by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com
As Daytona waits in the shadows for another remarkable race, there are many drivers who are looking at this anniversary edition in a new light. Along with the changes of a full-time new car, team changes, and driver changes, few can hide their anticipation for the greatest race of the year.
Tony Stewart is no exception. Known perhaps more for his persona rather than his talent, Stewart is one of the many striving for a win at Daytona. But what makes Stewart any different than any other driver at this track, you may ask. Well, the answer is simple. He has yet to win. It’s a bit surprising because of Stewart’s wins and driving ability that he has not been able to walk away with a win at one of the most prestigious tracks on the circuit. However, with nine attempts under his belt, Stewart is looking to make the 10th his most memorable yet.
Last year he came close, but Kevin Harvick managed to win that one. A few years ago, Stewart came in second to Earnhardt Jr., but it was hard for anyone to not like that win. In fact, Stewart’s reputation at the track is quite incredible. In four of the last five Daytona 500s, he has finished seventh or better. He has a great knowledge of the track, but has failed to dominate at it along with the other superspeedways. Comparing him to the greats of these tracks like virtually any DEI driver, Jeff Gordon, and even Michael Waltrip we see that although his wins may not match up to the likes of Gordon and Earnhardt Sr., he certainly has the talent to be placed in their company. He spent the week being honored at Indy for his wins at the Brickyard in both 2005 and 2007. Undoubtedly, talent is not the problem.
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Whatever that problem is, it’s hard to say. We could speculate about things
like engines, chassis setups, and just plain bad luck, but I think the consensus
has to lie in the latter explanation. Bad luck seems to hit Stewart here,
if you can call his record bad luck to begin with. He wants a win badly.
He understands how to follow a draft better than almost any active driver
out there. He understands banking, he understands bump drafting, and he’s
proven that he’s competent in the new cars.
If Joe Gibbs teams this year are any indication of how the year will go, he’s in for a pretty nice paycheck. With Kyle Busch and Stewart consistently at the top of the speed charts in practices, a Daytona 500 win may not be too far out of reach. But Stewart will settle for nothing less than a win.
Who knows. Maybe we will see our first spider-man performance this year at Daytona. It would be pretty cool, I mean, to have Stewart climbing a fence for the fans at the 50th running of Daytona. I’m sure that there’s plenty of y’all out there rooting for and against Stewart. But regardless of his fans, this is a personal fight for Stewart, and I think that he will see to it that it gets done this year. The Daytona 500 will air on February 17th. Get ready for an explosive season of racing like we’ve never seen before!