An in-depth profile of the most dynamic and diverse team in NASCAR. Featuring interviews with the drivers of Stewart -Haas Racing; Tony Stewart , Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick. Check it out on August 1st at 2:30 pm ET on Fox Sports 1.
After Daytona accident, 'Smoke' first on scene to check on 'Rowdy' INDIANAPOLIS -- A day after suffering a broken right leg and left foot in a Feb. 21 crash at Daytona International Speedway, Kyle Busch had his first hospital visitor. It was Tony Stewart , who had been sidelined in August 2013 by a sprint car accident that had caused a compound fracture of his right leg. As Busch's mind raced through possible dire consequences of his injuries, Stewart was there to offer support and counsel. " Tony was actually the first one to the hospital," Busch said on Saturday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the site of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at The Brickyard (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). "As soon as the Daytona 500 was over, he was there. He actually told everybody that was on his plane that they were going to wait. He was there for about four hours. We had a good talk. "We had a good discussion about just what it was like and the process that he had to go through and how long it was probably going to be or what it was going to be. In all reality, our injuries were the same but entirely different. His was much more severe than mine. Just being able to talk with him, my mind-set was OK." Stewart helped allay Busch’s fears that his injury might be career-ending. "At first I was like, 'I'm never going to race again, and I don’t know what I’m going to do' -- all those things go through your mind," Busch said. "You just continue to power through and listen to your doctors and those that are around you and, of course, my wife and the support system that I had. "I wouldn't call it painless. There was certainly a lot of pain, but it went really, really well as far as you could say any injury healing goes. I was pretty pleased with everything." If recent results are any indication, Busch has returned stronger than ever. He has won three of the last four Sprint Cup events, at Sonoma, Kentucky and New Hampshire. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
'Smoke' after the emotional win: 'Today's been my entire life' Tony Stewart knew what the fans wanted. The Columbus, Indiana, native had just crossed the start-finish line to win the coveted 2005 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, his first win at his hometown track. A roar from full grandstands greeted him, chanting " Tony ! Tony !" in unison. And after a day like today, a jubilant Stewart wasn't one to disappoint. Following his victory lap around the storied race track, Stewart stopped just short of the flag stand where the iconic bricks lay, climbed out of his No. 20 Chevrolet and strode over to the catch fence. Then, "Smoke" -- along with his crew -- began to climb the catch fence, joining the fans in a long-awaited celebration. "I wish I could put into words," an exhausted but excited Stewart said after his fence climb, as he lay on the front stretch wall. "Today's been my entire life." Indianapolis was one of the races Stewart had circled on his schedule for quite some time. Not only was it his hometown track, but it was also a track where his hero -- driver A.J. Foyt -- had dominated with four Indianapolis 500 wins. Stewart's 2005 win at Indianapolis put him further ahead in the championship point standings and ultimately led to him earning the 2005 Cup championship. PHOTOS: See Cup drivers kiss the bricks But that would come later in the season. On that August day in 2005, it was all about Stewart , Indianapolis and a famous line of bricks.
