Stewart turns frustration to triumph - NASCAR Notes - - Jackson, MS

NASCAR NOTES: Stewart turns frustration to triumph

Photo Credits: Tom Pennington/Getty Images Photo Credits: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy" Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy"

Racing at Daytona International Speedway can be very unpredictable. Most agree that emotions race as much as the cars on any given weekend. Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 was no different as several drivers experienced frustrations through the night.

Winner Tony Stewart was the poster child for this range of emotions, which began with his qualifying run being canceled on Friday, moving him from a second-place starting position to last place as the green flag fell. Although frustrated, Stewart knew he had a good car for the night.

"Qualifying yesterday was what I was the most proud of for the weekend," said Stewart referring to his penalty. "Even though we lost our time, having our two cars qualify second and third shows how good a job the guys did at our race shop."

Daytona has been good to Stewart in recent years and he knew he still had a chance to win despite his starting position.

"The great thing about it is that 43 cars all have the same shot at winning the race," said Stewart. "That's what makes it so frustrating."

Stewart avoided several major pileups as he made his way to the front of the pack and completed the journey by crossing the finish line first for his 18th Daytona victory, a total second only to Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s 34 victories at the track.

"I wish I could trade a couple of these races in for just one Sunday race in February," continued Stewart on his Daytona winning success. "It's just being at the right place at the right time, and when those last two big wrecks happened we were ahead of them both times."

As Stewart turned his frustrations into victory, Matt Kenseth found himself heading in the opposite direction.

"Happy to get third but on the other hand, I am incredibly disappointed," said Kenseth after leading a race high 89 laps. "My team kind of deserved to be down there holding the hardware and I kind of let them down."

Kenseth's night demonstrated the old saying that the best car does not always win. However, he did leave Daytona with a firm hold on first place in the point standings.

On another frustrating situation outside the racetrack, AJ Allmendinger was placed on temporary suspension from NASCAR for failing a drug test given last week in Kentucky. Allmendinger has 72 hours to agree to a second test in order to gain reinstatement. More news on that situation will filter out later this week.

As I said earlier, Daytona can be a very frustrating place to compete. Sometimes a team can turn that frustration into triumph. Sometimes they can't. The good thing is that there are eight more races in the regular season and many are in position to make the post season Chase. The next few weeks should be quite exciting.

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