Snapping his 30-race winless streak on Sunday, Tony Stewart felt as if he is finally getting the monkey off of his back.
Although by no means does this answer the question nagging “Smoke” fans and media alike, but it does show the tenacity with which Stewart and his team have been working with to get another win. Sunday was a long time coming for Stewart, who was having his worst start in 15 seasons.
With Sunday’s win, Stewart is now back into the thick of earning a spot in the coveted championship chase. Stuck in 20th in the points standings prior to the weekend, he did not even have a top-5 to his name this season. Something we are not used to seeing from a usually aggressive Stewart.
Bringing home a victory certainly boosted the No. 14 team’s confidence, but Stewart knows that he still has plenty of work cut out for him. Earning his 48th career victory helps, but it is not all that it is going to take to make Stewart feel comfortable with his season. Stewart now sits at 16th in the standings. He may have earned a four spot bump, but for a “championship” minded driver, 16th is definitely not good enough.
Passing Juan Pablo Montoya with just three laps to go, Stewart proved that maybe the extra testing and time he put in at Dover, potentially gave him just what he needed…An edge at a track that his given him his fair share of grief over the years.
With the summer months approaching, this just might be Stewart’s time to shine. Known for heating up when the days get hot, Stewart seems to pour it on as the season rolls on. There are very few drivers, with the exception of Jimmie Johnson, that run as well as “Smoke” late into the season.
One weekend may not solve all the problems at Stewart-Haas Racing, but a win sure does make it better.
About the Author
Written by Ashley Gulick
Sports Journalism is my passion! I keep up with the latest news on pro/college football, NASCAR and baseball....and just about everthing else. I grew up in Talladega, Ala., but moved to Georgia when I was 15. From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to be involved with sports somehow. Once I got into college and completed my degree in Communications, I knew that I had a passion for sports journalism. I have covered sports for the Kennesaw Sentinel (KSU's student paper), Marietta Daily Journal and Douglas County Sentinel.