Tony Stewart’s 2015 Struggles Are His Own Fault


Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the 2015 season there were many NASCAR people who believed that Tony Stewart was going to have a nice season. Back in February I not only predicted right here on Beyond The Flag that Stewart would make the chase but I also predicted that he would win a race. With the chase only six races away it seems fairly evident that Stewart will not be making the chase this season. Moreover, with Stewart running the way he is it also seems as though he will not be winning this season.

More from NASCAR

After his slow start this season Stewart shouldered much of the blame in the few public interviews that he gave. My initial thought there was not much of a thought at all. Sometimes drivers get off to slow starts, Stewart is known for slow starts. The fact that Stewart was willing to shoulder the blame early on was really par for the course in my mind.

Over the last few weeks Stewart’s tone hasn’t changed. In interviews he continues to shoulder the blame for the way that he has been racing and the results that the team has been posting. As Stewart continued to put himself out there I became more annoyed. Sure, Stewart has made some mistakes on the track this season but the overall failure is a team effort and not a personal one when it comes to Stewart. There are a lot of other moving parts on a team besides a driver and unless a driver is wrecking every weekend it’s hard to place all of the blame on them when things are not going well.

Then Indianapolis came and went and I have now decided that Stewart is 100 percent to blame for this team being where they are.

Again, it’s not actually his fault in the sense of what he is doing behind the wheel. Instead Stewart is to blame for the fact that Chad Johnston is still sitting atop of his pit box. In Indy Johnston single-handedly took a top-five finish away from the No. 14 team. All race long Stewart and Harvick were basically on the same pit cycle until Johnston decided to deviate from the plan. The first time that Stewart pitted and Harvick stayed out it only cost him two spots on the track. After that the flurry of cautions came and Johnston brought Stewart to pit road every single time.

Stewart had himself a top-five car that he barely managed to get inside of the top-30. Johnston is the reason that this team is where it is but Stewart is the one to blame because he continues to allow Johnston to run the show.

Indy was just one of many examples in 2015 where Stewart finished poorer than he should have because of calls that Johnston made during the race. Numerous times Stewart has had questionable pit calls where he pitted out of cycle or took a different number of tires. On top of all of that there have also been numerous times this season where Stewart shows up to a track with a car that is 30th-fastest on Friday and come race day his car isn’t any faster.

It’s things like this that fall on Johnston. It’s things like this that Johnston is responsible for and those thing directly impact the team if Johnston is not on the ball. While it might be Johnston’s job to be hitting on all of these things, it’s Stewart’s job to do something about it if he isn’t. The No. 14 team is a sinking ship as long as Johnston is at the helm and Stewart seems to have no problem going down with the ship. As long as Stewart maintains this stance, the fault and failures of the 2015 season rest solely on him for not making a change to better him and the team.

Next: Is Wining Actually A Bad Thing For Kyle Busch?

More from Beyond the Flag