Tag:Tony Stewart
Posted on: September 9, 2011 12:07 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2011 12:15 pm

Richmond race preview

By Pete Pistone

The race for the Chase comes to a conclusion tonight at Richmond Interntional Raceway.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Making the "Chase" is all on the line Saturday night at Richmond Int'l Raceway)

Wonderful Pistachios 400 Preview 

It’s exactly what NASCAR had hoped for when the regular season began. Now with only one race left to decide what drivers will qualify for this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, fourteen hold out hope of securing one of three remaining spots in Saturday night’s Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway. 

The introduction of the Wild Card element to this year’s Chase proceedings has increased the level of intrigue in the 2011 title race and given hope to a number of drivers and teams who under the old rules would have been out of the picture weeks ago. 

It’s also brought added pressure to those trying to maintain a spot inside the Top 10 of the point standings, an accomplishment that brings with it an automatic berth in the ten race championship season. 

Tony Stewart is one of those feeling the heat as he sits in the tenth and final transfer spot heading into Richmond and 23 points ahead of 11th place Denny Hamlin. 

But Stewart refuses to give in to the pressure of trying to hold serve in the last race of the regular campaign. 

“To be honest, I’ve never fallen into pressure,” Stewart said. “All thirteen years we’ve been here in the points, we’ve just strictly dealt with it one week at a time. That’s the easiest way to approach it. What you do this week is this week Then once this weekend is over and done, you worry about next week. It’s literally that simple for us.”  

Ninth place Dale Earnhardt Jr. is taking a similar approach to Stewart as he tries to return to NASCAR’s playoffs for the first time in three years. 

Despite having a mediocre outing in Atlanta last weekend, Earnhardt still has a relatively comfortable 25 point advantage over 11th place. 

"We lost a little bit of ground and it's a little bit tighter going into Richmond, but we still feel pretty good," Earnhardt said after his Atlanta outing. "We should be able to go out there and make that happen."  

Earnhardt needs to finish 20th or better Saturday night no matter what anyone else does and he’ll move on to the Chase. While he’s confident that can be done, Earnhardt isn’t completely sold on being able to challenge for a title once the playoffs begin. 

“I still think we are relatively comfortable and doable,” Earnhardt said of qualifying for the playoffs. “We will just try to go in there and run better, and do better and I am not really worried about it.  I don’t have room to worry about it as bad as we have been running.  We need to get our crap together and get to running good.  Or it doesn’t matter where we are in the Chase and doesn’t matter if we are in or not.”


Richmond Int’l Raceway 

Track Size: .750-miles 

Race Length: 400 laps 

Banking/Frontstretch: 8 degrees 

Banking/Backstretch: 2 degrees

Banking/Corners: 14 degrees


Qualifying/Race Data   

2010 pole winner: Carl Edwards (127.762 mph) 

2010 race winner: Denny Hamlin (104.096 mph, 9-11-10)  

Track qualifying record: Brian Vickers (129.983 mph, 5-14-04)  

Race record: Dale Jarrett (109.047 mph, 9-6-97)


Race Facts

There have been 110 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Richmond since the track opened in 1953.

The current 400-lap race length was established on the .542-mile measurement in March 1976.

Buck Baker won the pole in 1953. 

There have been 48 different pole winners, led by Bobby Allison and Richard Petty (eight). 

Jeff Gordon (five) leads active drivers with five poles. 

47 different drivers have posted victories at Richmond, led by Richard Petty (13). 

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Terry Labonte (three) lead active race winners. 

Car owner Richard Petty has won 15 races at Richmond, more than any other team.

63 of 109 races have been won from the top five starting positions, including 22 from the pole. 

The last driver to win from the pole was Kyle Busch in May 2010. 

13 of the past 16 races have been won from the top 10, but three of the last six have been won from a starting position outside the top 10. 

The furthest back in the field a race winner has started was 31st, by Clint Bowyer in 2008’s spring race.

Kyle Petty became the first third-generation NASCAR race winner when he won his first race, at Richmond, on Feb. 23, 1986. Richard Petty posted his first Richmond victory in 1961 and Lee won the very first Richmond race in 1953.

Three active drivers have an average finish inside the top 10: Kyle Busch (5.2), Denny Hamlin (8.0) and Clint Bowyer (9.8). 

