Stewart

Tony Stewart brings his car to pit road with front-end damage after wrecking in the tunnel turn Saturday at Ponco Raceway. Stewart was to start today’s race from the pole position but by going to a backup car will have to start at the back of the pack.

LONG POND, Pa. — Tony Stewart lost his pole position and will start from the back of the pack for the Pocono 500 after wrecking his car during practice at Pocono Raceway on Saturday.

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup points leader lost control of his No. 14 Chevrolet and spun off the tunnel turn at the end of Saturday’s first practice. The car spun into the grass, sending mud and sod flying and ripped off the nose of his car.

His Stewart-Haas Racing crew quickly got to work on the backup. Stewart became the pole sitter for Sunday’s Pocono 500 when rain washed out Friday’s qualifying and start positions were based on the points.He was confident he could still make a strong run in the backup.

“I feel like it’s better than the primary car,” Stewart said.

He posted the third-fastest practice time with a lap of 166.701 mph during the first practice Saturday and hit 164.817 with the backup in the second practice session.

“I was happier with that car then I was the first one,” Stewart said. “If I’d known the second one was going to be so good, I would have crashed the first one the first lap out.”

Stewart’s second-place finish at Dover last Sunday shot him to the top of the Sprint Cup standings, 46 points ahead of Jeff Gordon. Stewart is the first driver/owner to lead the points since Alan Kulwicki won the 1992 Cup championship, a span of 556 races.

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