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Tony Stewart: 10 Reasons Smoke Will Bounce Back in 2011

Todd JacobsCorrespondent IAugust 28, 2016

Tony Stewart: 10 Reasons Smoke Will Bounce Back in 2011

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    This may have been an off-year for Tony Stewart, but many of his NASCAR Sprint Cup competitors would love to have the same year as the two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion.  In a season dominated by Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson in the win department, Stewart managed to win two races and finished in the Top 10 17 times.  Stewart also made the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase once again, although he was knocked out of contention early by running out of fuel in the first Chase race at New Hampshire.

Tony Stewart Has Won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Title Since Chase Began

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    Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

    Tony Stewart is a champion and he knows how to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup title in the NASCAR Chase format.  It has been so long since Jimmie Johnson has not won a NASCAR Sprint Cup title we all forget Tony Stewart was the last NASCAR Sprint Cup champion prior to Johnson.  Stewart and his crew chief Greg Zippadelli set the standard on how to attack the new NASCAR Chase system and Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus have perfected the formula.

Stewart Haas Racing Is Still a Hendrick Motorsports Satellite Team

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Rick Hendrick and Carl Haas have had a long-term relationship and now that Tony Stewart is involved in the team, the relationship has flourished.  The information now being shared has helped the Stewart Haas Racing team immensely and vice versa for Hendrick Motorsports.  This relationship with the elite organization in NASCAR has paid dividends for all involved.

Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon May Work Together More Closely Now

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    Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

    Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon come from the same open wheel background of Sprint car racing, but in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season they will work together more than ever since Gordon is now out of the No. 48 garage.  Tony Stewart idolized Gordon before coming into NASCAR and the two were seen talking at length during the NASCAR Chasers for Charity in Las Vegas Wednesday.

Tony Stewart Has Adapted to His Role As a NASCAR Sprint Cup Owner

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    Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

    Tony Stewart suffered through the first half of the season stressing over who would be the associate sponsor on his No. 14 Chevy.  Office Depot is his primary sponsor, but most sponsorship deals now include associate sponsors to take some pressure off the primary sponsor.  Stewart made a deal with Mobil 1 on October 12th and cleared his mind as he prepared for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. 

Tony Stewart Learned To Balance Life with What He Loves and What He Has To Do

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Tony Stewart grew up racing open wheel sprint cars, and when he heard Eldora Speedway owner Earl Baltes was looking to retire, he jumped at the chance to purchase the legendary track.  Stewart not only owns Eldora, but he is very active in day-to-day operations whenever he can get out to Rossburg, Ohio.  Stewart can be found on the water truck or tractor before a race at any time during the season.  This is Stewart's one escape from the rigors of the day-to-day grind of the 36-race NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

Tony Stewart Is Driven To Become First Driver/Owner To Win NASCAR Sprint Cup

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    Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

    Tony Stewart is a competitive person by nature.  The last driver/owner to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup title is Alan Kulwicki.  Tony Stewart would love to accomplish this task before hanging up his helmet and walking off into the sunset.  Stewart loves to win, but he knows winning this title as an owner would put a perfect exclamation point on his career.

Darien Grubb Is a Major Reason Why Smoke Will Bounce Back in 2011

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    Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

    Dairen Grubb came to Tony Stewart from Hendrick Motorsports, where he worked with Chad Knaus and other talented crew chiefs.  Grubb is smart in his role as his car owner's crew chief.  The delicate situation is made easier by Stewart, who puts all of his trust in his crew chief.

Stewart Is Focused on Racing and His Team's Success

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    Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

    Tony Stewart has been enjoying his time in Las Vegas this week, and he is not shy about letting everyone know he is partying all week long.  Racing is over until the Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Oklahoma for Smoke unless he travels to down under to Australia for the second year in a row to race sprint cars. Stewart is single for now and has no other responsibilities but to race and win.  Look for Stewart to be chomping at the bit when he arrives in Daytona in February.

Daytona Is One of Tony Stewart's Best Tracks

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    John Harrelson/Getty Images

    Tony Stewart has an excellent track record on the legendary Daytona International Speedway, and can begin the season in the Top Five in NASCAR Sprint Cup points or better.  Stewart has been caught up in a few wrecks in his days at Daytona, but he has also run up front the majority of his starts in the Great American Race.

Tony Stewart Won't Squander Another NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase

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    Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

    Tony Stewart is not happy with his seventh place finish in the NASCAR Chase.  After his win in California during the NASCAR Chase, he did not have a Top 10 until the final race at Homestead-Miami.  Stewart knows how to plan for a NASCAR Chase Sprint Cup title; he wrote the book on it before Jimmie Johnson. 

    Stewart will make the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase, and with a little luck he will be in contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title when the series travels to Homestead-Miami. 

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