Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Sports

Stewart takes NASCAR Sprint Cup win at Dover

DOVER, Del. — With one big move, Tony Stewart put Juan Montoya and a sluggish season well behind him.

After a mundane start, Stewart is back in Victory Lane — and in the thick of Chase for the Championship contention.

Stewart's outside pass on Montoya with three laps left won Sunday's FedEx 400 at Dover International Speedway and snapped a 30-race winless streak.

"Our guys at our shop have been digging," Stewart said. "None of these guys get down. We have been down, but they haven't gotten down. That is what carries you to days like (Sunday)."

Stewart was stuck in 20th in the Sprint Cup standings and had no top-five finishes before Sunday, and he hadn't won on the concrete mile track since sweeping both races in 2000.

"It's been such a tough year," he said.

Stewart, who co-owns his Stewart-Haas team, stoutly defended crew chief Steve Addington's performance and thanked Hendrick Motorsports for supplying engines.

He also knows their work is far from finished.

"We realize this could put the (No.) 14 team in contention to make the Chase," he said. "That's not good enough."

He wants not only to make the 12-driver field but know he's a top contender for a fourth championship. His 48th win in NASCAR's top series pushed him to 16th in points and, halfway through the regular season, put him in one of two wild-card spots for drivers 11th to 20th in the standings. Stewart is the only driver in those spots with a win.

"It's been very hard when you have the start of the season that we had," Stewart said. "You start questioning, you start doubting, you start looking for answers that you don't have the knowledge to diagnose. That makes you feel very helpless at times."

Seven-time Dover winner Jimmie Johnson appeared to have the car to beat, but he jumped a restart with 19 laps left and had to serve a pass-through penalty. Johnson argued over the radio and stayed on the track before he hit pit road.

With Johnson out of the picture, Montoya and Stewart battled for the lead to the end.

Jeff Gordon was third, followed by Kyle Busch, who led a race-high 150 laps, and Brad Keselowski. NASCAR said Kese­lowski, the reigning series champ, failed postrace inspection because the front of his No. 2 Ford was too low. This was crew chief Paul Wolfe's first race back after a two-race suspension for unapproved parts.

Stewart tested at Dover and hoped that would help at a track where he hadn't finished better than 20th in his previous four races.

Montoya's only two career Cup victories are on road courses. He tried to play the spoiler after Johnson's penalty but didn't have enough to hold off a hard-charging Stewart.

"The car was a little bit too much of a handful at the end," Montoya said. "We tried. I think it was too hot on the tires the run before and our left tires were completely gone."

Johnson, still first in points, finished 17th. Tampa's Aric Almirola was 18th, one lap down, and is 12th in points. David Reutimann of Zephyrhills was 26th.

Few drivers run as well deep into the season as Stewart. It might be time for him to get rolling again.

"It's not a fix-all for what we've got going on," Addington said. "It's a step in the right direction."

Comments
Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

If you've been dipping your toes in the "Gosh, Vita Vea looks a lot like the guy from Disney's Moana" pool, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has jumped in all the way.The Bucs' 347-pound rookie is massive, has a family history on the Pacific island...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Academy at the Lakes wins first state softball title

Academy at the Lakes wins first state softball title

VERO BEACH —Academy at the Lakes had waited two weeks to play in the Class 2A state softball tournament in hopes of winning what has been an elusive title.The Wildcats completed the first task Monday, cruising to a mercy-rule win over Fort Pierce Joh...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Photos: Bucs open OTA practices

Photos: Bucs open OTA practices

“We’d love to have everybody here,” said coach Dirk Koetter, who said he was unsure if Pierre-Paul or Grimes would practice before next month’s mandatory minicamp. “That’s the perfect world, but we don’t live...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Rays call up top prospect Willy Adames – for now

Rays call up top prospect Willy Adames – for now

The Rays have called up top prospect INF Willy Adames – though likely for a short stay.INF Joey Wendle was placed on the paternity list Tuesday, which can last three days.Adames is likely to head back to Triple-A Durham when Wendle returns.Adam...
Updated: 1 hour ago
For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Faria on the mound

For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Faria on the mound

UPDATE, 3:27: Here is the Rays lineup, would just called up top prospect Willy Adames:Robertson 2bCron 1bDuffy dhRamos cAdames ssField rfArroyo 3bRefsnyder lfSmith cfFaria pDEVELOPING: The Rays are back home after a long, eventful and ultimately succ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Lightning squanders chance to close out Capitals

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Lightning squanders chance to close out Capitals

The Lightning misses an opportunity to close out the Capitals in Washington, so there will be a Game 7 in Tampa on Wednesday night with a berth in the Stanley Cup final on the line.Andrei Vasilevskiy was fantastic, but the Lightning couldn't match th...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Did ex-girlfriend’s Facebook post leak suspension of FSU starter Josh Ball?

Did ex-girlfriend’s Facebook post leak suspension of FSU starter Josh Ball?

A Florida State student from Lithia wrote a Facebook post Monday afternoon alleging the suspension of Seminoles starting offensive tackle Josh Ball.Little else was known a day later, but the details in the since-deleted post are consistent ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

The Bucs started another chapter of their offseason Tuesday with the first OTA (organized team activity) practice at One Buc Place, with veterans Jason Pierre-Paul and Brent Grimes as the only healthy players absent from what is officially a voluntar...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Game 7 odds and ends as you wait for Lightning-Capitals on Wednesday

Game 7 odds and ends as you wait for Lightning-Capitals on Wednesday

For the 33rd time in NHL history, a Stanley Cup semifinal series is headed to a Game 7, where the home teams are 21-11.The Lightning and Capitals meet Wednesday night at Amalie Arena in a win-or-go home game to decide who plays Vegas in the Stanley C...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Intensity, preparation key to Calvary Christian LHP Nolan Hudi’s success

Intensity, preparation key to Calvary Christian LHP Nolan Hudi’s success

Nolan Hudi has made 26 starts for Calvary Christian and he has won 22 of them. His other four starts were no decisions.The Warriors have won 59 straight games entering Wednesday's Class 4A state semifinal against Jacksonville Trinity Christian. No ga...
Updated: 4 hours ago