First of all, thanks to Diecast Dude of Restrictor-Plate This for alerting us to this wonderfully and typically sarcastic Tony Stewart statement of compliance with NASCAR's new speak your mind policy:
Tony Stewart finished fifth Sunday and then indicated he had paid attention during a meeting for drivers and car owners that NASCAR called on Friday.
"Ask Mike Helton. I don't know what we're allowed to say and what we're not," Stewart said.
Helton, NASCAR's president, admonished drivers in Friday's meeting to be more "fan friendly."
"I'm just thankful we're allowed to be here and be a part of this," Stewart said, apparently mirroring what Helton said.
"It's just a privilege for us to be here and, according to Friday, we've all got it a lot better than a lot of us think.
"We're not allowed to have opinions now. We've all got it made here. We've all got it great.
"At least that is what we've all been told."
From That's Racin'.com by David Poole
Stewart enjoys playing with the media, and with the high mucky-mucks in NASCAR, and he continues to do so.
He seems to be in high spirits coming off of his fifth place finish at Michigan, and we know he is now headed into what has traditionally become his winning part of the season. (Please visit Trixie's Trailer Park for more information on Tony's winning streaks especially as it applies to his championship seasons).
Ignoring the fact that we may be jinxing him, we see no reason why he shouldn't win at Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 from Infineon Raceway, which we still like to call Sears Point. His last win there was in June of 2005, and you may remember one of the most exciting finishes in NASCAR road racing as Smoke practiced patience and skill in hunting down Ricky Rudd and passing him in the final lap for the win. Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya are the two winners since then.
The #20 team seems to be the best equipped to win at Sears Point this year, mainly because of the "if only" at Charlotte, and the strength of the team in so many of the other races, discounting bad luck and bad judgement by other drivers. Stewart has several times proven himself to be one of the best when it comes to road racing in the heavy NASCAR machines, and his experience alone should be enough to hold off challenges from possible surprise winners Patrick Carpentier, AJ Allmendinger, or Sam Hornish, Jr.
Jeff Gordon's team, on the other hand seems to be in a slump, and we don't see them resolving their issues immediately, or, at least, not soon enough to see victory at Sears Point this Sunday. JPM's team has been in a rebuilding mode all season, and still is, so the #40 team may not have a very good chance at winning the race. That leaves, in my mind, Tony Stewart.
A win by Stewart may partially quiet the speculation on unconfirmed rumors that has been so rampant by the media this season, concerning his future with Gibbs. Stewart will continue to play the meda, and let them make fools of themselves, then announce his retirement sometime toward the end of next year, just as he said he would when he signed his current contract.