Gibbs Racing for the New Hampshire race places two United States Auto Club (USAC) Triple Crown champions on the same team. Stewart won the Triple Crown in 1995, while Yeley won it in 2003. Stewart and Yeley are the only two drivers in USAC history to win the Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown championships in a single season.)
Primary Team Members
Driver: Tony Stewart Crew Chief: Greg Zipadelli
Car Chief: Scott Diehl (pronounced "Deal") Engine Builder: Mark Cronquist
Engine Specialist: Jarrad Egert (pronounced "Egg-ert") Spotter: Mark Robertson

Over-The-Wall Crew Members
Gas Man: Jeff "Gooch" Patterson Front Tire Changer: Ira-Jo Hussey
Catch Can: Brian "Shaggy" Larson Front Tire Carrier: Tom Dean
Windshield: Scott Geerts (pronounced "Gurtz") Rear Tire Changer: Todd Foster
Jackman: Chuck White Rear Tire Carrier: Jody Fortson

Other Crew Members
Truck Drivers: Scott "Scooter" Crowell Frank Hodel
Tire Specialists: Jerold Shires and Bill Byrne Brake Specialist: Jason Shapiro
Shock Specialist: Ronny Crooks and Dave Hansen Engineer: Adam Stevens

Chassis No. 70
This car debuted in the 2003 Daytona 500 and was responsible for Stewart's first top-10 Daytona 500 finish - seventh. It didn't fare well in its next two races, as it was caught up in accident at Talladega in April to finish 35th. Its next race came at July in Daytona, where it finished an uncharacteristic 21st. It rebounded at Talladega in September with a strong third-place finish. The 2004 Budweiser Shootout marked its fifth career start, but it was the only action Chassis No. 70 saw in 2004. But after visiting the wind tunnel and testing at Daytona Jan. 11-13, Chassis No. 70 was chosen as the primary car for this year's Daytona 500. There, it won its Gatorade Duel qualifying race to secure the fourth starting spot for the Daytona 500. And in the 500, Chassis No. 70 led seven times for a race-high 107 laps before finishing seventh. It resumed its up-front ways at the spring Talladega race, where it finished second to race winner Jeff Gordon. The Pepsi 400 at Daytona, though, was Chassis No. 70's best day. There, in its eighth career start, it dominated, leading a race-high 151 laps from the pole, carrying Stewart to his first point-paying restrictor plate victory and only the second point-paying Daytona victory for Joe Gibbs Racing since Dale Jarrett won the 1993 Daytona 500. The 151 laps led set a record for the most laps led in a 400-mile, 160-lap race at Daytona.
Year Event Start Finish Status/Laps Laps Led Earnings
2005 Daytona (Spring) 4 7 Running/203 107 $389,411
2005 Gatorade Duel (Daytona qualifier) 13 1 Running/60 12 $53,199
2005 Talladega (Spring) 11 2 Running/194 2 $243,616
2005 Daytona (Fall) 1 1 Running/160 151 $368,261
2004 Budweiser Shootout - Daytona 18 7 Running/70 0 $47,000
2003 Daytona (Spring) 8 7 Running/109 6 $310,804
2003 Talladega (Spring) 19 35 Running/156 0 $118,708
2003 Daytona (Fall) 13 21 Running/160 0 $114,128
2003 Talladega (Fall) 11 3 Running/188 0 $163,333
Team History at Talladega Superspeedway
Year Event Start Finish Status/Laps Led Earnings
2005 x-Aaron's 499 11 2 Running/194 2 $243,616
2004 Aaron's 499 37 22 Running/188 6 $114,353
2004 EA SPORTS 500 30 6 Running/188 4 $120,603
2003 Aaron's 499 19 25 Running/156 0 $118,708
2003 EA SPORTS 500 11 3 Running/188 0 $163,333
2002 Aaron's 499 26 29 Accident/180 0 $100,138
2002 *EA SPORTS 500 3 2 Running/188 0 $152,258
2001 Talladega 500 7 2 Running/188 26 $137,630
2001 EA SPORTS 500 37 2 Running/188 0 $104,700
2000 DieHard 500 39 34 Accident/138 0 $53,835
2000 Winston 500 5 27 Running/187 12 $56,465
1999 DieHard 500 8 5 Running/188 10 $59,855
1999 Winston 500 5 6 Running/188 1 $60,875

x-Race length extended due to green-white-checker finish.
*Qualifying canceled due to weather, starting position set via car owner points.

