[media-credit name=”Credit: By Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR” align=”alignright” width=”232″][/media-credit]Tony Stewart had become known for going on these awesome summer stretches, winning races from the summer on. However, so far this season, he has two wins in the first five races.
“It’s been nice to get off to a good start this year the way we have,” Stewart says. “I’m really excited about the start that we’ve got going. We’ve been strong everywhere we’ve been.”
So far this season, Stewart sits fourth in points, despite finishing outside the top 15 twice this season to open the year.
“We’ve had top 10 cars and top five cars every race this year after that,” Stewart continues. “So really, really proud of what (crew chief) Steve (Addington) and all our guy sat Stewart-Haas Racing have done.”
If you look back to last season when he won five races late in the year, he has now won seven of the last 15 races. The last time a driver did that was Jimmie Johnson in 2009-10.
“Gene Haas is a big factor in that,” Stewart says. “Gene has always give us the flexibility and the tools to do what we think needs to be done at the shop.”
Stewart adds that whenever he has asked Haas for something, Haas has delivered.
“There’s been some key pieces that we’ve needed in the shop and he’s been behind it a hundred per cent,” he continues. “That gives all of our guys the confidence that we’re doing everything that we can to give ourselves the best opportunity to be successful.”
The team has been able to get better, as Stewart notes, due to how Addington has adjusted to the team.
“A lot of times when crew chiefs change race teams, they bring the whole team with them,” he explains. “Steve came by himself to our organization and had to learn a whole different group of guys to work with. I think he’s settled in quickly and really gets along good with our guys, learned our system really quick. He brings so much to the table. We’ve learned a lot from him. He’s made great adjustments through the off-season and those results are showing right now.”
Addington adds to that by saying that Stewart has a group of dedicated guys at the shop.
“It’s just racers, guys that want to work,” Addington says. “There’s a lot of smart people that give you support. You can ask a question and somebody will have you an answer really fast. Getting in there, getting to know personalities, things like that, you learn how to work and deal with each person.”
This weekend, Stewart goes to a track where he has had success before as he won the race last fall at Martinsville. In 26 races, he has had three wins, nine top fives and 14 top 10s.