Tony Stewart: A Look Back at His Historic Chase
Three days after Tony Stewart's legendary NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase run, people are still in shock over what the driver accomplished this season.
His run at Homestead on Sunday is talked about as the best race many fans have ever seen and the same may be said for his whole Chase.
But what exactly did the driver who said he had no chance in the Chase accomplish during the last 10 weeks? Let's take a look.
Five wins all season is more than most drivers accomplish—five wins in 10 weeks is unheard of. To put this into perspective, the most any other driver won this year was four times in a 36-WEEK period!
That's just crazy.
Tony Stewart started the Chase with stats of zero wins, three top-five finishes and 11 top-10 finishes.
He finished it with five wins, nine top-five finishes and nineteen top 10 finishes. That means in the Chase he finished in the top five six times and the top 10 eight times.
That is an amazing late-season peak.
Stewart is only the fourth driver to win the Chase without leading going into the final race and only the seventh owner/driver to win the title.
He was also (ironically) the last driver to win a title before Jimmie Johnson went on his five-year Cup Championship streak.
He pulled off a feat Johnson never did by winning the final race in addition to the Championship, something that hasn't been done since Jeff Gordon in 1998.
The driver didn't just tie records though, as his five wins in 10 weeks proves.
NASCAR couldn't ask for a better finale than Tony Stewart's race. Stewart qualified in 15th and was unlucky enough to suffer damage from Kurt Busch's early race blowup, forcing Stewart to the back of the field.
He worked his way back to the front before dropping all the way back again.
For most drivers, going to the back once let alone twice would have killed any chance they had, but Stewart refused to fail. During the race, Stewart passed at least 116 cars.
That theoretically means he passed each car in the race almost 3 times.
When has that ever been done in one race?
Going from the back to front multiple times may have been done by Kyle Busch or Denny Hamlin a few times through the years but it's doubtful they've approached that number of cars passed.
The week before Homestead, people made comments about a 1-2 finish in the race with Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart, but it's doubtful many people thought it would actually happen like that. This Chase literally came down to a winner-take-all situation.
There have been some close Chases but never before has the trophy come down to a tiebreaker.
This year may have seen the end of the Johnson reign but it was more exciting than any other Chase or even race for that matter.
The tiebreaker between Stewart and Edwards was the perfect storybook ending to a Chase that was full of drama until the very end.