A statistical look ahead to the 21st race of the Sprint Cup season DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Pocono Raceway in Pocono, Pennsylvania going into the WINDOWS 10 400 on August 2 (1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). POCONO-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Two wins, 12 top fives, 16 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 12.421, eighth-best · Average Running Position of 10.246, second-best · Driver Rating of 105.9, third-best · 332 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.733, second-fastest · 2659 Laps in the Top 15 (77.0), second-most · 774 Quality Passes, seventh-most Dale Earnhardt Jr (No. 88 MICROSOFT Chevrolet) · Two wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.900, 11th-best · Average Running Position of 14.002, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 92.6, ninth-best · 102 Fastest Laps Run, third-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.237, eighth-fastest · 2286 Laps in the Top 15 (63.3), eighth-most · 727 Quality Passes, eighth-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 STANLEY Toyota) · Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s · Average finish of 15.500, 10th-best · Average Running Position of 14.826, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 94.2, eighth-best · 176 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.224, ninth-fastest · 2262 Laps in the Top 15 (62.6), 10th-most · 712 Quality Passes, ninth-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 AARP Member Advantages Chevrolet) · Six wins, 19 top fives, 31 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 9.650, second-best · Average Running Position of 9.916, series-best · Driver Rating of 103.5, fourth-best · 169 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.625, fifth-fastest · 2777 Laps in the Top 15 (76.9), third-most · 885 Quality Passes, series-most Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota) · Four wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 11.889, seventh-best · Average Running Position of 10.844, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 108.3, series-best · 437 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.806, series-fastest · 2543 Laps in the Top 15 (79.3), series-most · 685 Quality Passes, 10th-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's/Budweiser Chevrolet) · Seven top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 10.600, fifth-best · Average Running Position of 13.743, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 91.9, 11th-best · 63 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.159, 10th-fastest · 2277 Laps in the Top 15 (63.0), ninth-most · 789 Quality Passes, sixth-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet) · Three wins, 11 top fives, 18 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 10.500, third-best · Average Running Position of 10.487, third-best · Driver Rating of 106.9, second-best · 273 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.708, third-fastest · 2774 Laps in the Top 15 (76.8), fourth-most · 861 Quality Passes, fourth-most Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Aquafina Chevrolet) · Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 18.750, 13th-best · Average Running Position of 14.622, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 92.1, 10th-best · 306 Fastest Laps Run, series-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.436, sixth-fastest · 2199 Laps in the Top 15 (60.9), 11th-most · 804 Quality Passes, fifth-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford) · One win, three top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 13.400, ninth-best · Average Running Position of 14.786, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 90.8, 12th-best · 96 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 161.894, 13th-fastest · 852 Laps in the Top 15 (50.1), 13th-most · 306 Quality Passes, 12th-most Kyle Larson (No. 42 Suave Men Chevrolet) · One top five, two top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 8.000, series-best · Average Running Position of 12.672, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 95.7, sixth-best · 2 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.690, fourth-fastest · 230 Laps in the Top 15 (71.9), seventh-most · 87 Quality Passes, 13th-most Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) · One win, three top fives, five top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 16.583, 12th-best · Average Running Position of 13.811, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 88.9, 13th-best · 61 Fastest Laps Run, second-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.097, 12th-fastest · 1190 Laps in the Top 15 (56.6), 12th-most · 456 Quality Passes, 11th-most Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet) · One win, nine top fives, 14 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 10.500, fourth-best · Average Running Position of 11.426, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 95.3, seventh-best · 36 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.135, 11th-fastest · 2689 Laps in the