Home Depot Racing Team Report: Talladega Fall 2006

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Round 30 of 36
UAW-Ford 500

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

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

Primary Team Members
Driver: Tony Stewart Crew Chief: Greg Zipadelli
Car Chief: Jason Shapiro 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: Jason Lee Rear Tire Carrier: Jody Fortson

Other Crew Members
Truck Drivers: Scott "Scooter" Crowell Danny "Gumby" Hiedtke (pronounced "Hide-key")
Tire Specialists: Jerold Shires and Bill Byrne Pit Support: Jerry Cook, Alan Copley, Byron Goggin and Jim Williams
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 an accident at Talladega in April to finish 35th. Its next race came in July at 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 the 2005 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. Chassis No. 70 continued its front-running ways at the fall Talladega race, qualifying fourth and leading 11 times for a race high 65 laps before finishing second in a tight race with Dale Jarrett. Its first race of 2006 proved no different, as it led 15 laps in the Gatorade Duel at Daytona before finishing fifth. Its strong Speedweeks continued in the Daytona 500 where it led 20 laps en route to a fifth-place finish. And there was no let-up at the spring Talladega race, where Chassis No. 70 was in contention all day, qualifying second and leading twice for 11 laps before finishing second. In its return trip to Daytona for the July race, Chassis No. 70 created a sense of déjà vu. It started from the outside front row and led six times for a race-high 86 laps to deliver its second consecutive win in the July race at Daytona.
Year Event Start Finish Status/Laps Laps Led Earnings
2006 Gatorade Duel (Daytona qualifier) 10 8 Running/64 15 $20,283
2006 Daytona 500 15 5 Running/203 20 $529,661
2006 Talladega (Spring) 2 2 Running/188 11 $260,136
2006 Daytona (Fall) 2 1 Running/160 86 $369,586
2005 Gatorade Duel (Daytona qualifier) 13 1 Running/60 12 $53,199
2005 Daytona 500 4 7 Running/203 107 $389,411
2005 Talladega (Spring) 11 2 Running/194 2 $243,616
2005 Daytona (Fall) 1 1 Running/160 151 $368,261
2005 x-UAW-Ford 500 4 2 Running/190 65 $212,361
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
2006 Aaron's 499 2 2 Running/188 11 $260,136
2005 x-Aaron's 499 11 2 Running/194 2 $243,616
2005 x-UAW-Ford 500 4 2 Running/190 65 $212,361
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 278th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start, his 16th career Nextel Cup start at Talladega and his 32nd start in a point-paying restrictor plate race.
  • Stewart is currently 11th in the Nextel Cup point standings with 3,722 points, 270 points ahead of 12th place Greg Biffle. Stewart maintained his position after his win last Sunday at Kansas. At this point last year (where the points were recalibrated for the Chase for the Championship) Stewart was first in the standings with 5,519 points, four points ahead of second-place Ryan Newman. Last year, Stewart won the championship.
  • What If... there was no Chase and the points weren't readjusted following the Sept. 9 race at Richmond? How would the top-10 currently look?
    1. Matt Kenseth (4,162 points)
    2. Jimmie Johnson (4,029 points, -133)
    3. Kevin Harvick (3,856 points, -306)
    4. Jeff Burton (3,818 points, -344)
    5. Denny Hamlin (3,760 points, -402) +1
    6. Mark Martin (3,592 points, -405) +1
    7. Tony Stewart (3,722 points, -440) +2
    8. Jeff Gordon (3,702 points, -460) -3
    9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (3,701 points, -461) -1
    10. Kyle Busch (3,667 points, -495)
    11. Kasey Kahne (3,552 points, -610)
  • What If, Take Two... Stewart made the Chase as the 11th driver via a wild card? How would the top-11 currently look?
    1. Jeff Burton (5,511 points)
    2. Denny Hamlin (5,442 points, -69)
    3. Mark Martin (5,441 points, -70)
    4. Matt Kenseth (5,427 points, -84)
    5. Tony Stewart (5,419 points, -92)
    6. Kevin Harvick (5,415 points, -96)
    7. Jeff Gordon (5,391 points, -120)
    8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (5,388 points -123)
    9. Jimmie Johnson (5,346 points, -165)
    10. Kyle Busch (5,278 points, -233)
    11. Kasey Kahne (5,238 points, -273)
  • Stewart is third in miles led this season, pacing the field for 1,017.60 miles. Matt Kenseth is first with 1,372.37 miles led. Greg Biffle is second with 1,297.51 miles led. Kasey Kahne is fourth with 840.66 miles led. Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin is fifth with 803.09 miles led. Jeff Burton is sixth with 765.63 miles led. Jeff Gordon is seventh with 753.28 miles led. And Kevin Harvick is eighth with 656.18 miles led. No other drivers have led more than 600 miles this season.
  • Stewart has led at least one lap in 16 of the 29 races held this season. Stewart's total of 935 laps led is second only to Matt Kenseth who has led a total of 1,108 laps this season. Greg Biffle is third in laps led with 931. Jeff Burton is fourth in laps led with 644. Kevin Harvick is fifth in laps led with 634. Kyle Busch is sixth in laps led with 530. And Kasey Kahne is seventh in laps led with 511. No other drivers have led more than 500 laps. As a result, Stewart has earned a total of 100 lap leader bonus points, 20 more than championship point leader Burton.
  • Stewart has the tenth best average running position (14.133) in the 29 races held this season. Matt Kenseth leads this category with an average running position of 10.938, just 3.195 positions better than Stewart.