Five of the last six races have had a margin of victory less than one second.  

Four drivers have come from outside the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup cut-off to make the Chase at Richmond:


  • Jeremy Mayfield in 2004 made up a 55-point deficit


  • Ryan Newman in 2005 made up a one-point deficit


  • Kasey Kahne in 2006 made up a 30-point deficit


  • Brian Vickers in 2009 made up a 20-point deficit


Who’s Hot at Richmond   

Kyle Busch – Has already locked up the number one seed in the Chase and has nothing to race for Saturday night except a fifth win of the regular season.  A three-time Richmond winner including last April’s victory and riding a streak of five straight Top 5 finishes into Saturday night’s race. 

Denny Hamlin – If you’re looking for a home track advantage give it to Hamlin, who has excelled at Richmond since moving into the Sprint Cup Series. The Virginia native has two wins and a 7.5 average finish at the track in eleven career starts and has finished first and second the last two times out.  

Clint Bowyer – His days at RCR seem numbered but Bowyer could give himself a much-needed pick me up with another good run Saturday night at a track where he’s been very successful. Won at Richmond in 2008 and has compiled the third best average finish in the last ten years with a 9.5 in eleven starts.


Who’s Not   

Brad Keselowski – Has a Wild Card wrapped up but would like to race his way into the Top 10 of the standings and use his wins a bonus points for Chase seeding. He’ll need to overcome what has been a rough Cup career at Richmond with a 14th place finish his best effort in four starts. 

Paul Menard – A win and Menard is in the Chase as a Wild Card, but it probably won’t be an easy task based on his previous Richmond performance. A 28.3 average finish in nine starts includes a rough 37th place run back in April.  

Jamie McMurray – Good days have been few and far between for McMurray this season. Richmond has never been one of his better tracks as the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing’s record of a 24.3 average finish in seventeen starts bears out.



Originally known as the Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds, Richmond 

International Raceway held its first race in 1946 as a half-mile dirt track. 

The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was April 19, 1953.

The spring 1964 race was run on a Tuesday night under temporary lighting.

The track name changed to Virginia State Fairgrounds in 1967.

The track surface was changed from dirt to asphalt between races in 1968.

The track name changed to Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway in 1969. 

Track was re-measured to a half-mile in April 1969; then to .542-mile in September. 

The track was rebuilt as a three-quarters-mile D-shaped oval following the Feb. 21, 1988 race. 

The first race under permanent lights was Sept. 7, 1991. 

The first season with both races as night races was 1999. 

There have been 271 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Virginia.

161 drivers in NASCAR’s three national series (all-time) have their home state recorded as Virginia.

There have been 18 race winners from Virginia in NASCAR’s three national series.


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Posted on: September 6, 2011 11:56 pm

Chase clinch scenarios for Richmond

With only one race remaining until the 12-driver lineup for Chase is set, nine drivers have clinched their bids -- Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Brad Keselowski.

Here are the clinch scenarios for the final three Chase spots.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt is currently 25 points ahead of 11th place. Regardless of any other driver’s finish, Earnhardt will clinch if he finishes:
-- 20th or better
-- 21st or better and leads at least one lap
-- 22nd or better and leads the most laps
Tony Stewart
Stewart is currently 23 points ahead of 11th place. Regardless of any other driver’s finish, Stewart will clinch if he finishes:
-- 18th or better
-- 19th or better and leads at least one lap
-- 20th or better and leads the most laps
A number of different finishes affect the wild card:
Denny Hamlin

-- With a victory, Hamlin will earn at least a wild card spot. He can still mathematically finish top 10 in points.

Paul Menard

-- With a victory, Menard would earn a wild card spot.

Marcos Ambrose and David Ragan

-- With a victory AND entry into the top 20, Ambrose or Ragan would earn a wild-card spot. Both drivers are currently outside the top 20. Ambrose is seven points outside the top 20; Ragan is 20 points outside the top 20.
All drivers through 23rd place in the series standings remain eligible for a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Aside from the scenarios listed above, those without an already-clinched Chase spot need a win, a top 20 spot and various finishes from other drivers to earn a Chase spot.