Top 15 (74.4), fifth-most · 883 Quality Passes, second-most Tony Stewart (No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet) · Two wins, 12 top fives, 22 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 10.600, sixth-best · Average Running Position of 12.223, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 97.6, fifth-best · 99 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.319, seventh-fastest · 2619 Laps in the Top 15 (72.5), sixth-most · 880 Quality Passes, third-most Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 29 0 0 7 11 2 13.2 91.9 2 Joey Logano 13 2 1 3 5 1 15.6 88.9 3 Dale Earnhardt Jr 31 1 2 9 13 1 15.2 92.6 4 Jimmie Johnson 27 3 3 11 18 1 9.6 106.9 5 Martin Truex Jr 19 0 1 3 7 0 15.1 80.4 6 Brad Keselowski 11 0 1 3 4 0 13.7 90.8 7 Matt Kenseth 31 0 0 3 11 1 15.7 86.7 8 Kurt Busch 28 2 2 12 16 5 14.4 105.9 9 Jamie McMurray 25 1 0 0 7 3 19.3 73.1 10 Denny Hamlin 19 3 4 9 13 2 11.8 108.3 11 Jeff Gordon 45 2 6 19 31 5 10 103.5 12 Ryan Newman 27 2 1 9 14 3 12.4 95.3 13 Paul Menard 17 0 0 0 2 1 23.6 64.6 14 Kasey Kahne 23 2 2 5 8 3 17.6 92.1 15 Clint Bowyer 19 0 0 2 8 0 14.6 82.8 16 Carl Edwards 21 0 2 5 8 1 15.5 94.2 * – Based on last 21 races at Pocono Raceway (2005 – 2015). Kyle Busch ’s Chase Eligibility 30th Justin Allgaier 317 Rank Driver Wins Points Points From 30th 31 Cole Whitt 0 314 -3 32 Kyle Busch 4 294 -23 33 Brett Moffitt # 0 266 -51 34 Alex Bowman 0 245 -72 35 Michael Annett 0 230 -87 36 Matt DiBenedetto # 0 205 -112 37 Josh Wise 0 186 -131 38 Michael McDowell 0 124 -193 39 Jeb Burton 0 111 -206 40 Alex Kennedy 0 71 -246 * To be eligible for the Chase, the driver must be in the top 30 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings following race number 26. Pocono Raceway Data Season Race #: 21 of 36 (08-02-15) Track Size : 2.5-miles Banking/Turn 1 : 14 degrees Banking/Turn 2 : 8 degrees Banking/Turn 3 : 6 degrees Frontstretch Length : 3,740 feet Backstretch Length : 3,055 feet Shortstretch Length : 1,780 feet Race Length : 160 laps / 400 miles Top 10 Driver Ratings at Pocono Denny Hamlin ............................ 108.3 Jimmie Johnson ........................ 106.9 Kurt Busch ................................ 105.9 Jeff Gordon .............................. 103.5 Tony Stewart ............................... 97.6 Kyle Larson ................................ 95.7 Ryan Newman ............................. 95.3 Carl Edwards .............................. 94.2 Dale Earnhardt Jr ........................ 92.6 Kasey Kahne .............................. 92.1 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2015 races (21 total) among active drivers at Pocono Raceway. Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Kyle Larson , Chevrolet 183.438 mph, 49.063 secs, 08-01-14 2014 race winner : Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Chevrolet 127.411 mph, (03:08:22), 08-03-14 Track qualifying record: Kyle Larson , Chevrolet 183.438 mph, 49.610 secs, 08-03-14 Track race record: Jeff Gordon , Chevrolet 145.384 mph, (03:26:21), 06-12-11 At Pocono Raceway: History · Opened in 1968 as a three-quarter-mile track, Pocono Raceway held the first race on the 2.5-mile track in 1971. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was in 1974 – won by Richard Petty , Dodge, 115.593 mph, 08/04/1974. · The 2.5-mile track was repaved during the fall of 2011. · 2012 marked the first season the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono were scheduled for 400 miles. Prior to 2012 all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races were 500 miles at Pocono Raceway. Starts · There have been 75 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono Raceway, one race from 1974 through 1981, and two per year since. · 327 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway; 229 in more than one. · Ricky Rudd leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in starts at Pocono with 55. · Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 45 starts (eighth most all-time) at Pocono; followed by Tony Stewart with 33 starts. · Denny Hamlin (19 starts) leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Pocono with a 6.632. Poles · 40 drivers have posted Coors Light poles at Pocono, led by Bill Elliott and Ken Schrader with five each; Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin lead all active drivers with three each. · Buddy Baker won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Pocono in 1974 with a speed of 144.122 mph. · Five drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Pocono. Bill Elliott holds the record for most consecutive poles at Pocono with three; fall 1984 and both races in 1985. · Two active drivers have posted consecutive Coors Light poles at Pocono: Denny Hamlin (2006 sweep) and Joey Logano (fall 2011 and spring 2012). · Youngest Pocono pole winner: Joey Logano (08/07/2011 – 21 years, 2 months, 14 days). · Oldest Pocono pole winner: David Pearson (06/10/1984 – 49 years, 5 months, 19 days). · Kyle Larson (8/03/2014) and Casey Mears (8/1/2004) posted their first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light poles at Pocono Raceway. Wins · 33 different drivers have won at Pocono Raceway, led