Stewart's Success Not That Surprising
NASCAR News - SportingNews.com
Jun 11, 2009
When Tony Stewart is motivated, he is a hard to beat.
Driving, and co-owning a new team, Stewart had many critics as the 2009 Sprint Cup Season began four months ago. Few gave him a chance running for a championship. Conventional wisdom says new teams just do have a chance to race with the existing giants. You have to find good people and get them all working on the same page. You have to find good equipment, and, most importantly, you gotta have money. With the economy in a tailspin, that is probably the hardest task.
Last Sunday, Tony Stewart won the sprint cup race at Dover, becoming the first owner-driver to celebrate in victory lane in ten and a half years (Ricky Rudd in September 1998.) He now sits atop of the Sprint Cup Point Standings.
It should not come as a surprise to see Stewart contending for the Sprint Cup this year, in his first year as both a driver and the co-owner for the new Stewart-Haas Racing team. Eleven months ago he told the racing world that he would leave Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of 2008 and become co-owner of the then existing Haas-CNC team.
Due to Stewart's leadership from his racing and business experience, the "new" Stewart-Haas team had a good head start.
Actually, this is not really a new team. This was more of a merger. Stewart reorganized Haas-CNC by staffing it with some good people, and shook hands with the Hendrick giant for engines and technical support. These good business decisions have paid off for the two time Sprint Cup Champion. In addition, people seem to forget that Stewart is already a business man. In 2004 he purchased Eldora Speedway in Ohio. It is now one of the most successful dirt tracks in the country.
The story does not end with Tony. Stewart-Haas is a two car operation with teammate Ryan Newman, who currently sits at number five in the Sprint Cup Standings. Do not doubt the fact that we might see him capture a victory this year.
At heart, Tony Stewart is a racer. One of the best in the world. With two major racing titles, his record speaks for itself. It would be hard to measure how much credit his enthusiasm and drive have in contributing to his success. The answer to that, I believe, is a lot.
Face it, he just was not happy driving under Joe Gibbs the past few years. His inconsistent performance on the track probably showed that.
As we gear up for the summer months, let it be known that history has shown that Tony Stewart has had strong second half of seasons when he is focused. A Championship in 2009 is certainly within his grasp. It would be remarkable. But, for the businessman, manager and driver, it would not be surprising in the least.
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