Source: NASCAR

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Posted on: September 6, 2011 6:00 pm

Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart post Atlanta

Posted by Pete Pistone

Jimmie, we'll start with you.  Talk a little bit about the race today.  You took over the points lead.  You're leading by 21 points over Kyle Busch.  Could you talk about your run out there.          

JIMMIE JOHNSON:  We're just having a terrible lead out there.  Glad to be leading in the points.  Haha, nobody? All of our regulars are gone already.  (Laughter) there's a laughter.  Perfect.           

We had a great day today.  The first two runs the car was pretty bad.  And Chad made some great adjustments on pit road to get the car in the track to where I could carry any speed in and through the center and then use the throttle off.  Before that I was on ice and couldn't drive the car.           

At that point we worked our way through traffic, which was very difficult to do and raced the top four, top six off and on.  Had the lead a little bit.  And at the end Jeff caught me and passed me at the run before and I felt I ran the tires off the car.           

So I took my time and knew we had a 38-lap run or something like that, Chad mentioned to me once we got rolling after that last caution.  And I just felt like I should take care of my stuff until the end.  And sure enough I started catching them.           

But I just didn't have enough to get by.  I got inside of him a couple times.  Got to the outside once.  And just didn't have enough regroup to kind of get there and stay there.  And the time I got to be outside of him, I felt I was going to be in good shape.  But I think we had a lap car get in the way there and use me as a pick a little bit, couldn't complete the pass.           

Awesome day.  Happy to see a Hendrick car in Victory Lane and a great day for the Lowe's team.          

THE MODERATOR:  Tony, finishing third.  Could you talk about Atlanta and going into Richmond in a few days.           

TONY STEWART:  Really happy.  I will say this:  If Ed Clark decides to repave this racetrack, I'll personally shoot him myself.           

This place is so racy, so much fun.  Like Jimmie said, you could -- here more so than anywhere we go to, you actually have to take care of your tires and budget them for your run.  And that's what makes it fun here because guys overdrive run their cars, run too hard on the front and then they fall off the last half.           

But, man, we had an awesome car at the end, especially, gaining eight and a half seconds on the leader there was definitely an awesome run.  And we had a lot of guys we got back in those last ten laps.           

So helped us out going into next week, obviously.  And like Jimmie said, just I'm really proud of everybody at Stewart Haas Racing for their dedication.  They keep persevering and pushing it to make it better each week.  It's been a tough last couple of months.  But I appreciate everybody in our shop, the road crews.  And Ryan making The Chase, getting locked in today, and just all of our partners and sponsors.                       

Q.  Tony, is it better that you kind of gain points and maybe solidified more your position as far as The Chase goes, or the fact that you ran well and maybe things look a little brighter as far as The Chase goes in a couple of weeks?           

TONY STEWART:  I would say probably the first more so than the second.  I mean, once we leave here, what we get here doesn't mean anything next week as far as performance.  But those points are big going into next week for sure.           

So I wish what we did here transferred over to Richmond next week, but it doesn't.  But I'm really proud of the effort that everybody gave this week.  And I don't know whether we're 23 or 24 points ahead of the 2 car now.  But we definitely gained a couple on him today.  And it may come down to one point.           

So having the strong finish that we had may be the difference of making it or not making it next week.             

Q.  Jimmie, you joked about you've done terrible this year.  But does this have any feel like last year, last year all the talk was about Benny, and this year maybe there's not as much talk about you.  Again, you have to feel good, I assume, about where you are right now?           

JIMMIE JOHNSON:   Yeah, I do.  And truthfully, from a driver's perspective, a team's perspective, we're involved with our -- our viewpoint is just the reality inside of our race team.  And very little outside discussion or talk influences what's going on in our minds.           

I mean, we know the reality of our race team and if we're a contender or not.  And I feel we're building in that direction and we're getting stronger each week.  We still have weak points.  We still are not qualifying like we need to.           

And at some point in the race we seem to have the car pretty far off.  But the good side of that is Chad and Greg find a way to fix it.           

They did today within two pit stops.  Got the car -- I was going to go a lap down, the first car in front of the 24 going a lap down and drove away from them.  I was able to race my way back up there and actually fight them for the win.  So there is a lot of, in the reality inside, is we know we've got a very good chance of winning the championship.           