by Jeff Gordon with six wins. · Seven active drivers have multiple wins at Pocono: Jeff Gordon (6), Denny Hamlin (4), Jimmie Johnson (3), Carl Edwards , Kasey Kahne , Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart (each have 2). · Seven drivers have posted consecutive wins at Pocono Raceway all-time, including three consecutive by Bobby Allison (1982 sweep and spring 1983) and Tim Richmond (1986 sweep and spring 1987). · Three of the seven drivers to win consecutive races at Pocono are active: Jimmie Johnson (2004 sweep); Denny Hamlin (2006 sweep and 2009 fall and 2010 spring races) and Dale Earnhardt Jr . (2014 sweep). · Youngest Pocono winner: Joey Logano (06/10/2012 – 22 years, 0 months, 17 days). · Oldest Pocono winner: Harry Gant (06/17/1990 – 50 years, 5 months, 7 days). · Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins at Pocono in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 17: Jeff Gordon (six), Tim Richmond (three), Jimmie Johnson (three), Dale Earnhardt Jr . (two), Kasey Kahne (one), Geoff Bodine (one) and Terry Labonte (one). · Eight different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Pocono; led by Chevrolet with 31 victories; followed by Ford with 21 and Toyota has three. · 13 of the 75 (17.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Joey Logano (June, 2012). · 15 of the 74 (20%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from the first starting position; the most recent was Jimmie Johnson (June, 2013). · The first starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (15) than any other starting position at Pocono Raceway. · 24 of the 75 (32%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from the front row: 15 from the first starting position and nine from second-place. · 53 of the 75 (70.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Five of the 75 (6.7%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Pocono is 29th, by Carl Edwards in the spring of 2005. · One active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver has posted his first career win at Pocono Raceway: Denny Hamlin (06/11/06). · Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards are the only two active drivers to win at Pocono in their first appearances. · Matt Kenseth leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Pocono without visiting Victory Lane at 31; followed by Kevin Harvick with 29. Additional Finishing Position Stats · Mark Martin leads the series in runner-up finishes at Pocono with seven; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with six; followed by Kurt Busch with five. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-five finishes at Pocono with 20; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 19; followed by Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart with 12 each. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-10 finishes at Pocono with 34; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 31; followed by Tony Stewart with 22. · Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Pocono with a 9.630. Track Specific Stats · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in
Eldora puts on another winner of a Trucks Series show Last week's visit to Eldora Speedway was the third consecutive year in which the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series raced on the half-mile dirt track. The 2015 event, which saw Christopher Bell hold off Bobby Pierce for the win, may have been the best race of the three. A good time is had by all each year, if Twitter reaction and turnout of stars is any indication. And we know Tony Stewart , owner of the Ohio facility, is interested in having stock cars grace his track. But is it a good idea? Should the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series or the NASCAR XFINITY Series host a race on dirt? Join NASCAR.com's Kathy Sheldon and Brad Norman in this debate, and leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Sheldon: Brad, you went to Eldora last week and have a first-hand account to share, but as someone watching on TV with most of NASCAR's fan base, I have two words: Heck yeah! Sliding, mud-slinging, back-to-our-roots racing at its finest came through again in the Wednesday night Truck Series race. At a time when tension flares between NASCAR's old guard fans and emerging generations and locations, dirt racing is an opportunity to showcase racing at its core, stripped down from all the rules packages and NASA-level tech that makes speedway racing thrilling to some old fashioned bumping, banging and racing that rewards the bold and brave drivers. Norman: You want a firsthand account of Eldora? I'll return your two words with two of my own: Awe. Some. Seriously, Eldora is a wonderful facility and the event was captivating. Magical, almost. That's why this should stay a once-a-year type of deal, Kathy. Drivers are split on this issue as well, but I agree with those like Austin Dillon (the event's first winner, mind you) that oversaturation is bad for the sport. Why make Eldora and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event less special? Why make it seem common? It's special, and there's nothing wrong