Home Depot Racing Team Report: Talladega Spring 2006

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Round 9 of 36
Aaron's 499

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

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 Brent Swim
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 an 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 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. Talladega will mark Chassis No. 70's 13th career start and second this season.
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
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
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 Aaron's 499 will mark Stewart's 257th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start and his 15th career Nextel Cup start at Talladega.
  • Stewart is currently fifth in the Nextel Cup point standings with 1,141 points, 77 markers behind new series leader Matt Kenseth. Stewart maintained his point position but gained 20 points after his second-place finish last Saturday at Phoenix. In his last five races, Stewart has gained 14 spots and picked up 159 points on the championship point leader. At this point last year Stewart was 14th in the standings with 913 points, 347 markers behind series leader Jimmie Johnson. Stewart has scored 228 more points this year than he did last year heading into the ninth race of the season.
  • Stewart is second in miles led this season, pacing the field for 700.57 miles. Greg Biffle is first with 796.84 miles led and Matt Kenseth is third with 457.09 miles led. No other drivers have led more than 263 miles this season.
  • Stewart is the only driver to have led at least one lap in each of the seven races held this season. His total of 790 laps led is, by far, the most of any Nextel Cup driver. Greg Biffle is second in laps led with 555. As a result, Stewart has earned a total of 55 lap leader bonus points, the most of any Nextel Cup driver and 20 more than championship point leader Matt Kenseth.
  • Stewart has the best average running position in the eight races held this season. His 7.365 average is 1.669 points better than second-place Matt Kenseth (9.034).
  • Stewart has recorded the fastest lap on the race track a total of 324 times in the eight races held this season, 67 more times than second-place Greg Biffle (257 times).
  • Stewart is one of only four drivers to have run on the lead lap over 95 percent of the time in the eight races held this season. Of the 2,695 total laps available, Stewart has competed on the lead lap 97.63 percent of the time (2,631 laps), best amongst Nextel Cup drivers. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been on the lead lap 97.22 percent of the time (2,620 laps). Matt Kenseth has been on the lead lap 95.66 percent of the time (2,578 laps). And Jeff Gordon has been on the lead lap 95.10 percent of the time (2,563 laps).
  • Stewart has the best driver rating eight races into the season. His 116.8 rating is 7.2 points higher than second-place Matt Kenseth (109.6). 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 fastest driver early in a run in the eight races held this season. His season rank of 3.4 is the best amongst Nextel Cup drivers during the first 25 percent of laps in a pit window under green flag conditions. Greg Biffle is next best with a 4.0 rating, while Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth are tied for third with an 8.1 rating.
  • Stewart has finished second at Talladega five times (Fall 2005, Spring 2005, Fall 2002, Spring 2001 and Fall 2001).
  • Of the 521 laps Stewart has led in the 29 point-paying restrictor plate races he has run, 126 have been at Talladega (24 percent).
  • 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.
  • In his Nextel Cup career, Stewart has one point-paying victory in a restrictor plate event - last year's race at Daytona in July 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 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.
  • Home Depot store #6901, located in East Brunswick, N.J., will be represented on the lower rear quarterpanel of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet during the Aaron's 499. Store #6901 was judged to be the outstanding store of the past week, thereby earning its place on the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing machine.
  • Stewart will make a return to the NASCAR Busch Series on Saturday driving the #33 Old Spice Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc. in the Aaron's 312. It will be Stewart's fourth career Busch Series start at Talladega. His best Talladega result came last year when Stewart started 23rd and led 11 laps en route to a 20th place finish. The Aaron's 312 will also mark Stewart's third race as part of his 11-race Busch Series schedule for 2006. Stewart has a total of two wins, four poles, 13 top-fives and 14 top-10s in 55 Busch Series starts.
    • 2 starts for Kevin Harvick in 2006 (won at Daytona; 12th at Las Vegas)
    • 11 starts for Kevin Harvick in 2005 (1 win - Daytona; 2 poles - California & Watkins Glen; 2nd at Atlanta; 4th at Watkins Glen; 5th at Phoenix; 15th at Spring Richmond; 23rd at Indianapolis; 5 DNFs - California, Texas, Talladega, Charlotte and Richmond)
    • 1 start for Joe Gibbs in 2005 (crashed while contending for the lead at Fall Charlotte)
    • 1 start for Richard Childress in 2004 (2nd at Spring California)
    • 1 start for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2004 (led a race-high 105 laps at Kansas but crashed while leading last lap - finished 25th)
    • 2 starts for Kevin Harvick in 2004 (5th at Spring Charlotte and 11th at Atlanta)
    • 1 start for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2003 (led a race-high 46 laps at Michigan but finished 11th when rain cut race short)
    • 22 starts for Joe Gibbs in 1998 (2 poles - Spring and Fall Rockingham; 5 top-five finishes)
    • 5 starts for Joe Gibbs in 1997 (1 top-five - 3rd at Fall Charlotte; two top-10s - Fall Charlotte and Fall Rockingham)
    • 9 starts for Harry Ranier in 1996 (best start and finish were at Spring Bristol, 7th and 16th, respectively)
    • - The Home Depot is NASCAR's Home Improvement Warehouse -

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