It comes along -- that's what I was trying to get you guys to laugh a little bit about, the bad year and all that --  as time goes on and I have more experience and go through this more, certainly having more fun along the way, too.             

Q.  Jimmie, it seemed pretty clear the last several years that you've been more willing and able to drive a loose race car than Jeff has.  How long has it been since you've seen him win when his car was that loose, and did it kind of surprise you that he was so willing and able and that you actually lost a battle of sideways to Jeff?           

JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I hadn't put a ton of thought into it.  His car didn't look -- I mean, every car around here, and I know what the setup was, and it was much tighter than mine.  But through it all, I mean to race that hard for a win is what we all wake up and are excited to do each and every time we get in a race car.           

I wish I could have won, but I have a lot of satisfaction in racing my friend and teammate.  And it's Jeff Gordon that hard for a win.           

May not have had the dominance that we'd seen before in recent years, but it's still Jeff Gordon.  And it's so cool to race that hard with him.  And even if I did come in second, it's okay.  I'd much rather have won.  But we left it all out there on the track.  And he got it done today.            

Q.  Jimmie, was the rain going on on Sunday, how was the grip at the beginning of the race?  Was the speedway very green or --           

JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah the track was definitely green.  And I know the way that we anticipated the track to start was far different than the reality.        

We worked on our cars and submitted them for inspection on Sunday and obviously didn't have a chance to work on them coming in today's race.  And the balance and grip level changed dramatically on the track.           

It would take our car, after the delay, everybody picking up rubber, especially the start of the race, it took a couple of runs for our car's balance to get close to where we set the vehicle up to be and what we expected.        

So it was a different racetrack today and the temperatures being low put a lot of grip in the racetrack.

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Posted on: September 2, 2011 6:27 pm

Mark Martin on Tony Stewart's radar

By Pete Pistone

Veteran Mark Martin would fit the bill to split time with Danica Patrick next season at Stewart-Haas Racing according to team owner Tony Stewart.

However there are still many details to work out including sponsorship before Stewart is ready to launch his new entry for the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season.

Stewart admitted to a hectic schedule and much planning before announcing last week that Patrick would run 8-10 Cup races out of his stable next season in anticipation to a full series assault the following year.

“Absolutely. This has been talked about for months before it was announced obviously so the preparation has already started and there’s been a lot of meetings saying are we capable of doing this, what changes do we have to make, that ball was already in motion so it’s not an added distraction,” Stewart said of also trying to balance his effort trying to make this year's Chase.

As for Martin coming on board, Stewart says he's all for it if things can be worked out.

“I would love to have him," Stewart said. "The biggest thing is us getting the financial backing to run the remainder of those races. I would love nothing more than Mark in all the races that Danica doesn’t run next year. I’ve been a Mark Martin fan for a long time and trust me I would love nothing more than to have Mark in one of our cars.

“He would be a leading candidate right now for sure.

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Posted on: September 2, 2011 4:24 pm

Drivers explain missing White House function

By Pete Pistone

Some of the drivers who were invited but won't be able to attend Wednesday's White House reception with President Barack Obama met with the media Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway to explain why their schedules won't allow them to be in Washington.

Greg Biffle is committed to a sponsor function that had been planned for months.

"I called (3M) and talked to them about the invitation, and this was very important to them," Biffle said. "The function is designed around me and they really can't have it if I can't go. Unfortunately, the date conflicts with the invitation."
Biffle said he was "disgusted" by the notion of some that he somehow "rejected" the invitation.

"I'm very flattered for the invitation and I would love to go," Biffle said. "I would take advantage of that. I've been to Walter Reed for seven years in a row; things like this are important to me. I simply have an obligation."
Like Biffle, Tony Stewart's already locked down schedule won't allow him to attend.

"We do have an obligation that we have to fulfill," Stewart said. "I've enjoyed every trip and I've been very honored to be invited. I'm very sorry that I'm going to miss the chance to go again.

"There's a lot of people in this nation that would love to have that opportunity and spend time with the president and just have a couple minutes of his time. It's a tough schedule that we have."

Kevin Harvick added that his schedule is also jammed but that he meant no disrespect in being unable to fulfill the meeting with the president.

