By admin | April 29, 2013
By Richard Allen
Tony Stewart has traditionally been a slow starter throughout his NASCAR career. However, the 2013 season is easily among his worst. Over the course of the first quarter of the season, the three-time Sprint Cup champion has managed no wins, no top-5s and only one top-10.
To put Stewart’s early season statistics in perspective, severely underfunded drivers Michael McDowell andÂ J.J. Yeley along withÂ Stewart-Haas Racing teammate and rookie Danica Patrick have the same number of top-10s.
Currently, Stewart ranks a very disappointing 21st in the Sprint Cup standings.
But while his performance statistics have been down, Stewart is among the sport’s leaders in seeking confrontation and being ‘bleeped’ during post-race interviews. From afar, it appears as if the frustration levels are rising as the finishes continue to drop lower.
As has been well documented, Stewart went after and got into a physical altercation with Joey Logano after the Sprint Cup race in Fontana, Calif. The driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet did not like the blocking maneuver Logano used after a late race restart and showed his displeasure on pit road with a punch.
Granted, Stewart was running near the front of the field in that race before the block. However, he fell all the way back to 22nd at the finish. One block did not cause that dramatic of a drop off.
In Richmond, Stewart found himself near the top of the leader board again as the checkered flag neared. However, a bump from Kurt Busch moved him out of the groove and out of the top-10. He went on to finish 18th on the three-quarter mile short track.
On the cool down lap of that race, Stewart and Busch engaged in a bumping match with their two cars which then turned into an exchange of heated words in the garage area. This time, no punches wereÂ thrown but it was yet another confrontation for ‘Smoke’.
But the reality is, the running order prior to the final restart of that race had been jumbled due to varying pit strategies. Stewart had notÂ perform particularly well for most of the night and did not finish very far below where he had run throughout much of the race.
It has been well known that Stewart has many ‘irons in the fire’. Not only does he drive for Stewart-Haas Racing, but he is a part owner and the face of the company. He races sprint cars or some other type of machine every time he gets a chance. And, he owns and operates several dirt tracks, including the Eldora Speedway which will host a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event late this year. That’s a lot of stuff for one person to be involved in, even if he does have managers who do most of the work.
Considering he has had more run-ins with other drivers than he has had top-10 finishes, it might be time for Tony Stewart to redirect his focus. If that doesn’t happen soon, winning races and making the Chase for the Sprint Cup are going to be out of the question for 2013.
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