NUMBERS ADD UP TO ROOKIE STARDOM FOR STEWART INDIANAPOLIS, June 30, 1999 -- As the NASCAR Winston Cup Series prepares to return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the first week of August, it is time to take a statistical look at...
NUMBERS ADD UP TO ROOKIE STARDOM FOR STEWART
INDIANAPOLIS, June 30, 1999 -- As the NASCAR Winston Cup Series prepares to return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the first week of August, it is time to take a statistical look at how Tony Stewart is faring in his rookie season on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit. Quite well, thank you. In fact, the way he has been competing in The Home Depot Pontiac owned by Joe Gibbs, Stewart could have his first victory before the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 7. Stewart, a native of Columbus, Ind., is on a roll. In his last nine races, including Indy, he has finished out of the top 10 only twice with a 15th at Richmond, Va., and a 15th last weekend at Sonoma, Calif. He also won The Winston qualifying race and placed second to veteran Terry Labonte in that special non-points event. His season earnings for 16 NASCAR Winston Cup starts are $1,028,121. He also earned $186,670 for his Indy finish and $155,037 for The Winston. Stewart also is in the thick of the Winston Cup points race. He holds down sixth place only 383 behind leader Dale Jarrett, but only 69 behind defending champion Jeff Gordon and 104 in front of seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt. Since both Stewart and Gordon cut their racing teeth in USAC open-wheel racing and they are only 71 days apart in age, it is appropriate to compare their rookie seasons. Gordon had two seconds in his first full season and won his first race, the Coca-Cola 600, in his 41st start, the next year. Stewart's best finishes have been fourth - at California, Charlotte and Dover.