Well pretty soon we will be heading into The Bud Shootout at Daytona and it can not get here fast enough for me. Of course I am especially excited to see Stewart-Haas drivers Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman in action- and see the teams working as a whole. I remember being shocked and slightly horrified when Tony made his initial announcement last season that he would be leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to form Stewart-Haas, but the more I heard him talking about it throughout the rest of the 2008 season the more excited I became and less anxious.
Then we entered what I like to call the dark part of the year, the NASCAR offseason, which is torturous for me. The news about my favorite drivers is far and few between and I am left to read what other bloggers think about the new season. Rumors and opinions abounded this off season and one thing I was surprised to find out is that there are a lot of people out there who do NOT think Tony will be a good owner and that this owner/driver situation will NOT work out for him. They talk about his temperament not being fitting for an owner and they talk about others who have gone before him (Michael Waltrip is often brought up into these discussions).
What many of these people fail to mention is that Stewart IS already a team owner. He is owner of the successful Tony Stewart Racing USAC and WOO teams. Not to mention that Stewart actually owns other companies, including an R/C company and True Speed Communications. He has been quoted as saying all along- he learned from Joe Gibbs that it’s important to put the right people in the right roles with in the company. Also- have they seen any of the pre-season press from Tony this season. For someone who isn’t the right temperament- he sure looks fairly relaxed and pretty happy.
I, of course, would love for the naysayers to be totally wrong. I want a strong showing right out of the gate at Daytona. I know that the odds are stacked against them for that- since the team is in its infancy pretty much. That being said I am going to predict (Ok..so it may be me being hopeful and biased) that Stewart Haas racing comes out of the stables for a fairly strong showing at Daytona. They will then struggle a little bit in the early spring and pick back up in late spring- early summer. Per usual Tony will heat up with the weather gets hot. And I think that when Tony gets hot this season he will be smokin’ hot (pun intended) and maybe even qualify better than he has in recent history. I think that at least one Stewart Haas racing car will make the Chase and right now I am putting my money on Tony.