Stewart Swaggers into Texas

Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart has one win, four top fives and 10 top-10 finishes at Texas. (Photo: Getty Images)


He may be eight points behind Carl Edwards for the Chase lead but Tony Stewart brings a lot of confidence to Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Stewart’s third win of the Chase last week at Martinsville brought him closer to Edwards in this years Chase for the Sprint Cup title race but may have provided something even more – momentum.

The two-time series champion has been on an upswing since the playoffs began and in reality just before the start of the Chase when he began to find the groove that has carried through the last two months.

The performance and view of things is a far cry from mid-August when Stewart told reporters at Michigan International Speedway he would not be a title contender this season.

“You know, at the point when we talked about that, I mean, I felt like there were some things that were missing,” Stewart said of his summer comments. “I think our Chase run here, obviously Dover was not what we were looking for. But every race since then, we have been a contender. The result hasn't always shown at some of these races. But we've been pretty solid in this Chase here.”

While Stewart is obviously pleased with the effort and the results, he’s still unclear as to what precipitated the turnaround.

“I don't know what changes,” he said looking at crew chief Darian Grubb. “The guy beside me is the guy to ask that. He's the guy that's orchestrating it, organizing the people to do the job. It doesn't matter what it is that's changed; the good thing is that it has and it changed at the right time when we need it. That's all you can ask for.”

Stewart and Edwards are separated by only eight points but there are still other drivers in the title mix including Kevin Harvick 21 behind the leader and Brad Keselowski 29 out.

That’s why Stewart isn’t shifting any focus to only running down Edwards and staying aware of others he still believes are in the championship picture.

“You look at how these races have gone,” Stewart said. “One day one race can change a lot. I don't think it's going to help a guy get back into it, but it sure can eliminate guys from it if you have a bad day. It's hard to say.

“There's never been a consistent year in this Chase as far as being able to say at this point this guy with this many points is really out of it. Anything can happen. It's hard to say.”

It’s not hard to say that Stewart is enjoying being back in the limelight with his multiple trips to victory lane and in contention for this year’s championship.

His recent success along with a new-found feeling of confidence is going a long way in giving Stewart even more bounce in his step as the season winds down.

“Yeah, I don't know anybody that doesn't enjoy being in the middle of it with three weeks to go,” Stewart said after his Martinsville victory. “It's a great feeling. You work hard all year to try to be in this position. When you start the Chase off with ten races to go, a lot can happen. There's a lot of variables that you worry about along the way. It doesn't mean we're still not worried about it.

“There were guys that may have had their chances taken away today. So to be in a position that we're in right now, sitting here knowing that we're right in the middle of this thing with three weeks to go, it is obviously a great feeling and great position to be in. We just got to go out and keep doing what we're doing here.”

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