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Monday, November 21, 2011

Add my voice to the chorus of Tony Stewart fans

Tony Stewart winsIt is probably not possible to uniquely express my adoration for the way Tony Stewart won the 2011 Sprint Cup Championship after witnessing his performance Sunday at Homestead. My voice blends into the loud chorus of NASCAR fans who thoroughly enjoyed the final race of the 2011 season, which is arguably the best race ever.

Everything about the race was pure joy, including the rain delays that only served to tease us into simply wanting more.

There could have been no better finale to this season, unless of course if Ryan Newman would have taken the checkered flag, Stewart came in second, and Edwards around fifth or so, but forgive my fantasy.

The reality is that Tony Stewart earned every accolade afforded to him as the new Sprint Cup Champion. His driving was perfection, as he passed 118 cars on his way to victory. Is that unprecedented? It has to be, though I have no idea. It certainly is not something I’ve witnessed since I first tuned into NASCAR in 2002. It was an amazing feat. It was even more so when considering this was Stewart’s fifth win in the ten-race season finale. To say that luck was on his side, is just woefully inadequate.

Stewart showed a kind of confidence that I have not seen before. He was determined to win his third championship, and he did it. Stewart’s jovial, devilish personality certainly adds to the charm of his win, at least in my opinion. As the Champion—a three-time Champion--perhaps NASCAR will listen when he speaks.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who reads my blog that Stewart-Haas Racing is my favorite team. For Tony Stewart to carry on the tradition of driver/winner owner started by Richard Petty and continued with Alan Kulwicki in 1992 is just one more cause for celebration. Stewart has so many reasons to be proud.

Darian Grubb
Tire Change
Image via Flickr
It was a shock to learn in post-race interviews that Stewart's Crew Chief Darian Grubb was fired prior to the Chase for the Championship and this was perhaps his final race as Crew Chief for the #14.

I find it difficult to believe that any perceivable sins during the regular season would not be forgiven after such a formidable performance that resulted in Stewart's team winning five times out of the last ten races. Stewart has said over-and-over that the wins were a result of teamwork. Therefore, I cannot imagine that new talks won't result in a new contract for Grubb in 2012.

If for some reason that doesn't happen, I'm sure he will have no problem finding some other championship caliber team to take him on

Kudos to Carl Edwards
Shot by The Daredevil at Daytona during Speedw...
Image via Wikipedia
Carl Edwards deserves recognition for his conduct, both during and after the race. It had to be devastating for him to finish second after working so hard. Though he was clearly out-driven by Stewart, and he knew it, he  drove an exemplary race underscored by his showing a lot of class in the way that he accepted his fate as the number-two driver. Edwards can certainly hold his head up high for his performance in Sunday’s race. He made no mistakes. He started out front and pretty much stayed there for the entire race.

It is painful to think of the Sunday afternoon void until once again the engines crank for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 26. The off-season is always a sad time, even though the time goes by quickly.

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