Tony Stewart On 2015: ‘I Don’t Have Any Confidence’


Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Stewart is a three-time NASCAR champion that appears to have lost his way. After winning his third NASCAR title in 2011, Stewart had a good season in 2012. However, since then things have drastically gone in the opposite direction. Stewart won in 2013 but saw his season cut short by a broken leg. 2014 was marred by the Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy and 2015 has seen Stewart run like a shell of his former self.

More from NASCAR

Through 16 races in 2015, Stewart has only three finishes inside of the top-15 and one inside of the top-10. What is even more troubling is that Stewart has 11 finishes of 20th or worse and six of those finishes are 30th or worse. The bottom line is simple and it is that Stewart isn’t racing well despite being one of the most accomplished drivers in the series.

As 2015 has worn on so has Stewart’s unwillingness to talk to the media. Stewart hasn’t really been rude or unprofessional about it, he just hasn’t been made available that much in 2015 to talk about the season and what is happening. All of that has changed over the past two weeks though as Stewart did a lengthy interview with the Associated Press about his 2015 season and another one with Fox Sports about his prospects and need to win on Sunday in Daytona.

In regards to his 2015 season, Stewart was forthcoming with the AP when he was asked if he lacked confidence.

"What’s that? I should Google that and see if I can find the meaning of that word. I don’t have any confidence. ‘If I knew what to do, I would do it. don’t even know what to do to fix the problem. We don’t know what the problem is.I would say it’s me and the package — for some reason it just doesn’t suit what I am doing. the cars I grew up driving had a much higher power-to-weight ratio than what we have right now. I’ve never really been good with low-horsepower cars.Every week we come here, we are optimistic we are going to have a good week. There’s not a week that I show up and don’t think I can win. Chad (Johnston) shows up every week trying something different. I feel like I’m holding him back. I’m holding this whole team back."

On Sunday Stewart will take to a track in an event in which he has had success in the past. Many fans believe that if Stewart were just able to find a way to win a race it would turn around his entire season. Stewart on the other hand doesn’t exactly feel the same way about winning as some of his fans currently feel.

"It’s going to take more than one race. We could win a race anywhere right now, and I wouldn’t say, ‘We’ve got it fixed, we found it.’ Consistency is what I’m looking for more than that one win. I’d honestly rather have five top-fives than just one win right now."

When it comes to winning one race though, Daytona might just be the place for that to happen. Daytona isn’t about having the best car as much as it is about being in the right position at the right time to make a big move. Stewart acknowledged via Fox Sports that everyone has a shot at Daytona but he also admitted that he hates being in the same boat with the same hopes as the rest of the field.

"I wish I could explain it. I’m certainly not any happier about it than I’ve always been, but we have had a lot of success at restrictor-plate tracks, especially Daytona. I’m glad we’re halfway decent at it, but it’s still always frustrating when you have to rely on what everybody else does. The great thing about restrictor-plate racing though is that 43 cars all have the same shot at winning the race, but again, that’s also part of what makes it frustrating, too. It’s just being at the right place at the right time."

If Stewart were to find his way to victory lane on Sunday it would put him in a prime position to make the chase. Stewart will enter the Coke Zero 400 26th in the point standings and with a 41-point cushion over the 31st-place driver. A win on Sunday would stretch that advantage to at least 46 points with only nine races left before the start of the chase.

While Stewart might want consistency and top-five’s right now, I don’t think he will shoot down the chance at a win. Of all the issues that Stewart seems to be having, his confidence is the biggest in my opinion and nothing will help that confidence more than a trip to victory lane Sunday night in Daytona.

Next: Daytona President Explains Why Coke Zero 400 Was Moved To Sunday