Stewart's Successful Streak: Series' Hottest Driver Guns for Second Pocono Win DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 19, 2005) -- Two top Chevrolet drivers are hoping for continued success as the "Race for the Chase" continues at Pocono Raceway on Sunday.
Stewart's Successful Streak: Series' Hottest Driver Guns for Second Pocono Win
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 19, 2005) -- Two top Chevrolet drivers are hoping for continued success as the "Race for the Chase" continues at Pocono Raceway on Sunday. Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) is gunning for his fourth win in the last five starts, trying to improve on his third-place position in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings. Meanwhile, Jimmie Johnson (No. 28 Lowe's Chevrolet) arrives at Pocono as the series points leader and wants to score his third Pocono win in the four most recent Pocono races.
Stewart, has had a hot mid-summer, winning three of the last four races, including last week's event at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H. Stewart scored his first win in 10 months when he broke through at Sonoma last month. Stewart has one prior win at Pocono (in 2003) and one Bud Pole Award there (in 2000).
In 14 previous Pocono starts, Stewart, the 2002 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion, has led only five races for a total of 92 laps. Still, he has a win, two top fives and eight top-10 finishes.
Stewart said the new gear rule instituted for the June Pocono race made no difference to him. The line's the same. "You just don't shift," Stewart said.
"All three corners are different, that's the most challenging part," Stewart continued. "It seems like you can always get your car good in two of the three corners, but the guys who are contending for the win are the guys who can get their car good for all three corners. That's a very hard thing to do. This year it's a little different because we haven't gone through transmission and gear changes like we have in the past where we tried different combinations to find more speed. It's a totally different style of racing compared to what we've had in the past at Pocono. It's evened things out for everyone."
Stewart is certainly hoping for a better Pocono performance than he had there in June. He qualified 26th and finished 29th, one lap off the pace.
While leading laps at Pocono is secondary to finishing races there, Stewart leads the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in miles led this year entering the Pennsylvania 500. He has led 1,472.06 miles in a total of nine races. He has not finished 76.68 miles, which is a relatively low number. This contrasts with Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford) who is 10th in points entering the Pennsylvania 500. Jarrett has led only twice this year for 4.04 miles. However, Jarrett is almost always on track at the end. He has completed all but 12.08 miles of the 7,811.76 miles run so far this year.
Series points leader Johnson enters the Pennsylvania 500 as the "hot" Pocono driver. Johnson wants to win his third Pocono event in the four most recent Pocono races. He swept both Pocono races last year, and finished sixth in June's Pocono 500.
Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) could turn his season upward again at Pocono. He is the track's all-time leading money winner with more than $2 million, and has three Pocono wins. His record also shows he finishes in the top five 50 percent of the time.
The Hendrick stable, which also includes Brian Vickers (No. 25 GMAC/ditech.com Chevrolet) is Pocono's all-time leading race team with 10 victories. Penske Racing South is second on the list with five wins.