Can Tony Stewart Win The Chase?

Roy LaFaverCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2008

Tony likes the bottom.  Tony has always liked the bottom.  Races were always determined by the car that can stay low all the way around the track.  But NASCAR has changed all that.  Ladies, and gentlemen, please bow your heads.  The COT has killed racing.

Tony Stewart and Greg Z are known for getting the setup right for riding the bottom line, and in doing so they were always a force to be reckoned with.  But now they have to adjust, and they haven’t done that as well as I know they would like.

The COT does not turn well, so now it is all about going high and powering out of the turn.  Of course, this emphasizes engine torque, and the Toyotas have more of that than the others.  But I just don’t think the 20 team has adapted well to the concept.  Certainly the 18 team has, but I chalk that up to being a new unit with no past to get in the way.  Old habits die hard with a racer like TS, and I see he is still trying to go low.

To be honest, I have stopped watching because of this awful car, but I checked out the New Hampshire race for a few minutes Sunday (glad to see Kurt Busch is competitive again).

Tony is a great driver, and I think he will be competitive in the Chase, but I don’t see him winning races, and that may keep him from winning the championship.  All the chasers will probably have at least one bad day, and those wins help buffer them for that hit in the points.

The situation is ironic because Tony has a big cushion in power, and you would think he could blow away the field.  But he hasn’t won a race all year.  Why?  You fans who watch NASCAR races might have a different answer, and you might be right: bad luck, bad karma.  But I think it’s the fact Tony can’t pass on the bottom the way he always has, and that, my friends, is a dilemma for the 20 team.