It would have been easy for Tony Stewart to try and put a positive spin on things.
Even though he hasn't won a race this season, Stewart is still 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings and in position to qualify for the Chase for the seventh time in the past eight years.
But Stewart knows what a championship team looks like, after winning titles in 2002 and 2005. And, as of now, Stewart doesn't see the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet team winning it all.
"If we make the Chase, I don't feel like we're a championship contender right now," Stewart said. "We've got a championship-caliber team and equipment, but we haven't had the luck to go with it. Everything that can go wrong went wrong. ...It doesn't mean it can't turn around. It just means right now, today, we're not in that good of shape."
Stewart talked about his frustrating season with the media on Tuesday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway, taking a break from his "Smoke Show," a fantasy camp that allows participants the opportunity to experience what race day is like for NASCAR drivers.
The event has raised $676,000 to help children in North Texas through Speedway Children's Charities since it began in 2008.
"It's a fun day," Stewart said. "It's probably the most true sense of what a driver goes through on race day that you can have."
While Stewart enjoyed being on hand at TMS, he clearly wasn't too pleased with his season.
Stewart has had only two top-five finishes: a pair of second-place runs at the Kobalt Tools 400 in March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and at the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 in July at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
On Monday, Stewart had what seemed to be a promising day at Watkins Glen, running near the front most of the race. He was in seventh at the final restart, but a wreck on the final lap knocked him to 27th.
Stewart pointed to that disappointing finish as one reason he isn't too optimistic about his team with four races left before the Chase.
"We probably shouldn't be where we are in points for sure," Stewart said. "We just had a weird year where nothing has gone right. To be in the last spot in the Chase right now, hanging on to it is going to be a miracle."
Now, with the Chase on the horizon, Stewart isn't sure how it will all unfold the next four weeks. He is most worried about the Irwin Tools Night Race on Aug. 27 at Bristol Motor Speedway, saying anything can happen on the short track with high banking turns compared to Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway, a superspeedway.
"We've been good at all four of them; it's just putting that day together," Stewart said. "I'm most worried about Bristol, not wanting something bad to happen there.
"But you just go out and do the things you need to every week, and that's be consistent."
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760
Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/08/16 ... z1VKYnifkU
NW: 7, 31, 3, 11, 60, 88, 12
Trucks: 9, 88, 3, 7, 17, 31
IRL: 10, 11, 12, 26, 3, 38, 27
RIP Dan Wheldon
"Fight for Four"- Annalee
You got to have a big gigantic drum kit.