Improving The Talladega Twos

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With six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series second place finishes in his carer at Talladega Superspeedway Tony Stewart is looking for his first win this weekend in Sunday's Aaron's 499.

Although he wants to make a trip to victory lane at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, Stewart says he isn't frustrated by his half-dozen runner-up finishes.

"No, not at all," Stewart said. "I mean, Talladega is a track where you can’t do anything on your own. You have to strictly rely on what everybody else around you is doing. It’s still not real racing when somebody else has to go with you and somebody else can dictate how you run. If you don’t ever have anybody go with you all day you never have a shot at winning."

"But if you have guys go with you, you have a shot. We haven’t won there, but look at how many second-place finishes we’ve had. Anytime you can finish in the top-two is like a win at Talladega, especially when you’ve done it as consistently as we have."

Stewart's overall record at Talladega is impressive with eight top fives and 11 top 10s in 18 career Sprint Cup starts.

He looks to add to those impressive numbers in Sunday's second restrictor plate race of the season.

“If you’re smart, after 10 years, surely you’ll learn something," Stewart said about plate racing. "We’re not sending a space shuttle to the moon here, so it’s not like it was something that was out of our reach as far as trying to be able to learn. You hope that with 10 years of experience, you’d at least learn enough to keep yourself competitive."

Sunday's race will mark the second appearance of the new NASCAR Sprint Cup car at Talladega, after the machine made its debut on a plate track last October.

Stewart believes this trip will be very similar to last fall's visit.

“It’s going to be the same this year at Talladega as it was last year at Talladega for the most part," he said. "From a driver’s perspective, you don’t have to relearn anything. From the crew side, you have to relearn everything. You’ve got a whole different package. We’ve got bump rubbers now. It’s a total learning process again, which is why we had a two-day test at Talladega last fall."

In the year's first restrictor plate competition during "Speedweeks" at Daytona, Stewart and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch were particularly strong.

Stewart is confident the Toyota tandem will again be stought this weekend at Talladega.

“I think it’s been great," Stewart said of his new teammate. "It’s probably been better amongst the three teams than it’s ever been. With Kyle coming on board we now have a debrief session after the last practice on Saturday or the final session. We all get together – all three drivers, all three crew chiefs and all three engineers from each team all get together."

"We drivers talk about how our cars drove, the crew chiefs talk about what changes we made to compensate for the balance, and together with the engineers, we talk about what we think we might be able to do to make the cars better for the race. I think from the communication side, he’s brought a lot to the table and helped us elevate our program."

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