Tony Stewart believes seven victories from the last 15 Sprint Cup races, plus the fact that he captured his third series' title in that period, marks his best ever run in NASCAR.
Stewart has picked up this year where he left off in 2011, winning two of the first five races (at Las Vegas and more recently at Fontana, in a rain-shortened event). The team owner/driver who races for his own Stewart Haas Racing squad has been able to keep his momentum despite offseason personnel changes to his squad, including replacing his championship-winning crew chief Darian Grubb with former Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing man Steve Addington.
"This is definitely the biggest one so far," said Stewart. "Especially to go through an offseason and pick it back up and to have some pretty big personnel changes in the middle of all that so, it's pretty big right now. You know the hard part is that you just don't want it to end, you want it to stay like this."
He added: "I don't know that it is the best I have run in my career but it is pretty close. I mean when we were running the year we won the (USAC sprint car/midget) Triple Crown in '95 I feel like that is the best that I had ever run in my career and I don't feel like we are far off that right now. This is the best I have run in NASCAR I think as far as just a long, consistent run like this."
Stewart admits his years of experience have definitely help build his current momentum but he reckons his team has been fielding fast cars ever since the 2011 Chase started. The team runs Chevrolet Impalas based on Hendrick Motorsports technology, namely chassis and engines. He has qualified among the top 10 in eight out of the last 15 races, besides his seven wins, leading laps in 12 of those events.
"I just feel like I have been racing a lot and I feel like that has helped so I think our group here has done a great job and I just feel like I am always in that race mode," said Stewart. "I mean, I am always running something but it makes it good when you come on a weekend and the cars are driving good and that's been that way since Chicago of last year all the way through now."
Stewart currently ranks fourth in the Sprint Cup standings, while his teammate Ryan Newman sits not far behind him in 10th.