with having a special event once a year. Sheldon: It's a good thought to keep things special, Brad, but I think we can have one dirt race a year in each series and still keep it special. We only have two road course races a year in Sprint Cup , and up until the latest Chase format, road course specialists often were brought in for those because they were so unique. Now many people are clamoring for a road race in the Chase. A dirt track sure would mix things up in the schedule, perhaps even giving a driver outside the usual suspects a shot at a Chase berth. Norman: I'm all for mixing things up, and you make some good points Kathy -- but I think the biggest follow-up question to your argument is also the biggest unknown. OK, let's have Sprint Cup and XFINITY on dirt. Where would the race be? Eldora? Hey, it's one of the best dirt track facilities in the region, probably the nation, and there's just no way it could support a Sprint Cup race. The infrastructure is simply not there, not to mention the seats. What about the haulers? The roads? If those are huge issues for Eldora -- one of the best -- then I don't think there's a dirt track in the world that could handle the crush. Sheldon: I have a venue suggestion: Birmingham International Raceway. It's been a horse track, a one-mile dirt oval, a half-mile dirt oval, a quarter-mile dirt oval and a five-eighths mile paved oval. NASCAR's premier series ran there in 1958 and 1961-68. The list of winners there: Fireball Roberts, Ned Jarrett, Jim Paschal, Richard Petty, Bobby Allison. It was home track to the Alabama Gang. Alas, the track was torn down in 2008-09, and a natatorium and track-and-field complex sits on the site now. But if Daytona can get a $400 million makeover, a big ol' track renovation is possible, too. If you build it, they will come! Norman: Sounds great! Now … who gets to tell a track president they are losing their date on the Sprint Cup calendar? I'd like to stay as far away from that one as possible. Because I think that's the final fallout piece. If NASCAR adds a race on dirt for the Sprint Cup Series or XFINITY Series, somewhere else has to go. Unless, of course, the sanctioning body is interested in adding more races to its calendar … in a time in which drivers think the number of races should scale back slightly. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 18 team is clicking, winning four of last five races RELATED: Where Busch's streak ranks " Kyle's post-Indy Facebook page Two days after a dramatic and dazzling victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- his third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup win and fourth in five weeks -- Kyle Busch still sounded awed and amazed. The 30-year-old confessed Tuesday in a national teleconference with reporters that there was a time when he thought his season was over before it started and insisted the guiding force in his recent historic high performance was as much because of the people around him -- doctors, his wife Samantha and crew chief Adam Stevens -- as it was something he's been doing differently. "It was a natural reaction initially," Busch conceded, thinking he wouldn't race again in 2015 after suffering serious injuries -- broken leg and foot -- in the Feb. 21 season-opening XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. "Fortunately, everything came to plan actually quicker than we all anticipated, and for me, once I started listening to doctors and understanding what all was going on and what all I was going to go through, I realized, 'OK, I'm going to be back this year.' " "They didn't want to rush me coming back too soon and take a chance of reinjuring something. We made the right decisions. I think everything just kind of came together and fell nicely." And that's the understatement of the season. Busch said he will be having further offseason surgery to have plates taken out of his left foot and screws removed from his right leg. And if he responds to that surgery and recovery like he has this season, the competition should be very worried. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is on a rare and impressive run that seldom happens in NASCAR's most competitive ranks. After missing the first 11 races of the season, Busch has won four times in the nine events he's started. By winning Sunday's Brickyard 400 -- the first victory ever for Toyota in the race -- Busch cut a 58-point deficit to 30th place in the standings to 23 points with six races remaining to decide the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff field. When Busch received a Chase eligibility waiver from NASCAR upon his return, it came with two conditions: that he win a race and be ranked among the top 30 in the drivers standings. When Busch returned to competition in May, he was 179 points behind then 30th place driver Tony Stewart . He's made up 156 points in nine races. Asked on Tuesday if he credits his current win streak and ability to overcome the setbacks to a more mature mentality or extra motivation, the new father Busch had a much simpler answer: people. "I think I would point more so towards the relationship with Adam Stevens and myself," Busch said