Stewart clings to his bonus points

Share This Story

Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.


We’ve all seen Tony Stewart and that No. 14 car go through some adversity these last few weeks. What people can’t lose sight of, however, is the fact they are actually doing much better than a year ago. If you pull out and look where the No. 14 car was after 24  races this year vs. 24 races last year, they are in a whole lot better shape.

NASCAR Bristol


Bristol marked by monster crashes, outbursts. See the best photos.

Obviously, Steve Addington is guiding the ship this year with Tony’s former crew chief, Darian Grubb, having moved to the Denny Hamlin car. A year ago at this point, they were sitting just barely inside the top 10 in points with zero wins. This year, yes, they are once again 10th in points, but they already have those three wins to fall back on.

They are going to make the Chase. That’s not the issue. What’s at stake in these next two races is keeping Tony in the top 10 in points. If they don’t, then Tony will still get in the Chase with a wild card spot due to those three wins. But here's the rub: If he falls outside the top 10, the nine bonus points he would receive from those three wins don’t count once the Chase starts. That’s one of the provisions of a wild card berth – you get in the Chase but you don’t receive any bonus points for your previous regular-season wins.

The guys and gals at Stewart-Haas Racing and particularly that No. 14 car have all been here before. They are professionals and they know what to expect. They are smart enough to focus on what is coming up at Atlanta, Richmond and the 10 Chase races as opposed to looking back at what’s happened to them these last three weeks.

NASCAR Power Rankings


Keselowski's back in charge after JJ's setback. NASCAR Power Rankings

After what happened with Matt Kenseth at Bristol, will Tony race Matt any differently? Let’s just put it this way: I don’t think Tony will cut him any slack. Tony has a way and a knack for getting his point across, while not necessarily getting himself in trouble.

He just has his way of letting you know that you got his attention, he knows how you race now and more importantly, Tony is going to show you how he’s going to do it from here on out.

So finishing off these last two regular-season races and then those 10 Chase races, Matt better not expect that No. 14 to give him any slack whatsoever.

Tagged: Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart

More Stories From Larry McReynolds

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Chase Authentics Danica Patrick Big Rig Tri-Blend T-Shirt - Charcoal 26.95 Chase Authentics Danica Patrick Big Rig Tri-Blend T-Shirt - Charcoal
    Kyle Busch One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black 19.95 Kyle Busch One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black
    Matt Kenseth One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black 9.99 Matt Kenseth One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black
    Chase Authentics Carl Edwards 2013 Driver Schedule T-Shirt - Ash 24.95 Chase Authentics Carl Edwards 2013 Driver Schedule T-Shirt - Ash