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Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong too

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Smokeshow14

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:59 am

Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong too

Tony Stewart stays ahead of the Sprint Cup curve


By Carlos Mendez

cmendez@star-telegram.com

CARROLLTON -- Tony Stewart shakes his head. No, he has not suddenly become a better driver.

He's won seven of the last 16 Sprint Cup races, and he's a big favorite to make it eight out of 17 on Saturday night in the Mobile Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

But it's not because he's suddenly become a better driver.

Maybe his car has just gotten better than everyone else's.

"This is a sport that is so technology-driven, that's the determining factor," he said Wednesday at a promotional appearance. "I think too much emphasis is placed on people peaking and this and that. It's not like other sports where it's an individual performance. This is such a technology-driven sport, you have to stay up on it more than anything. Everybody's trying to find that next great set-up and the thing that puts you to the top."

The set-up in Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet has sure put him at the top. He is the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, finishing last season with five wins in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup "playoffs."

This year, he's collected a win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway -- a 1.5-mile track similar to TMS -- and another on the two-mile loop at Fontana, Calif.

There was also a runner-up finish at the Bud Shootout and a win in one of the Gatorade Duels in Daytona, Fla. Neither race counts in the driver standings, but they are more evidence of the strength of the Stewart-Haas organization since last year.

The team even absorbed a crew chief change. Darian Grubb, who led the championship run, was replaced in the off-season by Steve Addington.

And yet Stewart kept on ticking.

And everybody kept shaking their head.

"It's amazing. When you get hot, you get hot," driver Kurt Busch said. "Whether it's something in the car giving you the confidence to run harder on the racetrack or finding a new setup, in this sport, you can be hot. And right now they have that."

Everybody else wants it. The trick right now is figuring out what it is. Stewart-Haas' other driver, Ryan Newman. And his No. 39 Chevy won two weeks ago at Martinsville, Va.

"It's obvious that they found something, some combination, a spring, shock bar, geometry -- they've found something that's working for them and is making their cars better than everyone else," series leader Greg Biffle said. "That's what this game's about ... . It's finding a play or a pattern or something that is better than your competition.

"Clearly it's trickled down to the 39, because he was not that spectacular last year and is running much, much better. Not as good as the 14. But they clearly have something figured out."

Whatever Stewart and Stewart-Haas have figured out, it has him on a strong start in defending his championship. A fourth title, this year or next year or whenever, would make him only the fourth driver with that many -- Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. have seven, Jimmie Johnson has five and Jeff Gordon has four.

Also, with two wins already and 30 races left in the season, Stewart has a chance to threaten the modern-day record of 13 victories in a year, held by Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty. (Petty holds the all-time record of 27).

"He can win 12, 15 races if whatever they're doing keeps working for them and nobody else figures it out," Biffle said. "I mean, that's pretty far-fetched, but not really when you look at winning five of the 10, coming out and winning a couple. It doesn't look like anybody can compete with him."

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407

Twitter: @calexmendez

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/04/11 ... rylink=cpy
Cup: 14, 1, 29, 88, 99, 11, 17, 39, 15, 5, 2, 16
NW: 7, 31, 3, 11, 60, 88, 12
Trucks: 9, 88, 3, 7, 17, 31
IRL: 10, 11, 12, 26, 3, 38, 27
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smokinTA

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:22 am

Re: Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong

Great article! Thanks for posting it.
"Excuse me, pardon me, comin' through" ~ Tony Stewart
"Take a deep breath, I've got this" ~ Tony Stewart
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ndunn

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:24 am

Re: Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong

I like the post by ss14. It pleases me no end that people can't quite figure out SHR. They've won races, changed personel, won a championship and basically has everyone trying to figure how they've done it in only three seasons of racing as new teams. I think it is about time they have the oportunity to at least have the fun of knowing they've got people thinking. The last big commotion was how were they going to knock JJ off the champion winner circle. Check that off the "bucket list" and put your own name in there. Part of the magic is the fact Tony knows he did the right thing when he accepted Gene Haas's offer of co-ownership. It has been way more involved than driving for Gibbs but he has something they can't take away and that it is confidence. Just the fact Tony changed his crew chief shows he is thinking ahead and he did make a solid decision. Tony is one of those "what you see is what you get" and I hope he never changes.
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smokinTA

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:42 am

Re: Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong

Here's another great article by Darrell Waltrip:

Updated Mar 27, 2012 5:01 PM ET

We’ve all heard the old sports cliché’, “There is no 'I' in team” and I agree 100 percent. There is, however, a “T” in team and that “T” stands for Tony — as in Tony Stewart. He is an incredible team leader who has vision and passion for racing. He kind of always knew what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go, so when the opportunity fell into his lap he jumped at it.

I don’t think it is too far of a reach to say that right now in NASCAR, Stewart-Haas Racing is the biggest powerhouse in the sport. With the personnel that Tony has put within the organization and around himself, it really is no surprise what the organization has been able to accomplish.

When you add new crew chief Steve Addington and competition director Greg Zipadelli to a championship-winning organization, it’s a clear signal that Tony isn’t content to sit on his laurels and is always striving to improve.

