Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Stewart Hopes Surge Continues at Pocono

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Stewart Hopes Surge Continues at Pocono

Article excerpt

Tony Stewart ducked through a tarp-covered tent in the garage and was off to the No. 14.

"Make it two in a row, Tony!" a fan yelled as Stewart hustled through the Pocono Raceway garage in Long Pond, Pa..

With a second practice session on tap, Stewart had little time Saturday to dissect why his car is suddenly one of the ones to beat.

But it certainly is.

Stewart is coming off his first win of the season at Dover, Del., and consecutive top-10 finishes, results that have thrust the three- time Cup champion into the No. 1 wild-card spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

For an added boost, Stewart was one of the few drivers who participated a month ago in an open Pocono test in the Gen-6 race car. With practice and qualifying washed out Friday, Stewart and crew chief Steve Addington have additional resources on hand to help master the 2 1/2-mile triangle track.

And there are more reasons to think Stewart can keep the push going at Pocono. His most recent win at this track in 2009 was his first as a car owner at Stewart-Haas Racing, and he finished fifth and third at the two Pocono races in 2012.

No Cup driver has won consecutive races this season, but a confident Stewart always has been a dangerous Stewart. That could be the difference Sunday.

"It's definitely momentum that we need right now," he said. "It's hopefully quieted some of the rumors that were a big drama at the shop for us. So, getting that calmed down was as much of the problem as anything."

Stewart used his post-race news conference at Dover to sternly deny he was ever considering giving Addington the boot because of a slow start that had the team mired around 20th in the points standings. Addington, who took over as Stewart's crew chief in 2012, appreciated that his boss backed him so publicly. Addington made a late pit call to take two tires at Dover that was one of the defining decisions at Dover. …

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