Tony Stewart's crew chief, Darian Grubb, made a bold strategy decision late in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway – a call that resulted in Stewart's third career NASCAR championship.
But the move nearly backfired. In an attempt to get Stewart into his fuel window, Grubb kept his driver on the track almost one lap too long.
Stewart was out of gas when he made his penultimate pit stop, and it nearly cost him a shot at the title.
Here's how Stewart described the moment:
You know, I didn't question what the plan was or why the plan was. I just stuck to what he told me, and you know, the lap that he called us in, he called us in going into Turn 1, and when I came off Turn 2, the fuel pressure dropped and the motor laid down a little bit, but (it) was still running.
When I got to Turn 3, I shut it off, coasted around to Turn 4, kicked the switch, kicked the clutch. Drove down pit road. We did the stop and he's like, 'Keep it revving, keep it running,' and I'm staring at a fuel pressure gauge that's not building. It's sitting at two pounds.
We dropped the jack, leave, get 50 feet from the last time line and it dies. I mean, it's dead. It's out. And I'm like, 'We just lost this thing.'
And we roll about a hundred feet, and it takes off and the (fuel pressure) needle goes up and we are fourth at that point, and Carl has to come back in, and it's like, 'Wow, that is the call of the race, the call of the Chase,' and it gave me the opportunity to do what I love doing best – letting it all hang out and putting it all on the line with the restart.