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One win doesn't make a season, Tony Stewart knows. So how to read this Dover victory?

One win doesn't make a season, Tony Stewart knows. So how to read this Dover victory?

Tony Stewart (L) and Greg Zipadelli (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



   By Mike Mulhern

   POCONO, Pa.
   Tony Stewart, cheerleader?
    Well, he, as owner of three teams, realizes that's a big part of his job, particularly when things aren't going well.
   And to say things haven't been going well this season for Stewart and his teammates is understatement.
   And it's shown in Smoke's face, in his grumpy attitude.
   Maybe now, with Sunday's Dover 400 win, things will change.
   "There have been a lot of dejected guys all year, and disappointed guys all year," Stewart concedes.
   "The further offbase you are, the harder it is pinpoint a problem. When you're far enough off-base, it's hard to break it down and diagnose those problems.
   "We are all looking for a direction of what it's going to take to get this thing fully back on track."
   That involves more than just finding better nuts and bolts and widgets.
    "My job, as a car owner, is to go down there and keep the morale of the guys good," Stewart says.
   "I would say Zippy has done a much better job of that than me.  I've struggled with it. 
     "It's been very hard. When you've had the start to the season we've had, you start questioning, you start doubting, you start looking for answers that you don't have the knowledge to diagnose.  That makes you feel very helpless at times."

   This from the man whose charge to the 2011 Sprint Cup championship was so memorable.....after just such a ragged start to that season, remember.
    Maybe this  current slump began last season when, sometime over the summer apparently, Stewart and his men were disinvited to the weekly Tuesday engineering skull sessions at Rick Hendrick's shops, where Stewart's cars and engines are engineered.
     Whatever the reason, or reasons, Stewart and his guys have been far off the mark all season. And only a late pit stop gamble by crew chief Steve Addington and that curious blackflagged restart by Jimmie Johnson with 20 miles to go saved Sunday for Stewart.
    And Stewart realizes that. He was not a happy driver after two days of Dover practice leading up to the race.
    So what does this three-time NASCAR champ think about his chances in this fall's title chase?
    Well, Stewart at the moment sits 16th, a whopping 135 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.
    And he's not comfortable with that.
   "I've done this enough, and been in the chase enough, that being in the chase is not a novelty for me," Stewart says. "I don't care about being in the chase unless I have an opportunity to win the championship.
    "It's a bigger deal to me to get our program turned around.....Our goal is not just to make the chase. Our goal is to be championship contenders.
   "Just making the chase, that's not good enough."
   So even in winning Stewart isn't all that happy.
   Dealing with all this is as much a burden on Stewart as car owner as Stewart as driver. And that burden has seldom seemed heavier than this spring.
    "It's been a lot harder than you think.  The thing about being in the role we are, as owner and driver, is when you have a good day, I'm ecstatic about our win, but at the same time I go back to the bus and I'm like 'Okay, what happened with Ryan... what happened with Danica? "

I don't like Tony, his outburst's this year

I don't like Tony; his outbursts this year have made all the others look like a Disney movie in comparison. I used to chuckle; now I am no longer amused. Tony should thank his lucky winning butt to JPM and JJ, cause if that did not happen it's safe to say Tony would be not sitting in the winner's circle but ranting in a interview about the injustice served to him during the race. I liken this one to Jeff Gordon rain-soaked win last year...lucky.

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