"I understand the honor and things," said Harvick. "Just with everything we have going right now, there's no way possible to reschedule the things we had going next week."

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Posted on: September 2, 2011 12:18 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 12:22 pm

Atlanta race preview

By Pete Pistone

AdvoCare 500 Preview 

There would be no better way for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to celebrate his new contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports than with a win Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 

But right behind finally ending his more than three year winless drought would be for Junior to lock down a spot in the Chase, which is within his reach with a good finish in the Advocare 500. 

Earnhardt can punch his ticket to the playoffs of he leave Atlanta 49 points to the good of 11th place in the standings, an additional ten markers ahead of where he stands now in the ninth spot. 

The good news for Earnhardt is the lightning-fast, 1.5-mile track is one of his favorites and a place where he’s excelled over the years including visiting victory lane back in 2004. 

“Atlanta is a driver's track because it is so wide and races so wide that there's groove after groove after groove,” Earnhardt said. “I always look forward to going down to Atlanta. It’s incredibly fast, and we’ve run well there. I’m looking forward to working with Steve (Letarte, crew chief) and the guys to see what we can do this weekend.” 

Tony Stewart is hoping past success at Atlanta can also play into his night on Sunday, which is critical to keeping his Chase hopes alive. 

Stewart is hanging on to the tenth and final points position Chase transfer spot but has a hard-charging Brad Keselowski only 21 points behind with twelfth place Clint Bowyer a mere 22 out. 

Stewart is well aware of his recent struggles including finishing three laps off the pace in Bristol last week and is still focused on getting into the Chase in addition to trying to turnaround his team’s entire program. 

“I want to make the Chase more than anything,” Stewart said. “I want it for our sponsors. I want it for our organization. But most of all, I just want us to get back on track. If that means we miss the Chase in the process, we do. But we’re going to try to do everything we can to make it. Like I say, the most important thing is getting our program back on track.” 

Stewart is still winless after 24 races this season but believes if he can find a way to stop the struggles of recent weeks he can return to victory lane as well as be competitive once the Chase begins. 

“Obviously, if we knew what the problem was, we would fix it,” Stewart said. “But you know it could turn around in a week, it may not turn around the rest of the year. We don’t know. But the thing is, our main goal right now is to get this program turned around and get us back on track and get us where we know we need to be and deserve to be. We’ll keep working hard toward that and we’ve got to take it one day at a time. I would love for it to be sooner rather than later, obviously."  


Atlanta Motor Speedway 

Track Size:  1.54-miles  

Race Length:  500 miles/325 laps   

Banking/Corners: 24 degrees 

Banking/Straights: 5 degrees  

Qualifying/Race Data   

2010 pole winner: Denny Hamlin (187.38, 29.587 seconds)

2010 race winner: Tony Stewart (129.041 mph, 9-5-10)  

Track qualifying record: Geoffrey Bodine (197.478 mph, 28.074 seconds, 11-15-97)   

Race record: Dale Earnhardt (163.633 mph, 11-16-97)


Race Facts  

There have been 103 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta Speedway, two races per year except 1961, which had three. This year marks the first season with only one.        

Fireball Roberts won the pole and race for the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 1960.        

45 drivers have won a pole, led by Buddy Baker and Ryan Newman, each with seven. 

Six of Newman’s seven poles came in consecutive races between March 2003 and October 2005. 

42 drivers have won a race; 22 have won more than once. 

Dale Earnhardt scored nine victories, more than any other driver. Cale Yarborough is second, with seven. 

Bobby Labonte heads the list of active drivers with six victories. Labonte is tied with Richard Petty for third on the all-time win list at Atlanta. 

The Wood Brothers have 12 victories, more than any organization. They last won there in 1993, with Morgan Shepherd. 

14 races have been won from the pole. The last to do so was Kasey Kahne in 2006. Both races last season were won from the second starting position. 

59 races at Atlanta have been won from the first five starting positions. 

Bobby Labonte won the 2001 fall race from the 39th starting position, the deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Atlanta.

There have been seven season sweeps, most recently by Jimmie Johnson in 2007.


