The NASCAR Summer Stretch Heating Up for Tony Stewart

By Jake Thompson
Randy Sartin-USA Today Sports

This race weekend at Michigan International Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 2011 Champion Tony Stewart continued his sizzling summer of NASCAR finishes. His top-five finish of fifth in the Quicken Loans 400 propelled Stewart into the top 10 of the points standings where the former champion has not been all season.

Early in the season, Stewart was languishing in the lower half of the standings as it seemed Stewart-Haas Racing needed to make some serious changes. There has been no extreme changes yet Smoke has been able to mount a serious comeback that truly caught fire at Dover where he surprising won the race in the last few laps over dominant driver Juan Pablo Montoya.

Since then, Smoke has been extremely solid and consistent seen in the results of Sunday’s race. Many expected him to heat up in the summer but I don’t think anyone expected him to come back this easily after having such a rough start to the season.

Now it looks like Stewart is a definite Chase contender so don’t be surprise to see him considered as a challenge to the perennial title favorite Jimmie Johnson. Stewart has already shown us how he can heat up even in the Chase and run down the championship fueled by wins in NASCAR’s version of the playoffs.

Stewart is not too terribly in danger of losing his spot and going back into wild card competition so fans may begin to breathe easier.  If his consistent run continues, he can really shore up his case even for a championship this year.

Jake Thompson is a NASCAR Writer for Follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook.

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