2009 was a stellar first year for Stewart Haas racing. Tony Stewart won 4 times, led the points for 13 straight races and finished 6th in points.
Ryan Newman never won but did finish 2nd in the Coca Cola 600 and finished 9th in points.
After a successful 2009 Stewart, Newman, director of competition Bobby Hutchens, and crew chiefs Darian Grubb and Tony Gibson are ready for even more success in 2010.
"I'm expecting a great year," said Stewart. "I feel like both of us being able to get in the Chase last year was something I expect both teams to do. I feel like the changes that we went through and the work we've done over the winter has prepared both of these teams to have a shot at running for a championship."
Newman use an interesting approach to talk about the 2010 vs the 2009 season.
"Two points define a slope," said Newman." We have our point from
2009. Our point from 2010 will determine our success for Stewart-Haas racing in years to go. Just going out there and having a lot better start to the season in Daytona is extremely important - and getting that definition and that second point so we can define our future at Stewart-Haas Racing is also important for us this year."
The 14 team with Stewart and Grubb are already serious championship contenders will be a force to reckon with in the 2010 chase for the cup.
The 39 team with Newman and Gibson are solid but still have work to do. This team has yet to win a race.
"For us, we want to come out and win races," said Gibson. "We let a
few get away last year. We want to win races and be a threat to win a
championship. Making the Chase was awesome, but that's not good enough. We've got to step up our game.
And that Stewart Haas has done. The whole organization is working hard on new cars to get ready for the 2010. Alot of which are still not yet completed.
"The main thing for me is now I can look out of my office and see
cars actually sitting out on the floor," said Hutchens. "This time last year, it was a pretty empty shop. I kind of feel like we're two months ahead of last year's schedule, if you could call it that."
"Last year we were building," Grubb said. "But now, it's actually
good to be able to say we're strengthening. The areas we felt like we had some weaknesses, we know where those are and we were able to make a few changes here and there."
There has also been talk about expansion for the 2011 season and we could see a 3rd Stewart Haas entry being piloted possibly by Kevin Harvick of Kasey Kahne.
"We've talked about that in our shop over the last couple months or weeks," said Hutchens. "That may something that's in our future if it fits our group up here. We're not going to do anything that's going to pull our two cars down from a performance standpoint. Also, we want to bring something in that's going to add to our program.
"We'll use our best practice approach that we've done in about everything we've done as far as choosing different paths to take. When the time comes to see if we expand from 2011, whether it's then or later, we'll do it."
When Stewart Haas does add it's 3rd car it can become possibly the 2nd strongest team in NASCAR right behind the team it shares technical information from Hendrick Motorsports.
For all of Stewart Haas to be successful Newman and the 39 team must really up their game. So many times was Stewart a threat but Newman was a 7th to 15th place car (which is good).
Stewart is going to need Newman to be more of a contender so he can get more info out of number thus making the two teams stronger.
Future looks bright for Stewart Haas and it just keeps getting brighter.