Even when you finish last there can always be positives to find, just ask @TonyStewart .
Stewart ended his first race at the road course of Watkins Glen International since 2012 with a 43rd place finish. A rear gear mechanical failure caused the all the oil in the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet to dump out.
“When I came off of (Turn) 1 I could feel it like it was kind of pulling heavy and going up through the esses you could hear it let go right at the end of the esses.” Stewart said, describing what had happened to his car that took him out of the race on Lap 56 of the 90 lap race.
Stewart admitted he and the 14 team struggled in some spots during the race but still managed to make improvement throughout the race weekend.
“Through Turn 10 everybody was beating me between Turn 10 and 11. We definitely struggled there, but I think there were parts of the racetrack that we made better from Friday,” Stewart said. “I felt like we gained on it.”
The 44-year-veteran of the sport started the day upfront in the third position and even ran within the top-10 for most of his time on the track.
In a season where he has had only two top-10’s and no top five’s, Stewart’s season worst 43rd place finished marks his third finish outside the top-20 in the last five races and the fourth time he had failed to finish a race this year.
“I guess for me its big picture. The way our season has been we’ve picked up,” he said. “Indy we picked up, Pocono we picked up, we picked up here in qualifying at all three places for sure.”
Despite the outcome, Stewart isn’t wrong the 14 team. They have been improving the last three races and showing speed as they’ve had their best qualifying efforts of the season, qualifying in the top-five in each of the events.
Even without getting the solid finishes the Columbus, Indiana native believes his team is heading in the right direction.
“At the end of the day the results won’t show it, but I think for us it’s … granted it’s three totally different disciplines and packages and all that, but I feel like we are starting to gain some momentum,” Stewart said. “Like I said, it won’t show it at the end of the day on the results, but I feel good about our weekend.”
Mitchell Breuer is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist
EMAIL MITCHELL AT email@example.com