These guys are meshing well with Tony Gibson, who is Ryan Newman’s crew chief. They also have Matt Borland, a former crew chief of Ryan’s who is a great engineer, as their VP of competition. The other unsung hero over there in my book is Ronnie Crooks. His nickname is “Dr. Who” for his magical shock packages he creates. He’s also done a lot of chassis design and development.

When you put all these guys together, well you have an incredible brain trust at Stewart-Haas Racing. The group is a classic example of a team. They all are like-minded and pulling in the same direction. Then when you put in a driver as smart as Stewart is with the God-given talent he has, well it’s the total package.

You have to give co-owner Gene Haas a lot of credit, too. He’s been in our sport a long time. He has a lot of passion for our sport. Unfortunately Gene wasn’t initially as successful in NASCAR as he envisioned he would be. The marriage of Tony Stewart and Gene Haas into Stewart-Haas Racing has to be one of the best success stories in all of NASCAR history.

Just think of the risk Tony took in leaving a championship-winning organization like Joe Gibbs Racing. He had a lot of people doubting he could pull it off and be successful. I was one of the few that were encouraging him to do it. It was sort of blindly obvious to me. You combine Tony’s smarts and ability with Gene’s resources and you have a perfect example of when I say, “Your 2 and my 2 make 5!”

It took a lot of confidence on Tony’s part to make that change. It’s confidence in your vision. It’s confidence in your new partner. And quite honestly, it’s confidence in yourself. One of Tony’s greatest assets, and he has many, is that Tony never lacks in confidence.

GET READY

NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at Texas Motor Speedway is almost here! Tune in to FOX on Saturday, April 14, for live coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again — Tony is the modern-day version of A.J. Foyt. Tony can climb in anything with four wheels and a steering wheel and win. It doesn’t matter if it’s stock cars, dirt cars or even go-karts. His huge passion for racing combined with, again, his God-given talent, make him truly one of a kind. The guy is what I call “#### of wheels” — he just gets into anything and goes fast. The guy can wheel anything and that’s what makes him so extraordinary.

The other great thing about Tony is that he is a people person. To be a great leader you have to have that ability — and Tony has it in spades. That’s why it was important to Tony to add Addington and Zipadelli into the Stewart-Haas family. They trust and believe in each other and when you have that chemistry on a team, well you are all but unstoppable.

So with his second win in five races in 2012, Tony jumps three spots in the points to fourth. He’s only 18 points behind leader Greg Biffle. Stop and think about this for a second: Tony has now won seven of the last 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup points races. He won five of the 10 Chase races in 2011 with crew chief Darian Grubb and already has won two of the first five races of 2012 with Addington.

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This guy is clearly the class of the field in '12. NASCAR Power Rankings

Tony’s second team is no slouch, either. Newman finished seventh Sunday at Fontana. That jumped him and his team three spots in the points to 10th position. They are currently 40 points out of first place.

So my point is Tony has all the right people in the right places, but then add into that his strong affiliation with Hendrick Motorsports. There are no finer engines and chassis in the sport than what Rick Hendrick and his group produce and supply to Stewart-Haas.

Tony is an entrepreneur that isn’t afraid to think outside the box. He’s successful behind the wheel of a race car or in running his other businesses, like Eldora Speedway. I think that is one of the most impressive things about Tony. Despite all his other interests and business ventures, when Tony puts that helmet on he becomes single-minded. Tony is the best I have ever seen at doing that.

I am also looking to have some fun with Tony on April 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. We are teaming up for a fundraiser for Motor Racing Outreach (MRO). He’ll be in his No. 14 car and I will be in a retro No. 11 Mountain Dew car. MRO is auctioning off four-lap rides with both Tony and myself. It promises to be a blast. You can learn more about it by going to www.charitybuzz.com.

Aside from Tony winning his second race of the year, there were some other interesting storylines that came out of Fontana. Look at all the pit-road issues Sunday — from the speeding penalties, to gasmen having problems, to tires rolling loose.

I think it is a byproduct of a couple things. That pit road is so big and those pit boxes are so long, I think the guys get reckless. Maybe with all that extra space during pit stops they might be letting their guard down and losing focus.

You won’t find that being the case this weekend in Martinsville. It’s the complete opposite of Fontana. It’s the tightest, smallest pit road we go to. There you have to be spot-on precise. There’s no margin of error at Martinsville Speedway.
"Excuse me, pardon me, comin' through" ~ Tony Stewart
"Take a deep breath, I've got this" ~ Tony Stewart
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Schmoopy1000

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:37 pm

Re: Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong

think this Dr. Who is an interesting piece of knowledge to learn about. Image
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smokinTA

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:02 pm

Re: Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong

Lee Spencer Updated Jan 25, 2011 9:11 PM ET

Secret weapon

Ronnie Crooks, one of the most respected shocks specialists in NASCAR, joined Stewart-Haas Racing on Monday.

Crooks formerly worked for Richard Childress Racing, but spent the last 12 years with Joe Gibbs Racing. The 64-year-old Alabama native started his racing career in 1977.


