Stewart is on a hot streak

Stewart is on a hot streak

It may be the understatement of the season so far to say that Tony Stewart is on a hot streak. The Indiana native has won four of the past six races, including last weekend's emotional win at the Brickyard that vaulted Stewart past Jimmie...

It may be the understatement of the season so far to say that Tony Stewart is on a hot streak.

The Indiana native has won four of the past six races, including last weekend's emotional win at the Brickyard that vaulted Stewart past Jimmie Johnson into first place in the championship standings.

Race winner Tony Stewart celebrates.
Photo by Ron McQueeney.
"We're on a roll," Stewart admitted in Indianapolis. "We got a lot of momentum. This (win) has added a ton of momentum obviously. We're going to a place next week (Watkins Glen) where I won last year. After winning at Sonoma earlier in the year, we got a lot of confidence going in there."

Confidence is also an understatement.

Stewart is the one driver that can afford a poor finish in Sunday's SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen. But don't count on it. Stewart is the defending champion of the race and was fastest in the first practice session on Friday.

Even Stewart has difficulty explaining his recent success.

"I don't know," Stewart said on Friday. "I honestly don't know. I just go out and do what I do."

What he's done lately is giving his competitors cause for concern. Stewart has 13 top-10 finishes this season, including each of the past seven races. He's clearly in the driver's seat to lead the standings when the field gets reset for the final 10 race Chase for the Championship.

"You don't know from one week to the next what's going to happen," said Stewart, who clawed his way up from 14th in the standings in April. "We can have a week like Jimmie Johnson had and have something go wrong. We're just doing the same things we've been doing. We found some things that are working and working for us. It really puts the pressure, I feel, like on everybody else to catch up with us now."

Stewart is looking forward to another strong road course run this weekend at The Glen.

"I always look forward to the road courses just because it's a weekend of something different from what we've done the past five or 10 weekends," Stewart said. "We go to a road course just like we do any track. We go there to win."

Stewart is doing double duty this weekend at The Glen. He is one of several Nextel Cup stars that will participate in Saturday's Busch race -- the first at Watkins Glen since 2001.

"Road racing isn't something I have to get acclimated to because running them feels pretty natural to me," Stewart said. "I enjoy the road courses, and as we get ready to go to places like Watkins Glen, I really look forward to it."

Stewart feels that his attitude towards the two road course events has led to his success. He says that many drivers take themselves out of contention because they don't like road racing.

"They've already got a strike against them for that reason," said Stewart, who claimed his first Cup road course win at Sonoma in 2001. "If a guy goes there with the attitude that they're not going to enjoy it no matter what, then that's probably what'll happen. Success on a road course breeds success. If you have some success on a road course you're probably going to like racing there. If you don't have success on a road course, it's probably a style of racing you're not going to like."

Editor's note: Watkins Glen qualifying

Cup qualifying was rained out with nine cars still in line to make attempts to topple Stewart off the pole slot.

Stewart had laid down a lap at 123.143 miles-per-hour before the skies opened up at Watkins Glen. He might have lost his fast time but due to recent performances, Stewart will start from the pole since the field was set by owner points.

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Series NASCAR-CUP