Tony Stewart 2014 Stats: Points Finish 25th, 1 Pole, 0 Wins, 3 Top Fives, 7 Top Tens, Average Running Position 19.4, Average Finish 20.0, Laps Led 125, Driver Rating 74.0
Strengths – Look for Tony Stewart to have his best days at flat tracks, intermediate tracks and road courses.
Weaknesses – Tony Stewart has had more than his fair share of problems at restrictor plate tracks recently.
Track Type Fantasy Value Key = Elite > High > Moderate > Low
Intermediate Track Fantasy Value – High
Last season at intermediate tracks Tony Stewart wasn’t nearly as bad as many would believe. He had some disastrous races but minus Las Vegas, Homestead, and Atlanta he had a 12.8 average finish and a 15.0 average running position. I would look for Stewart’s best performances to come at the big 2.0 mile ovals where he had results of 5th and 11th last year. Also recently Stewart has found speed at Dover where he won in spring 2013.
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Flat Track Fantasy Value – High
In terms of talent on flat tracks Stewart has historically ranked near the top of class especially at the big flat tracks. Last year Stewart’s level of competitiveness was down across the board and his performances at these venues weren’t spared. At Pocono last season he had results of 13th and 36th. Prior to 2014 he was a perfect 4 for 4 in terms of finishing in the top ten on the new surface. Last season at Indy Stewart finished 17th. Prior to that he had 5 consecutive top tens and had a result in the top ten in 9 of the last 10 races.
Stewart has also been relatively successful at the shorter flat tracks. At New Hampshire he’s developed a recent trend. He has three straight top tens in July and in the fall race he hasn’t performed as well. At Phoenix he hasn’t quite developed a knack for that venue since the reconfiguration and has only finished in the top ten in 2 of the 6 races. Last season he had results of 16th and 20th.
Short Track Fantasy Value – Moderate
Tony Stewart had a few good finishes at short tracks last year. He finished 4th at Bristol in the spring and 4th at Martinsville in the fall. Outside of those two races he really didn’t do much to inspire confidence on this track type.
Tony Stewart’s traditional best short track is Richmond. He finished 15th or lower in the last three races there but prior to that stretch he had four consecutive top tens. At RIR Stewart has three career wins.
Bristol hasn’t been the friendliest track to Stewart recently. He finished 4th last spring but it’s important to note the attrition rate was sky high. Last August Stewart missed the event. In the six Bristol races prior to spring 2014’s race he had a 24.3 average finish.
Last fall at Martinsville Stewart was strong along with his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates and his 4th place finish is the real deal. In his next two most recent Martinsville starts he had back to back 17th place finishes.
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Restrictor Plate Track Fantasy Value – Moderate
Tony Stewart’s moderate fantasy value is largely based on his history and me being nice because he’s really fallen on hard times on this track type. Last season at plate tracks he was a dud and had a 38.0 average finish.
At Talladega Stewart went to victory lane in fall 2008. Since then he’s only finished in the top ten once and has a 25.4 average finish. Last season at Talladega he had results of 34th and 43rd. His three results prior to 2014 were all in the twenties.
At Daytona Stewart has won the summer night race four-times but he has yet to win the Daytona 500. In the summer race the track is slicker and that puts the race in the driver’s hands more. In last summer’s Daytona race he finished 40th but in the two July races prior to that event he had results of 1st and 2nd. In the Daytona 500 Stewart’s most recent top ten was in 2009.
Road Course Track Fantasy Value – High
Tony Stewart knows how to get around a road course as good as anyone. Evidence of that is his 7 career wins on this track type. Some of his more recent performances at these venues haven’t been the best but by no means has he forgotten how to drive. Also it should be noted some of his bad recent performances on this track type deserve an asterisk mark.
At Watkins Glen Tony Stewart has been to victory lane five times. He might even have another win if he raced there more often. His most recent race at that New York track was in 2012. In that 2012 performance he finished 19th but in that race he had top five potential but spun in the last third of the event. In 2011 at the Glen he had top ten potential but went off-roading in the closing laps. Prior to that event he had 7 straight top 7 finishes and six of those results were in the top 2.
Infineon hasn’t been quite as friendly to Stewart and he’s won there twice. He’s performed OK in recent years, but has been robbed of some good finishes along the way. At that venue I would look for him to be right around a 10th place performer.