thoughtfully. "There was never a time and there was never a weekend that we weren't able to speak to one another (when Busch was recovering from injury). "I think that really helps fortify a relationship as much as we could without me being in the race. Then since I've been in the car, just trusting what he's doing and giving him all the feedback I possibly can and letting him go to work. "He's done a really good job -- the whole team (has) of everything that they've put together for me. "Maybe it was a little bit of other stuff, too, studying the racing and seeing what was going on and being hungry for it and wanting it and knowing that this is what I want to do. I don't have anything else in life that interests me as much as driving race cars." The result has been nothing short of amazing -- to watch, to cheer, to chronicle and understandably to take part in. "I definitely think the whole company is really jacked up," Busch said. "Everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing feels everything going and coming together as a whole. Even my teammates, we went to lunch the other day and everybody is just kind of gelling and happy. "Everyone is smiling and they're happy for me and the success that we've had at the 18-car but also the success that the company is starting to put together as well with a bunch of us finishing in the top 10 each and every week. "It's a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication. Adam Stevens and his group of guys on the 18 have really come together and come full circle. It actually started out real tough with them and they were down in the dumps maybe and really weren't sure what was going to happen or who the driver was going to be week-to-week. But Matt Crafton , David Ragan and Erik Jones did a fantastic job filling in for me. And once I've gotten back maybe it took a couple weeks to kind of knock the rust off a little bit, but since then it seems like we're running on all eight cylinders and just have done a fantastic job being able to get our M&Ms Crispy as well as our Skittles Camry into Victory Lane." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Entering New Hampshire, three-time champion currently sits 28th in points While it seems as if everyone else has been on Tony Stewart retirement watch, Tony Stewart has been on "What the hell can we do to get better?" watch. Halfway through the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Stewart , 44, has yet to score his first top-five finish. He has a single top 10. And he's 28th in points as the series prepares to head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Sunday's 5-hour ENERGY 301 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM). His past two seasons have been abbreviated. Stewart suffered a broken leg in '13 and missed the final 15 races; last year his involvement in an on-track fatality left him sidelined for three races. This year brought a new rules package featuring lower downforce and less horsepower, changes to which admits he has yet to adapt. So while some wonder just how much longer he will continue to compete, Stewart says he is much more concerned with how he can get back to the form that saw him win three series titles (2002, '05, '11) and 48 races. "Right now I'm just trying to figure out how to get my car working, to be honest with you," Stewart said during a national teleconference on Tuesday when asked about career longevity. "To me, I don't care how we get there. I don't care if it takes one week or if it takes six weeks to get there, the main thing is just getting there. "We're going to keep working hard and keep pushing to try to find that. With the way this (Chase) format is … all it takes is one good race for us to get in. If we can find whatever it is that we've been missing … one race can change our whole season. That's the driving force every week." Stewart has won at least one race on 21 of the 23 tracks currently hosting Sprint Cup events, a mark surpassed only by four-time series champ Jeff Gordon . His wins are spread out among the various venues -- at times he's been as strong on the 1.5-mile tracks as on the road courses. He's a five-time winner on the restrictor-plate tracks, and many of his victories been earned on short tracks. He hasn't won, however, in his last 59 starts, last visiting victory lane at Dover International Speedway in June of 2013 while paired with crew chief Steve Addington. Chad Johnston has been calling the shots for the Stewart -Haas Racing No. 14 team since the start of 2014. Stewart still believes in his crew chief. "I don't feel like he's what's holding us back," he said. "There's something about the way this package is that just doesn't suit my driving style. It's a scenario that when you drive for so long, you're used to one thing … coming into this year and taking the amount of horsepower they took out was a pretty radical change for the Cup Series. "I think it was more the horsepower reduction than it was anything that I feel like has hurt me this year. I've grown up driving high‑horsepower cars, high power‑to‑weight ratio cars. This hasn't been what I'm used to feeling." RELATED: Drivers give package rave reviews Because