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Should Stewart be wary of too much success?

Not to throw the apple of discord into the middle of a love feast, but Tony Stewart's unqualified success as a new owner/driver may be the biggest threat to Tony Stewart's unqualified success as a new owner/driver.

More on that shortly, but first, let's make a distinction between owner/driver Tony Stewart and others who have preceded him. After Stewart's victory in Sunday's Pocono 500, the first statistic on the race notes sheet distributed by NASCAR read like this:

“This marks the first win in the (Sprint Cup) series by an owner/driver since Sept. 27, 1998 (Ricky Rudd, Martinsville Speedway).”

Stewart, however, is not an owner/driver in the same sense that Rudd or 1992 Cup champion Alan Kulwicki were. Rudd and Kulwicki built their respective successes with shoestring budgets and skeleton staffs. To his credit, Stewart has assembled a juggernaut.

To his credit, Stewart took the existing infrastructure at ne'er-do-well Haas CNC Racing and transformed it from an organisation that had never won a race to one that has earned two trophies this year (the non-points Sprint All-Star Race and the Pocono 500) and has streaked to the top of the Cup standings.

To his credit, Stewart's well-oiled, well-funded organisation features handpicked, quality personnel in all key jobs, with lucrative sponsorship deals from Office Depot, Old Spice and the U.S. Army in place to make sure he meets the payroll.

To his credit, Stewart has capitalised - and then some - on the most valuable asset Haas CNC Racing brought to the table during negotiations that ultimately gave Stewart an ownership stake in newly formed Stewart-Haas Racing.

That asset? Haas CNC's existing relationship with Hendrick Motorsports.

Stewart's engines and chassis come from Hendrick, so in essence, he and team-mate Ryan Newman are Hendrick customers driving Hendrick cars. For his crew chief, Stewart hired Darian Grubb, a brilliant engineer thoroughly versed in the Hendrick methodology - because he helped develop and refine it.

It was Grubb, you'll recall, who won two of four races with Jimmie Johnson in 2006, subbing for suspended crew chief Chad Knaus. It was Grubb who made the fuel-mileage call that helped give then-Hendrick driver Casey Mears his only Cup win in the 2007 Coca-Cola 600.



Related Pictures

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Tony Stewart celebrates victory at Pocono   [pic credit: NASCAR/Getty]
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet, gets into his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 18, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to his eighth Phoenix win with Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS who finished in sixth place Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Harvick won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was his 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy / Haas Automation Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Pro Services Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, March 11, 2016 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Hendrick Motorsports driver Johnson experienced an issue during qualifying.  He will go to a back-up car. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, March 11, 2016 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy / Haas Automation Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 11, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a ninth place finish Sunday, March 6, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. Busch captured the pole to start on the front row of the race. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy / Haas Automation Chevrolet, poses for a photo after winning the pole award during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 4, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy / Haas Automation Chevrolet, poses for a photo after winning the pole award during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 4, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy / Haas Automation Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 4, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, celebrates with his crew chief, Tony Gibson, after capturing the pole position Friday, March 4, 2016 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. Busch set a track record with a fast lap of 196.328 mph. This was his second pole position this season. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, celebrates after capturing the pole position Friday, March 4, 2016 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. Busch set a track record with a fast lap of 196.328 mph. This was his second pole position this season. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins. (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with a burnout Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins.  (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with his wife, Chandra and daughters Genevieve and Lydia Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, crosses the finish line for the victory Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins. (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)

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