Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tony Stewart Not Worried About Winning, Meets Challenges With Laughter

Stewart in the Cup garage at Dover, on May 30, 2014.
Credit: Beth Bence Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs  
Tony Stewart isn’t worried that he’s winless so far this season. Because drivers are racing at tracks for the first time with the new rules package, he said it’s still too early to panic.

“We luckily have been able to win at least one race a season in my entire Cup career,” Stewart said. "I don’t think there is ever a point where, especially in this format, you get panicked. Because you don’t have to be stellar in the points, you just have to get a win. Our track record shows that we can get it.”

Stewart does indeed have a win in each of his 16 seasons in the NASCAR’s premier series and has racked up multiple wins in 14 of those years. In 2000, the same year he swept at Dover, he accrued a career-high six wins.

As last year’s spring winner at the Monster Mile, Stewart prefers the hot, slick conditions from that day to this weekend’s cool temperatures, but he’s still optimistic about his chances.

“A cool day like today we are all going to be flying around here. If we can get a decent starting spot, that will make the day a lot easier.”

One thing in his life that’s not easy is his continuing rehab for his broken leg. Stewart said he hates everything about working out – sweating, getting out of breath, soreness – but he makes the best of it by having fun.

“They work me hard in therapy, but it’s kind of like everything else you do in life,” he said. “…There is no reason to make yourself miserable doing it. We have a lot of fun. We joke around, we kid and we laugh a lot. That laughter covers up a lot of pain in therapy.”

Stewart rolls off from the 20th spot for Sunday’s race, probably not the starting position he was hoping for. But since he thrives under tough conditions, even painful physical therapy, maybe the cooler track and mid-pack start are just the challenges he needs to end up in Victory Lane again.

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