Nothing like being a driver of a top NASCAR Sprint Cup Team; nothing like being an owner of top NASCAR Sprint Cup teams, teams that are expected to compete at the highest level and win races. Nothing like being all of that but not competing at the highest level or winning races. That is the two edge sword that Tony Stewart has fallen upon.
To say that the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teams are having a disappointing season is an understatement. The expectations for them were not high at all, a mediocre season would be for Tony to make the Chase, Ryan Newman to just miss the Chase and new teammate Danica Patrick to learn and grow in the top 20. It isn’t happening.
Ryan Newman is leading the charge in 17th, followed by Tony Stewart 21st and then Danica Patrick 25th. That is not a mediocre season, if they should finish that way it would be a failure. The question is what is wrong? Why is this happening?
Is there something wrong with the cars or engines? SHR gets their cars and engines from Hendrick Motor Sports. The other Hendrick cars are in 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 15th places. Those cars have won three of the seven races so far. It is not the cars.
Is it that SHR added another team which took resources away from Tony and Ryan? No, SHR hired a new crew chief for Ryan, Matt Borland, and moved Tony Gibson to Danica’s team. By all rights a great move considering the success Ryan had with Matt Borland earlier in his career. Since Ryan is doing better than any of the SHR drivers it looks like that that move alone was a good one.
The only thing left to look at is the new generation six car. Somehow SHR hasn’t been able to get it to perform for their drivers. Is it the extra rear wheel camber? Can it be the elimination of the rear sway bar? Is it the bigger rear spoiler?
It is very hard for the fans; including me to see Tony Stewart and his teams struggle with the new car. It is also impossible to fathom that they won’t figure it out.
Kasey Kahne was 26th in points at this point in the season last year and made the Chase but it took two wins and a really good rest of the season to do it. If Tony Stewart doesn’t get it fixed fast time will run out. Tony’s troubles are affecting all of SHR and the sooner his team gets it fixed the sooner Ryan and Danica will do better.
Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary. On Facebook at NASCAR News and Commentary. On Pinterest at NASCARnews. Also add to your network on Google.