  • Stewart has recorded the fastest lap on the race track a total of 438 times in the 29 races held this season, fourth best among Nextel Cup drivers. Greg Biffle leads this category with 549 fastest laps while Kasey Kahne is second with 522 fastest laps. Matt Kenseth is third with 450 fastest laps, just 12 more than Stewart.
  • Stewart and Kevin Harvick are tied for the sixth-best driver rating 29 races into the season. Their 96.7 rating is 7.3 points lower than first-place Matt Kenseth (104.0). Jeff Gordon is second (98.7) in this category while Jeff Burton is third (98.6). Jimmie Johnson is fourth (98.4). And Greg Biffle is fifth (98.3). The driver rating is a formula consisting of wins, finishes, top-15s, average running position while on lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, laps led and lead lap finishes.
  • Stewart is the third-fastest driver early in a run in the 29 races held this season. His season rank of 7.792 is 1.292 points below series leader Greg Biffle (6.500), the best among Nextel Cup drivers during the first 25 percent of laps in a pit window under green flag conditions. Jeff Burton is second with a 7.692 rating. Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin is fourth with a 8.704 rating. Matt Kenseth is fifth with an 9.037 rating. And Jimmie Johnson is sixth with a 9.222 rating.
  • Stewart is the fastest driver late in a run in the 29 races held this season. His season rank of 8.250 is .009 of a point higher than second-place Jimmie Johnson (8.259). Jeff Gordon is third (8.958). Kevin Harvick is fourth (9.400). Matt Kenseth is fifth (9.815). And Kyle Busch is sixth (10.043). Stewart is the best among Nextel Cup drivers during the last 25 percent of laps following a pit stop.
  • Stewart is the second-fastest driver under green in the 29 races held this season. His season rank of 6.958 is .291 of a point below series leader Greg Biffle (6.667). Jeff Burton is third (7.692). Jimmie Johnson is fourth (8.148). Jeff Gordon is fifth (8.250). Matt Kenseth is sixth (8.296). And Kevin Harvick is seventh (8.720).
  • Stewart is the fastest driver in traffic in the 29 races held this season. His season rank of 6.542 is .806 of a point higher than second-place Kyle Busch (7.348). Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth are tied for third (8.741). Championship point leader Jeff Burton is fifth (9.346). And Jeff Gordon is sixth (9.417). "Traffic" is determined when there is another car within one car length.
  • Of the seven races remaining on this year's Nextel Cup schedule, Stewart has won at five of those venues - Charlotte (10/11/2003), Martinsville (10/1/2000 & 4/2/2006), Atlanta (3/10/2002), Phoenix (11/7/1999) and Homestead (11/14/1999 & 11/12/2000). The only venues where Stewart has yet to record a victory are Talladega and Texas.
  • Stewart has finished second at Talladega six times (Spring 2006, Fall 2005, Spring 2005, Fall 2002, Spring 2001 and Fall 2001).
  • Of the 532 laps Stewart has led in the 31 point-paying restrictor plate races he has run, 481 have been at Daytona (90.4 percent). The remaining 137 laps led have come at Talladega. Stewart has made 16 starts at Daytona and 15 starts at Talladega.
  • Of the 747 laps available in the four restrictor plates run in 2005 - 203 laps in the Daytona 500, 194 laps at Talladega in May, 160 laps at Daytona in July and 190 laps at Talladega in October - Stewart led 325 of those laps (43.5 percent). And in those four races, Stewart finished seventh, second, first and second, respectively, to log an average finish of third.
  • Of the 551 laps available in the three restrictor plate races run so far in 2006 - 203 laps in the Daytona 500, 188 laps at Talladega in April and 160 laps at Daytona in July - Stewart has led 117 of those laps (21.2 percent). And in those three races, Stewart has finished fifth, second and first, respectively, to log an average finish of third.
  • Of the 1,298 laps available in the past seven restrictor plate races (2005-2006), Stewart has led 442 of those laps (34 percent). His average finish in those seven races is third.
  • In his Nextel Cup career, Stewart has two point-paying victories in restrictor plate races - last year's race at Daytona in July where Stewart won the pole and led all but nine of the race's 160 laps and this year's race at Daytona in July where Stewart started second and led a race-high 86 laps (53.8 percent).
  • 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 last 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. (Upon graduating high school, Foster worked with driver Stanley Smith in various Late Model, Busch Series and Nextel Cup endeavors between 1989 and 1993. When Smith was seriously injured following an accident at Talladega in 1993, Foster worked for Smith's drywall company from 1993 to 1997. Foster moved to Charlotte in 1998, where his first job in Nextel Cup was with Cale Yarborough Motorsports and driver Rick Mast. He joined Joe Gibbs Racing following the 2001 season.)
  • Home Depot store No. 8552, located in Warrenton, Pa., will be represented on the lower rear quarterpanel of the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet during the UAW-Ford 500. Store No. 8552 was judged to be the outstanding store of the past week, thereby earning its place on the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing machine.
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