Sitting in my office last Thursday, I was more fidgety than normal. Why? Just knowing the cup cars were testing at Daytona International Speedway had me aflutter. I didn’t think to DVR the test, which made me more than a little cranky because from the moment I stood onstage looking at the Team SS Cup Car at it’s debut in Vegas I have been wanting to see the car in action. The fact that the cars were on track signaled to my brain that Daytona is coming, Daytona is coming and it was all I could do not to run up and down the hall like Paul Revere proclaiming it to all who would listen. I didn’t because I cherish the job that pays me and makes it possible for me to eat and live and go to races.
It also means my brain has started going into hyper drive when thinking about all the question marks that exist for Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas racing and the 2013 season. Every NASCAR season there is something new…new points systems, new engine package, new hot dog recipe at Martinsville (just kidding), new new new. This year there are two huge unknowns along with a lot of little concerns that have this Tony Stewart fan a wee bit twitchy as I await the start of the 2013 Sprint Cup Season.
Unknown Number One: The Gen 6 Car
Yes I was excited to see the Gen 6 Chevy SS in Vegas during Champions week. So excited mind you that when they invited media up on stage at the end of the reveal that, in a role reversal, I was the one who practically drug poor Misty (who was having a very uncharacteristically shy moment) up on stage to look at the car up close. Or as close as I could get anyway- there were a LOT of people onstage- most of whom where jocking for the attention of the drivers on stage. That made it a little easier for me because I think if my brain realized that I was sharing the same space with the likes of Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson and other teach Chevy drivers I would have been far more nervous. Luckily for me most of the other media were clamoring for quotes while Misty and I were up there to get some snaps of the new car…and she is a beauty.
But running the new car? That is a different thing- and that makes me nervous. Yes, all the drivers and teams are dealing with a new Gen 6 car specific to their manufacturer. But new cars mean one thing to me- that our (don’t you just love how I include myself as if I am part of the team- well as a fan- I kind of think I am) notes on what works and what doesn’t work in what situation at specific tracks likely will not apply. That makes me REALLY nervous and I can only HOPE that Stewart-Haas is able to figure out the new car quickly- before other teams figure out the new car. It means testing is probably really important as are the engineers who work on the cars.
Unknown Number Two: No More Top 35 Rule
My second and biggest fear is the fact that the top 35 rule that previously locked the top 35 in points into a race is no longer in place. Tony is not necessarily the best when it comes to qualifying . He rarely threatens for a pole and that the rule that would get Tony into any race suddenly is not there. The very idea terrifies me. YES there are provisonals to get drivers into the field but what fan wants to have their driver depend on a provisional just to make the field? Not this one that is for certain.
Those are just the two “Big Ones” hanging over this fan’s head. There are others. The lackluster performance during the 2011 season being one. The crew chief change for Tony - I can only hope that he and Steve Addington are clicking after their first season. The addition of a third full time car to the Stewart-Haas stable with Danica. The rumors swirling around that there will be a FOURTH Stewart-Haas car in the stable in 2014 with the addition of Kevin Harvick to the team. All of these things make the NASCAR and the Tony Stewart fan in me worry. Ask anyone who knows me- I am a worrier. It’s what I do. If I could get paid for worring about things- I would be a rich woman.
Things I WANT out fo the 2013 season. I want to see Stewart-Haas get of to a strong and postive start in 2013 and I want the 14 team solidly in the top 10 in points all season. I have to say that after watching replays of “the big one” during testing on Friday I had to get a little confidence out of just seeing Tony weave his way through the accident and bring the 14 car out unscathed. Go Tony. I REALLY WANT to watch Tony Stewart win his first Daytona 500 this year. It’s one race that has eluded him duirng his his cup car career and what better way to start the season then winning the opening cup car race? I want that forth championship for my driver- one to prove that he didn’t cut his nose off to spite his face with letting Darian go and I want it to be one in dominating style. That is what I want for SHR and Team 14 in 2013…what do you want in your 2013 NASCAR season?
Related: Here is the official SHR release on the test at Daytona for all three times on the official Stewart-Haas Racing Facebook page.
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