Aha, another Gibbs defector!
"Excuse me, pardon me, comin' through" ~ Tony Stewart
"Take a deep breath, I've got this" ~ Tony Stewart
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Schmoopy1000

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:04 pm

Re: Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong

So what do you get when you combine JGR & HMS?
You get SHR :mrgreen:
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smokinTA

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:07 pm

Re: Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong

RacinToday.com staff members were recently asked to name a non-driver whom they think played the biggest outside-the-spotlight role in racing in 2011: The most important player “behind the curtain”, as one staffer said.

The following are the senior writers’ picks for the 2011 Wizard of Oz Award.

Rick Minter: Ronnie Crooks of Stewart-Haas Racing.

“The chassis/shocks guru moves from Gibbs to Stewart-Haas. One team goes up, the other down. Now you know one of the reasons why.”


I absolutely ♥ it!
"Excuse me, pardon me, comin' through" ~ Tony Stewart
"Take a deep breath, I've got this" ~ Tony Stewart
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smokinTA

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:19 pm

Re: Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong

Schmoopy1000 wrote:So what do you get when you combine JGR & HMS?
You get SHR :mrgreen:



Very, very clever 8-)

I'm glad you mentioned Ronnie Crooks, I would not have known about "The Wizard of Oz", but I do like Dr. Who better. Talent, talent, talent, just awesome!!
"Excuse me, pardon me, comin' through" ~ Tony Stewart
"Take a deep breath, I've got this" ~ Tony Stewart
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smokinTA

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:35 pm

Re: Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong

Here's a little more:

Known as "Dr. Who" in the NASCAR garage, Ronnie Crooks is the David Copperfield of magical shock packages.

Crooks works on shock absorbers every day, and you might say he's been pretty good at it. Racecars with his shocks on them have won two Cup Series championships with Joe Gibbs Racing and the No. 20 car.

Crooks can trace his racing roots to the Alabama Gang -- a group of hard-nose racers featuring Bobby and Donnie Allison, the legendary Red Farmer, and Neil Bonnett, all of whom hail from Hueytown, Ala., Crooks' hometown.

A familiar face in the NASCAR garage, Crooks has earned his Dr. Who moniker for all of the magical things he can do with shocks. Not only does he work for the Joe Gibbs Racing bunch, but he also helps all of the Toyota teams with chassis design, chassis set-up, chassis engineering and shock packages.

"Having someone like Ronnie Crooks on your side is such a positive," wrote Darrell Waltrip in a recent FOXSports.com feature. "He's one of the best I've ever seen and he definitely is one of the best in the garage area."
"Excuse me, pardon me, comin' through" ~ Tony Stewart
"Take a deep breath, I've got this" ~ Tony Stewart
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Schmoopy1000

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:41 pm

Re: Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong

Really with all the rules & templates nowadays. Aero is kinda put into a box so not much you can do there. Puts so much more emphasis on shock specialists. Motors are still a bit different, so those & shocks is the major difference makers to me. (& whoever figures out an advantage to EFI 1st before nascar catches on)

After reading his resume, I am kinda surprised that toyota let him get away.
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Annalee

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:50 pm

Re: Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong

I knew I liked Biffle for some reason and DW always can tell a story. I still think this was all part of the package deal from JGR.. "Dr Who" is the guy in the garage who has the long gray hair. Watch for him during practice. He has been a friend of Tony's for a long time. He IS the" Master of Shocks"!!! I am telling you Schmoopy, things are going to be great! And you thought Ryan would be better at JGR, and then as if by Zippy magic, JGR has come to him. See what did I tell you ;) ;) :lol:
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Annalee

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:52 pm

Re: Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong

Schmoopy1000 wrote:Really with all the rules & templates nowadays. Aero is kinda put into a box so not much you can do there. Puts so much more emphasis on shock specialists. Motors are still a bit different, so those & shocks is the major difference makers to me. (& whoever figures out an advantage to EFI 1st before nascar catches on)

After reading his resume, I am kinda surprised that toyota let him get away.



Schmoopy, he worked on the shocks for Gibbs when they were driving Chevys.
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Schmoopy1000

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:58 pm

Re: Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong

Annalee wrote:
Schmoopy1000 wrote:Really with all the rules & templates nowadays. Aero is kinda put into a box so not much you can do there. Puts so much more emphasis on shock specialists. Motors are still a bit different, so those & shocks is the major difference makers to me. (& whoever figures out an advantage to EFI 1st before nascar catches on)

After reading his resume, I am kinda surprised that toyota let him get away.



Schmoopy, he worked on the stocks for Gibbs when they were driving Chevys.

Yeah but I just read on here how he was the guy helping Toyota as a whole while working for JGR. So even if Gibbs said I dont want to pay (whatever they get paid) you woulld have thought that Toyota might have helped out instead of letting the guru go to a Chevy team. Unless I read it wrong?
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Annalee

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Post Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:08 pm

Re: Biffle thinks Tony can win 12-15 races,says 39 is strong

I think ,but I am not quite sure that he started helping Tony, right after the night race at Bristol, that was just before he started into the 2011 chase. And we all know how that ended! :) :) :) :lol:
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