Tony Stewart rued his bad luck in what he calls an 'odd season' after finishing only 13th at New Hampshire despite leading nearly half of the rain-shortened event.
Stewart looked set for his second victory of the weekend, having won the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, but luck was not on his side come Sunday with rain and his strategy ruining another opportunity to win his first race of the season.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver led 132 laps during the race and was in the lead when he pitted for the last time at the penultimate caution period. However he lost track position as he changed two tyres while his rivals went for a quicker splash-and-go, dropping down five more places.
Just when he was about to show his pace and make the most out of his fresher rubber, the rain brought the race and his chances of victory to a sudden halt seventeen laps before the scheduled finish.
"I don't know how to put it into words right now," Stewart said. "Everybody's worked hard. It's not for a lack of effort by anybody on this team by any means. It's just one of those years where everything that can go wrong goes wrong.
"We've had years where we couldn't do anything wrong, too. It's part of racing. The good thing is no matter what the outcome is today we get to do it again in six more days so we just do what we can."
The two-time Sprint Cup champion takes some encouragement from the fact that they had their rivals covered before strategy and luck came into play.
"The result today wasn't indicative of how our car was and how hard our team worked," Stewart added. "Everybody did a great job. That's racing man. That's the way it happens sometimes."
"There's a percentage of this industry that's called luck and you can't change it."
'Smoke' said he wasn't sure whether he would've been able to retake the lead of the race had it not been stopped due to the rain. Not only had he lost some places on his last stop but there were also some lapped cars between him and the drivers who gambled on staying out in the closing stages.
"I don't know," said Stewart. "For every position that we came out we were behind guys and stuck behind guys. There was a lapped car inside of us, too. We were faster than the guys in front of us, there was just no way to go."
Stewart is the only JGR driver not to win a Cup race this season. He currently runs ninth in the points standing.