Season Review: Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart finished ninth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. (Photo: Getty Images)

2012 Race-by-Race Results

Tony Stewart wasn’t able to follow up his stirring run to the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with another title this past season.

But Stewart still enjoyed a successful campaign by making the Chase, scoring three wins and finishing ninth in the final point standings.

It marked the 13th time in his 14-year Sprint Cup career that Stewart has finished among the top 10 in points. He finished the 2012 season with three wins, a pole, 12 top fives and 16 top-10s.
Tony Stewart
Stewart’s first victory of the season came at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, when he held off Jimmie Johnson for the win. It was the 45th Sprint Cup Series triumph in Stewart’s career and first at LVMS.

“Man, I'm just finally glad to win one here," said Stewart. "We were so close last year and had a dominant car. I'm not sure we had the dominant car, but we had an awful fast Chevy. Just glad to finally, finally get one at Vegas.”

Stewart found himself in Victory Lane a few weeks later when he was triumphant at Auto Club Speedway in the Auto Club 400. He got an assist from Mother Nature when rain ended the race after Lap 129 but an earlier move to fake a pit stop turned out to be the winning strategy.

Rain had threatened the race all day and when it finally moved into Fontana, it brought out the caution flag on Lap 124. Stewart was in the lead and faked a move down pit road but stayed out to keep the top spot.

However, second-place running Hamlin came in as did Jimmie Johnson while the remainder of the top 10 remained out. Only laps later, NASCAR called the field to pit road and red-flagged the race. Minutes later, heavier rains engulfed the speedway and the race was called.

"I don't think that I faked him out," Stewart said of Hamlin’s decision to pit. "I'm sure he had made his decision already -- looked good, though."

Tony StewartSmoke’s third win came in dramatic fashion at Daytona International Speedway in July. He was forced to start 42nd in the Coke Zero 400 for an illegal cooling hose found in post-qualifying inspection.

Undaunted, Stewart charged to the front of the field and took his fourth career Daytona summer race victory.

“We've had really good luck at Daytona, obviously, and I wish I could trade a couple of these races in for just one Sunday race in February,” said Stewart. “You know, it's just being at the right place at the right time, and when those last two big wrecks happened we were in the right spot. We were ahead of them both times.” 


Once the Chase kicked in Stewart found himself struggling and fell out of contention for a fourth championship. However, first year crew chief Steve Addington, who came over to Stewart-Haas Racing from Penske Racing, is confident the foundation is in place for a more successful 2013. Tony Stewart

“We had some weeks where our speed was great and everything went well and others when we struggled to find the right handling,” said Addington. “But when you have a guy like Tony Stewart driving the car and the team we have behind him, I know we’re going to be in position to challenge for more wins and get into the Chase again next year.”

Stewart also bid farewell to sponsor Office Depot at season’s end after the company announced plans to scale back its NASCAR involvement. Bass Pro Shops will adorn the No. 14 car next season with Mobil 1 also returning as a primary sponsor.

(Photos: Getty Images)

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Tony Stewart

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