he hasn't found that balance and feel for which he is searching, Stewart said it would be unwise to look to him for an opinion on NASCAR's latest rules change, a lower downforce package used this past weekend at Kentucky Speedway. A version of the package will also be used later this year at Darlington Raceway. As an owner ( Stewart is co-owner of SHR), any changes that, "put better races on is in all of our best interests," he said. "The part that's hard for the teams is the process … changing this, changing that. All that cost comes out of our pockets. It doesn't come out of NASCAR's pocket. NASCAR decides they want to change something (and) we're the ones that have to spend the money to do it. "I think all of the owners will do whatever's in the best interest of making it better. I just would like to see NASCAR share some of that expense versus saying, 'Hey, we got an idea, we want to try this,' then the teams have to spend all the money to do it." For now, though, Stewart has more pressing concerns. "I feel like every weekend, it's the weekend we're going to find it," he said. "It's disheartening, takes the wind out of your sails when you realize you haven't found it that week. … "It's not strictly about a win. If we get our car working and win a race because we have our car working well, it definitely can turn the season around. With this format, it can change everything. "That's your reason not to give up. That's your reason to keep fighting every week and show up at the track with the same attitude you did the week before. You can go out there, win the race, (and) get everything going." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Jeb Burton, Tony Stewart and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were involved in a spin just a few laps after after a restart at Kentucky Speedway.
Tony Stewart talks about what NASCAR’s new rules package means for teams and the future of the sport.
Despite recent struggles, 'Smoke' has confidence from previous wins at track Throughout his 17-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, Tony Stewart has averaged 17.5 top-10 finishes per season. This year, he only claims one -- a sixth-place showing in April at Bristol. And there are only 20 races left. Stewart's struggles have put him in an unescapable hole in the driver points standings. The three-time NSCS champion ranks 26th in the standings, 130 points behind Aric Almirola for the final spot on the current Chase Grid. Luckily for Stewart , under the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format, a win in the next 10 races is all he needs to secure a berth in NASCAR's playoffs. One visit to Victory Lane can turn his season around. That visit could occur in Sunday's Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway (Pre-Race: 7 p.m. ET on NBC " Race: 7:45 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) -- a track Stewart has dominated in the month of July. Stewart boasts 19 wins at DIS across NASCAR's national series, more than any driver not named Dale Earnhardt. Of those 19 triumphs, four have come in a NSCS points race -- all in the Coke Zero 400 . "Everybody has got a shot at Daytona," Stewart said. "We've been in that position before and have actually been able to take advantage quite a few times. The biggest thing is it gives you confidence that you've got a shot." The last time Stewart took advantage of his position at Daytona was July 7, 2012. He led 22 laps just past the midway point before giving up the point to Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle . The No. 14 Chevrolet driver waited patiently all the way until a two-lap restart at the end of the race when he passed Kenseth and Biffle on the final go-around to win under caution. "The biggest challenge was Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle because when they hooked up, I didn't think there was anybody that could beat them," Stewart said. "But we were able to stay in touch with them, and I got a great restart with Kasey Kahne helping me. "They were coming on the outside in (turns) three and four and the last wreck happened, and we were just fortunate enough to be leading still." Stewart's only win since his 2012 Daytona checkered came at Dover in 2013 (57 starts and 75 races ago). He will try to turn his performance around at the track where he has led the most July laps (369) among active drivers and where he's the only active driver to win two consecutive July races (2005-06). While Stewart has exceled in his career at restrictor-plate racing -- particularly at Daytona -- he finds it frustrating. "I'm glad we're halfway decent at it, but it's still always frustrating when you have to rely on what everybody else does," Stewart said. "It's not what you do. It's what you do along with somebody else who decides that they're going to follow you and help you. That's the part that frustrates you as a driver. "The great thing about restrictor-plate racing though is that 43 cars all have the same shot at winning the race, but again, that's also part of what makes it frustrating, too. It's just being at the right place at the right time." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule