Tony Stewart has less than 13 races to win a race and be inside the top-30 in points to have a chance at running for the championship in his final season. There is a phrase that goes around the NASCAR community that “Tony Stewart heats up in the summer!” Is that the case? The answer is no. That has not been the case throughout the illustrious career of Stewart. Throughout his career, the summer months from June to September have given Stewart some momentum going into the final stretch of the season.
In 1999, Stewart’s rookie season, he had a win at Richmond in the month of September. In 2000, he had six wins overall, and three wins in the summer at Loudon, Dover, and Michigan. In 2001, Stewart had won at Sonoma and Bristol in the summer months. In 2002, which was a championship year for Smoke, he had one win at Sonoma during the summer. 2003 saw Stewart hit victory lane once at Pocono. In 2004, Stewart won at Chicago and Watkins Glen during the summer months. In 2005, a championship year for Stewart, he won an all-time five times during the summer months at Sonoma, Daytona, Loudon, Indianapolis, and Watkins Glen. In 2006, victory lane came once at Daytona in the summer. 2007 saw Stewart in victory lane at Chicago, Indianapolis, and Watkins Glen. Stewart hit victory lane in 2009 at Pocono, Daytona, and Watkins Glen. He hit victory lane once in 2010 at Atlanta. 2011 was a championship year for Stewart, however, all five of his season victories came during the Chase, but two of those victories came in September in Loudon and Chicago. In 2012, the only victory came at Daytona.
2008, 2013, because of a leg injury from racing on dirt, 2014, because of the Kevin Ward Jr. incident, and 2015 all saw Stewart go winless.
Stewart is currently winless in 2016. There is no doubt that he will be able to make the top-30 in points, but the real question is “Can he win a race?” Stewart is currently 35th in the points standings. Can Stewart find the magic from Lady Luck in the summer to win a race and lock himself into the Chase over the next 13 races?