Hello, Gorgeous: Tony Stewart's Sitting Pretty as a First-Year Driver/Owner

Kara MartinSenior Analyst IMay 6, 2009

What an incredible Cinderella story! This first-year owner/driver comes out of nowhere to creep up on the pack after Richmond. He’s approaching the 11th race. He's only 39 points behind the leader, he's gonna drive about a 172.1 lap, I think.

Oh, he got all of that. The crowd is standing on it's feet here in Darlington. The normally rowdy crowd is going wild for this young Cinderella who’s come out of nowhere.

He’s got about 500 laps left, he’s going to lay on the throttle it looks like, don’t you think?

He’s got a beautiful aero push...that’s—oh, he got all of that one! He’s gotta be pleased with that! The crowd is on its feet here. He’s a Cinderella boy. Tears in his eyes, I guess, as he lines up for this last green flag restart.

He’s got about five laps left and he’s got a, looks like he’s got about a 4.3 second lead. This crowd has jumped to its feet...Cinderella story, out of nowhere, former Joe Gibbs driver, now about to become a first-year driver/owner Sprint Cup champion.

It looks like a miracle—the No. 14 takes the checkered flag! It’s a win!

It has only taken Tony Stewart 10 races to get both of his cars into the top 10 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings; a position that many critics and fans did not believe that they would see in the 2009 season.

Tony is solidifying the fact that he is more than capable of balancing his co-ownership responsibilities with driving for his own Sprint Cup team.

Stewart currently sits third in points; Newman is in 10th.

Say all you want about the other highlights of the season thus far, but what Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman have accomplished is truly the Cinderella story of the young season.

The new Stewart-Haas Racing configuration has already surpassed anything it's predecessor, Haas CNC Racing, accomplished.

From 2005-08, Haas CNC Racing had 209 starts. During those races it totaled one top five, 10 top 10's, a driver rating of 55.6, an average running position of 26.9, 54 laps led and 309 fastest laps run.

Stewart-Haas Racing, in only 20 starts this season, has surpassed all those numbers except one: Fastest Laps Run. SHR has run 140 fastest laps, but are on pace to eclipse Haas CNC’s 309 by race No. 22.

The Southern 500 in Darlington will prove pivotal for the team. The track is one of Newman’s best, while it is statistically one of Stewart’s worst.

With Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch in his sight, will Stewart finally harness “The track too tough to tame” and continue to advance in the point standings?

In his first year as a driver/owner, Tony Stewart is sitting pretty and is proving to be a serious contender for this year's Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship.

Hello, Gorgeous!

Thanks to Carl Spackler, the character from Caddyshack so brilliantly played by Bill Murray, for the movie quote in which to play with for the opening of this article.