Rain Benefits Stewart At New Hampshire

Tony Stewart had to thank the rain that pummeled New Hampshire Motor Speedway as the weather put him on the pole to start the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. Unfortunately for the Stewart-Haas Racing Team, Stewart had only himself to thank after he wrecked his #14 Office Depot Chevrolet during the practice session on Friday.
"I just got loose going in the corner," Stewart said. "Goodyear came down and was worried, but it wasn't a tire problem. I just got loose and once out of the groove I was staying right with it -- I just needed another 50 feet to finish getting gathered up. I just ran out of race track."
On a normal race weekend, Stewart would have to start at the rear of the field on race day, however, the wreck occurred during the practice session before qualifications and according to NASCAR rules, a driver may maintain his qualifying position based upon owner points if the qualification session is rained out after practice. Because Stewart is first in point standings and is the co-owner of his team, he will start first on Sunday. Luckily for Stewart, the heavens smiled on Stewart. Stewart was upset at the wreck but felt even worse for his team.
As a driver you hate having to have those guys do that -- you hate putting them in that position," Stewart exclaimed. "These are long, hard days each day of the race weekend anyway without having to throw bringing the backup car and all the switching."
Unlike Pocono where there is plenty of racing room and time to go from last to first as Stewart did, starting at the back at New Hampshire is a more challenging endeavor. The co-owner of the Stewart-Haas racing team did feel his backup car this week is comparable to his primary car.
By going out [to practice], we made sure that the package we had on the other car worked on this car -- each car has got a little bit different characteristic," Stewart said. "I do feel like it's a car that's very comparable to the one we started with, which was very, very good. "I'm not sure we're in a situation we were in at Pocono where the second car is better than the first one, but I feel like this one [backup] is even to the first car."
Mark Martin on the same practice lap also scrapped the wall and spun out in his #5 Kellogg's Chevrolet, but the damage was very minor and did not require a backup car.

The rest of the top 10 qualifiers are based upon owner points. You can check out the field line up here at NASCAR.com or by viewing the following: