With four races left before the Chase for the Cup Championship begins, Tony Stewart is one of NASCAR’s hottest drivers.

Only one driver has scored more points than the Columbus native during the past five races, and that driver — Kyle Busch — has just one more point during that span. During the past nine races, Stewart has the seventh-most points.

With five top-five finishes in his past seven races, including back-to-back fifth-place finishes the past two races, Stewart will look to continue that roll as the regular season winds to a close.

“We just keep being consistent,” Stewart said in a news release. “Even on days we don’t have a top-10 or top-five car, we’re finding ways to make top-fives out of it. That’s what you’ve got to do in the Chase. You’ve got to be able to make something out of nothing, and these guys are doing a great job out of that.”

After a week off last week, the Sprint Cup circuit is back in action tonight at Bristol, Tennessee. The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race is scheduled to start at 8 p.m.

Stewart has just one win at Bristol, and that came in 2001. He has seven top-five finishes and 10 top-10s and has led a total of 1,355 laps in his 32 career Sprint Cup starts at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“We’ve led a lot of laps there but we just don’t have the wins to show for it,” Stewart said. “It’s a track I definitely like. Everybody goes, ‘How can you like it when you’ve not had any success there for a while?’ To me, that’s just motivation. It gives us the ambition to be successful.”

At a glance


Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

Starting position: (qualifying Friday)


Finished fifth in Cheez-It 355 at The Glen


Last race: 36 points

Season total: 389 points (26th)

Current position on Chase grid: 11th

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.