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Tony Stewart’s start a surprise?

By admin | March 16, 2009

By Richard Allen


Solid Top 10 runs are not what Tony Stewart is necessarily looking for when he takes to the track. Stewart is not usually thought of as a solid Top 10 kind of a guy. He is typically not happy unless he is in front of the pack, as should be the case for all competitive drivers.

However, these are different times for the two time Sprint Cup champion. For the first time in his ten year career, Stewart is not driving for powerful Joe Gibbs Racing. While driving for JGR he won 33 races and those two championships.

Now, Stewart is wheeling his own car around the NASCAR circuit. In the midst of last season the announcement was made that the Indiana native would join forces with car owner Carl Haas in the formation, or actually reorganization, of a new team called Stewart-Haas Racing.

So far in 2009, the results for Stewart-Haas Racing’s car #14 have not necessarily been Tony Stewart like but have been very good for what is basically a start up team. In four races Stewart has claimed three Top 10s and is currently 6th in the Sprint Cup standings.

Stewart is one of the very few drivers who can legitimately be considered a threat to win on any given Sunday. He has won on every type track NASCAR competes on from road courses to super speedways.

But there is more than just driving ability to account for Stewart’s success in 2009.

The Stewart-Haas partnership also includes a partnership with powerful Hendrick Motorsports who provide cars and engines for Stewart and teammate Ryan Newman. Also, crew chief Darien Grubb came over from HMS to assume the top of the #14 pit box.

Essentially, this is a satellite team of Hendrick Motorsports.

The bottom line is that it should really come as no surprise Tony Stewart is doing well, even if he is driving for a new team. He has proven himself to be one of the most capable drivers in NASCAR, and he has the support of the sport’s top organization. That combination should lead to success, and it is.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

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