Stewart to the back of the grid

Updated: August 2, 2009, 9:59 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

LONG POND, Pa. -- It's déjà vu at Pocono for Tony Stewart.

Stewart hit the wall in Turn 3 on the first lap of practice Saturday morning, forcing the No. 14 Chevrolet team to go to the backup car for Sunday's Sprint Cup race.

It also means Stewart will give up the pole and start at the back of the 43-car field. Qualifying was rained out Friday, so the starting grid was set based on owner points. Stewart is the season points leader, 192 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson.

"I just screwed up," said Stewart, who was not injured in the crash. "I got in too deep and got loose and couldn't save it."

But it isn't all bad news. The same thing happened to Stewart at the first Pocono Raceway event this season back in June. Qualifying also had been rained out on a Friday; Stewart wrecked in practice Saturday and gave up the front-row starting spot, starting last in a backup car.

But Stewart won the race, earning his first victory as a team owner, passing 30 cars in the first 30 laps of the event. A driver has won four times this season after starting at the back of the grid.

"I know we can do it," Stewart said. "I tore up a really good race car today."

The backup car Stewart is using this weekend has posted two top-10s this season -- eighth at California in February and third at Darlington in May.

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

ALSO SEE