Who’s Hot at Atlanta    

Tony Stewart – He’s definitely been hot at Atlanta during his Sprint Cup career and desperately needs to keep that going this weekend as Stewart hangs on dearly to his Chase hopes. The defending race winner has the best career average finish of active drivers at AMS over the last ten years with a mark of 9.0.  

Jeff Gordon – Unlike Stewart Gordon has an impressive performance record at Atlanta over the years in addition to momentum at this point of the season. His third place finish at Bristol last week locked him into a Chase position so look for a bit of a “win or bust” mentality to come from the 24 team Sunday night. 

Jimmie Johnson – A three-time Atlanta winner, Johnson has an average finish of 10.4 at the track in 19 career starts. Like his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Gordon, winning is all that matter rights now for Johnson as he tries to improve his seeding in the Chase.


Who’s Not   

Brad Keselowski – He’ll have to overcome past challenges at Atlanta to keep his incredible hot streak alive Sunday night. In two career Cup starts the Penske racing driver has finishes of 36th and 25th. 

Joey Logano – The added pressure of performing well at the home track of sponsor Home Depot is compounded by Logano’s disappointing Sprint Cup career at AMS.  Four starts have produced a best finish of 22nd and an average mark of 28.5 

David Reutimann – While there are other 1.5-mile tracks on the schedule were Reutimann has performed well during his Sprint Cup career, Atlanta is not one of them. Seven starts have added up to an average finish just over 25th.



Originally called Atlanta International Raceway, the track was then a 1.5-mile paved speedway.  

The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta was on July 31, 1960, won by Fireball Roberts from the pole.       

The track was re-measured to 1.522 miles in the spring of 1970.      

It was renamed Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1990.       

The track layout was reversed and the track was re-configured to 1.54 miles between the two races in 1997. 

There have been 162 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Georgia.        

169 NASCAR national series drivers all-time have their home state recorded as Georgia.       

There have been 14 race winners from Georgia in NASCAR’s three national series.


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Posted on: August 26, 2011 4:08 pm

Tony Stewart looking for Danica partner

By Pete Pistone

Danica Patrick will run 8-10 Sprint Cup Series races for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2012 but team owner Tony Stewart would like to add another driver to the mix and field the car for the entire schedule.

Stewart says his organization is actively searching for a driver-sponsor combination that would allow SHR to run three full-time cars next season.

“If we can put together a package to run somebody in the rest of the races, we would love to do that,” Stewart said. “It’s in everybody’s best interest to do that and I know it would be good for us as a team to run that car full time next year if that opportunity presents itself.”

There has been speculation that Mark Martin, who is currently without a ride for 2012 after he leaves Hendrick Motorsports at the end of this season, would be partnered with Patrick in the combination plans. However GoDaddy.com will only sponsor Patrick's full Nationwide Series effort for JR Motorsports and the Cup races she runs for SHR. Another sponsor would be needed to run Martin or any other driver for the balance of the schedule.

As for Patrick's plans, Stewart is happy with what's been developed next season as his team gets ready to run her for a full Sprint Cup Series schedule in 2013.

“The way it’s laid out is a really good schedule,” Stewart said. “For her to be in a stock car every week is going to be great for her, it’s going to be a great experience. To run her in the amount of races we’re going to run her in will be good to get her ready for Cup in 2013.”

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 4:24 pm

Tony Stewart denies Danica Cup plan a done deal

By Pete Pistone

BROOKLYN, Mich. - Forget those reports about Danica Patrick having a done deal next year to run a handful of Sprint Cup Series races for Stewart-Haas Racing in addition to her full Nationwide program for JR Motorsports, at least according to Tony Stewart.

During his media availability Friday at Michigan International Speedway, the team owner took exception to speculation he has the Indy Car star locked into a plan to run as a third entry to Stewart and Ryan Newman in about a dozen Cup races in 2012:

“It’s like I’ve always said when we have something to tell everybody we’ll tell them but there’s nothing to tell yet. I know there’s a lot of speculation but there is nothing to really talk about yet.”

“I don’t care about your sources. When we have something to talk about we’ll talk about it. I promise we won’t leave any of you guys out I promise.”

“What will be soon? I don’t know. I don’t know. If we knew that we’d already be talking about it wouldn’t we. When we have something to talk about I promise you I will not let any of you be late for the deal.”

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