By admin | July 25, 2011
By Richard Allen
By the admission of even the teamâ€™s driver/owner this has not been the season that Stewart-Haas Racing was hoping for so far in 2011. However, things took a giant step in the right direction during the most recent Sprint Cup Series race in New Hampshire.
Despite having a total of only six top-5 finishes among their two cars going into New Hampshire, SHR scored a 1-2 finish in that event with driver Ryan Newman taking the win and Tony Stewart following right in his tire tracks. Newman also started that race from the pole position while Stewart started to his outside.
The win moved Newman up to the 8th spot in the Sprint Cup standings while Stewartâ€™s second top-5 of the season has him placed in a tie for 10th with Denny Hamlin. Hamlin holds the tie-breaker over Stewart due to the fact that he has one race win and Stewart has none.
With only seven races remaining until the cutoff for the Chase for the Championship is to occur, Stewart-Haas looks as if they might be peaking at just the right time. A strong mid-season push from here to Richmond should land both of the teamâ€™s drivers in the title playoff for the second time in three years.
But more importantly to these two Indiana natives is that the team has shown its greatest sign of strength in 2011 right before NASCARâ€™s top division heads to the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400 this Sunday.
To both Stewart and Newman, a win on the famous 2.5 mile track carries as much if not more weight than a win in Daytona or any other NASCAR venue. Stewart has won the Brickyard event twice, but neither time while competing for his own team. Newman has never won this race, and for that matter, has only scored one top-5 in his home state.
So after a somewhat lackluster campaign thus far in 2011, Stewart-Haas Racing came to life in a major way in New Hampshire. Both of the teamâ€™s drivers are positioned to make a run at the Chase for the Championship top-10 with seven races remaining before the cutoff and both are heading to their most treasured race with plenty of momentum on their side.
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