For an added boost, Stewart was one of the few drivers who participated last month in an open Pocono test in the Gen-6 race car. With practice and qualifying washed out Friday, Stewart and crew chief Steve Addington have additional resources on hand to help master the 21/2-mile triangle track.
And there are more reasons to think Stewart can keep the push going at Pocono. His last win here in 2009 was his first as a car owner at Stewart-Haas Racing, and he finished fifth and third at the two Pocono races last season.
No Cup driver has won consecutive races this season, but a confident Stewart has always been a dangerous Stewart. That could be the difference Sunday.
"It's definitely momentum that we need right now," he said. "It's hopefully quieted some of the rumors that were a big drama at the shop for us. So, getting that calmed down was as much of the problem as anything."
He passed Juan Pablo Montoya with three laps left last week at Dover to snap a 30-race winless streak and remind everyone that it's always a mistake to count ol' Smoke out of the Chase picture.
His 48th career win pushed him to 16th in the points standings and aided his cause for a wild-card spot. The two drivers in the 11th to 20th spot in the standings with the most wins earn a slot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Stewart is the only driver in those spots with a victory.
Elliott wins. Chase Elliott won the ARCA Racing Series race Saturday at Pocono Raceway. The 17-year-old is the son of 1988 NASCAR champion Bill Elliott. He became the youngest ever winner in ARCA.