Tony Stewart finally ended his 84 race winless drought last weekend in Sonoma as it makes his life much easier this weekend in Daytona. If he didn’t win last Sunday, Daytona was likely going to be his final chance at earning that coveted win and making this year’s Chase.
But now, he doesn’t have to worry about that as the win makes the wildcard Coke Zero 400 less stressful.
Really, all he needs to worry about now is not falling any further behind in the standings as he enters this weekend just nine points out of the 30th and final spot in the standings. If he can get into the top 30 in the points, then Stewart would be in this year’s Chase by virtue of last week’s win in Sonoma.
In fact, the Coke Zero 400 is one of Stewart’s best races, as he has four wins in the July race during his storied career with the last one coming in 2012. Furthermore, he has three top twos in his last seven Coke Zero 400 starts, so that should give him the upmost confidence heading into this weekend’s race with a potential to go two in-a-row on the season.
Reality is, the time is now for Stewart to win as it would definitely be a popular one.
He finished 14th in the Coke Zero 400 last year as it was his last start at Daytona after missing the entire Speedweeks back in February while he recovered from a back injury.
Actually, this Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 will be his final start ever at Daytona. With him hanging up his helmet after the season, and this being the last race at Daytona this year, this is it for him at Daytona.
He may actually go down as one of the best racers ever at the restrictor plate track, as he ranks second behind Dale Earnhardt in career victories there. Earnhardt has 34 while Stewart has 19 trips to victory lane at Daytona.
Unfortunately though, the Daytona 500 was the one race that got away from Stewart, but he can make up for it at least with a fifth Coke Zero 400 win.
Despite that success, Daytona is one of Stewart’s least favorite tracks.
“There’s nothing I’m going to miss about that,” he said last week in Sonoma about his final start at Daytona.