Notes of Interest

  • The UAW-Ford 500 will mark Stewart's 241st career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start and his 14th career Nextel Cup start at Talladega.
  • Stewart comes into Talladega as the fifth-place driver amongst the top-10 drivers eligible for the 2005 Chase for the Championship. Stewart had led the point standings for seven straight weeks, but his 18th place finish last Sunday at Dover (Del.) dropped him out of the lead. With just eight races to go, their point tallies are as follows:
    1. Jimmie Johnson (5,362 points, -0) +5
    2. Rusty Wallace (5,355 points, -7) +2
    3. Ryan Newman (5,350 points, -12) 0
    4. Mark Martin (5,341 points, -21) +3
    5. Tony Stewart (5,339 points, -23) -4
    6. Greg Biffle (5,339 points, -23) -4
    7. Jeremy Mayfield (5,281 points, -81) +1
    8. Carl Edwards (5,259 points, -103) +1
    9. Matt Kenseth (5,238 points, -124) -4
    10. Kurt Busch (5,192 points, -170) 0
  • At this point last year Stewart was ninth in the standings with 5,236 points, 135 markers behind series leader Jeff Gordon. Stewart has scored 103 more points this season than he did last year at this time heading into round 29 of the 36-race season.
  • If the pre-Chase point system were applied to this season (minus the point recalibration for the Chase for the Championship), Stewart would have 4,005 points and a 180-point lead over second-place Greg Biffle.
  • With five wins, a pair of seconds, a trio of fifths, two sevenths, an eighth and only one finish outside of the top-10 in his last 14 races - 18th at Dover last Sunday - Stewart's average finish is fifth.
  • Stewart has scored 13 top-fives and 19 top-10s in the 28 races run this season, tops among Nextel Cup drivers.
  • Get to the Point! - Twenty-eight races into 2005, Stewart is second in bonus points earned with a total of 110. Greg Biffle leads the series with 115 bonus points, while Kurt Busch is third in bonus points earned with 100. Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson are tied for fourth with 75 bonus points apiece, and Matt Kenseth is fifth with a total of 70 bonus points. (Bonus points are awarded only for laps led. Five points are given for leading a lap, while another five points are given for leading the most laps.)
  • Stewart has led the most laps in nine races this year - 107 laps in the Daytona 500, 247 laps at Martinsville (Va.), 97 laps at Michigan in June, 39 laps at Sonoma (Calif.), 151 laps in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, 232 laps at New Hampshire in July, 44 laps at Indianapolis, 83 laps at Watkins Glen and 173 laps at New Hampshire in September. Stewart has led a total of 1,419 laps in the 28 races run this season, the most of any driver. Greg Biffle is second in laps led with 1,050. No other driver has led more than 950 laps.
  • Of the eight races remaining in the Chase for the Championship, Stewart has won at five of those venues - Charlotte, N.C. (10/11/2003), Martinsville, Va. (10/1/2000), Atlanta (3/10/2002), Phoenix (11/7/1999) and Homestead, Fla. (11/14/1999 & 11/12/2000). The only venues where Stewart has yet to record a victory are Talladega (Ala.), Kansas and Texas.
  • Stewart has finished second at Talladega four times (Spring 2005, Fall 2002, Spring 2001 and Fall 2001).
  • Of the 436 laps Stewart has led in the 27 point-paying restrictor plate races he has run, 61 have been at Talladega (14 percent).
  • Of the 557 laps available in the three restrictor plates run thus far in 2005 - 203 laps in the Daytona 500, 194 laps at Talladega in May and 160 laps at Daytona in July - Stewart has led 260 of those laps (46.7 percent). And in those three races, Stewart finished seventh, second and first, respectively, to log an average finish of third.
  • The last restrictor plate race on the Nextel Cup schedule was dominated by Stewart. It was the July race at Daytona, where Stewart won the pole and led all but nine of the race's 160 laps.
  • Stewart has three other Nextel Cup wins in non-point restrictor plate races. All have been at Daytona, with the most recent non-point victory coming in this year's Gatorade Duel. His two other wins were back-to-back triumphs in the Budweiser Shootout (2001 and 2002).
  • "You Must Be a Local" - Two members of The Home Depot Racing Team are from Alabama.
    • Shock Specialist Ronny Crooks is from Hueytown, Ala.
    • Rear Tire Changer Todd Foster is from Birmingham, Ala.
  • Home Depot store #3642, located in Statesville, N.C., will be represented on the lower rear quarterpanel of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet during the UAW-Ford 500. Store #3642 was judged to be the outstanding store of the past week, thereby earning its place on the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing machine.
  • The Home Depot, in partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and the national non-profit organization KaBOOM!, will have their seventh "Racing to Play" playground build on Thursday at Northside Hal Henderson Elementary School in Talladega. There, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Tony Stewart, along with Joe Gibbs Racing crew members, will volunteer their time and energy.

    The "Racing to Play" program identifies and works with 10 organizations in select race markets to build racing-themed KaBOOM! playgrounds in a single day at the organization's site. The program targets organizations that serve children, including those that support at-risk youth and provide positive after-school and learning environments. The first six builds were in Jackson, Mich.; Daytona Beach, Fla.; Markham, Ill.; Indianapolis; Pomona, Calif.; and Richmond, Va., respectively, while the eighth build is scheduled for Oct. 6 at the WyCo Parks & Recreation Center in Kansas City, Kan. Two more builds remain - Oct. 27 in Atlanta and Nov. 10 in Phoenix.

  • - The Home Depot is NASCAR's Home Improvement Warehouse -

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