AVONDALE, Ariz. — Tony Stewart is a master at saving fuel, but on Sunday, his car didn’t cooperate.
As soon as caution flew for David Reutimann’s blown engine on Lap 247, Stewart shut off his engine to stretch his fuel mileage. Only one problem — the engine wouldn’t re-fire.
Stewart got a push into the pits from a safety truck, but he lost two laps before his crew could diagnose the problem and get the engine started. Stewart finished 22nd and fell to 15th in the Sprint Cup standings, trailing leader and race winner Denny Hamlin by 37 points.
“I mean, I just shut the car off like we did at Daytona and turned it back on and it never re-fired,” a mystified Stewart said after the race. “That’s all I can tell you. I don’t know why it didn’t re-fire. I honestly don’t know.
“It’s not really my department. I just turned the switch back on and it never re-fired. I don’t know why that was; but it definitely cost us a good day.”