Stewart Sick Of Second

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Talladega Superspeedway's victory lane is a place Tony Stewart has never visited with a NEXTEL Cup win, something he hopes to change in Sunday's Aaron's 499.

Stewart has finished second an incredible six times at the mammoth 2.66-mile track, including a runnerup showing in last year's Aaron's 499.

Despite the winless streak, however, Talladega is still high on Stewart's list.

"You can say the track hasn’t been kind to me with as many second place finishes as we’ve had, but there are 41 guys who didn’t have it as good as we had it those days," he said. "There have been a lot of days where we ran second and it was as good as a win for us. Last year’s spring race was a perfect example. We knew we didn’t have the best car, but we ended up with a second-place finish."

But even with the good finishing record at Talladega, Stewart isn't a fan of restrictor plate racing, which will be on display for the second time this season on Sunday.

"I dislike anything where you have to rely on somebody else," he said. "To me, what you and your team do should be what it’s all about. I don’t like having to have a guy behind you or in front of you dictate what you do and where you go. That’s really the one reason why I dislike it. It’s very nerve-wracking when you can’t plan your moves unless you know what the guy behind you or in front of you is going to do."

Stewart's first plate race of the year didn't end well, when he was leading the Daytona 500 only to be sidelined after a crash with Kurt Busch. Despite the fact the two tracks employ the plate, Stewart says Daytona and Talladega are very different animals.

"You can run two- and three-wide all day at Daytona," Stewart said. "At Talladega you can run three-wide all day easily, and sometimes four-wide. Essentially, Talladega just has an extra lane compared to Daytona, because its track is a little easier to get a hold of mechanically. Handling isn’t near as big of an issue as it is at Daytona. Talladega is just about speed, and finding more of it. It’s bigger, so its corners are a little bit bigger, which is why handling doesn’t seem to be quite as much of an issue."

A win at Talladega would also help Stewart turnaround a disappointing start to the season, which has seen the two-time series champion go winless despite having a dominating car many times.

"We just don’t have anything to show for it, and that’s what is so frustrating," he said. "Laps led, miles led – it’s finishing races that matters, and we’ve had some really good days go bad. Still, there’s a lot of racing left. We want to win everywhere we go, and our team is working hard to do just that."


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