Tony Stewart isn’t ready to panic.
Even though he doesn’t have a win on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit this year, the Columbus native feels he’s getting closer. He’ll try again at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.
“We’ve been able to win at least one race a season my entire Sprint Cup career,” Stewart said in a news release. “I don’t think there’s ever a point where, especially with this format, that you get panicked, because you don’t have to be stellar in the points; you just have to get a win.
“Our track record shows that we can get it,” he said. “It’s just a matter of, ‘When is it going to happen?’ Especially with the new rules package this year, I don’t think anybody is in panic mode. We’re still learning these cars and going to tracks for the first time in the season. Six or eight weeks before Richmond (Virginia), then you start panicking if you don’t have that win. I think it’s still too early to panic, at least for us.”
The Pocono track is a triangle with three distinctive turns. Turn 1 is banked at 14 degrees and is modeled after the now-closed Trenton (New Jersey) Speedway. Turn 2, banked at 8 degrees, is patterned after those at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Turn 3, banked at 6 degrees, is modeled after the corners at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin.
“Going into Turn 1, you drive it in kind of deep and then try to float the car through the corner,” Stewart said. “It’s very flat when you go down the backstretch and into the tunnel turn. Then the short chute into Turn 3 — it’s a big, long corner, and it’s important to get through that turn well because you have a straightaway that’s three-quarters of a mile long after that.
“You need to come off the corner quickly so that you aren’t bogged down when you start down that long straightaway,” he said. “Each corner has its challenges, and each one tends to present a different set of circumstances with each lap you make.”