NASCAR Back In New York – Without Tony Stewart
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series are both back in New York State this weekend at Watkins Glen International - minus Tony Stewart.
Stewart is recovering from injuries sustained Monday night in a dirt track race in Iowa. He has undergone two surgeries and will likely miss several Cup series starts as a result. Road course specialist Max Papis will fill in for Stewart at the Glen this weekend, but a substitute has not been named beyond that. Papis tested Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet at Road Atlanta last month and has 35 Cup series starts with his best finish coming at the Glen in 2009 when he finished 8th.
Tony Stewart is the winningest driver in the history of the Sprint Cup Series at the Glen - 18 different drivers have won Cup races there and Stewart has five wins. Being on the sidelines also ends Stewart's streak of consecutive starts at 521. He had not missed a Cup race since the 1999 Daytona 500. Of active drivers, only Jeff Gordon (710) and Jeff Burton (613) have more starts in a row.
In today's qualifying, Marcos Ambrose set fast time and will start on the pole as he goes for his third win a row at the Glen in Sunday's Cheez-It 355. Ambrose set a new track record in winning the 3rd pole of his career. Clint Bowyer will start alongside Ambrose on the front row. Martin Truex Jr., AJ Allmendinger and Kyle Busch round out the top five starters.
Jimmie Johnson will start 18th and could possibly clinch a spot in the Chase for the Championship if he has at least a 193 point lead over the driver who is 11th in points when the race is done on Sunday. Here is the complete starting lineup.