Tony Stewart: Another Sprint Cup Title Doesn't Sound So Outlandish, Does It?

Melissa Bauer-Herzog@mbauerherzogCorrespondent IOctober 6, 2011

Tony Stewart: Another Sprint Cup Title Doesn't Sound So Outlandish, Does It?

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    As we get farther into the Chase and don't have the No. 48 on top of the standings, more and more predictions are popping up about who the next champion will be.

    While Tony Stewart may have seemed like a non-contender only weeks ago,  it now looks like he may be a favorite for the Championship.

    But why may "Smoke" boot Jimmie Johnson off the top? Let's take a look.

Two Wins in the Chase

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    Tony Stewart may have finished 25th last weekend, but other than that bobble, he has dominated the Chase.

    In three Chase races, only one other driver has seen Victory Lane.

    Stewart dropped down in the points standings after last week but if I was other drivers, I'd be scared of what he does over the rest of the Chase.

He Was the Last Champion Not Named Johnson

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    People may have forgotten who any other recent champion is after the five year Johnson domination, but the last person to occupy the throne was Tony Stewart.

    While five years is a long time, Stewart did win in the Chase format so he's proven he can get the work done even with the "playoffs".

Point Standings

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    After a 25th place finish last weekend, Stewart dropped down to third place in the point standings.

    However, he's only nine points behind the two leaders. That may seem like a lot in the new point system but it's a pretty easy amount to make up.

Ryan Newman

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    Almost everyone in the Chase has a teammate but Ryan Newman may be Stewart's hidden tool.

    The two teams seem to work pretty close together and their cars/driving patterns seem more similar than most others so Stewart may have double the information to work with.

Team Motivation

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    Even when he's stressed, Stewart is good at moving his team past a mistake.

    He may not be all that nice to the media, but unlike some other drivers, he is a good motivator for his pit crew.

His Team

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    While Stewart is a good motivator for them, he also has a talented crew working for him.

    His pit crew is just as motivated to win the title as him and that's important when every second counts on pit road.