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Stewart's 'dead-weight' remains a mystery

Tony Stewart's barbed comment about how getting rid of some "dead weight" had helped speed him on his way to a second straight victory in the Chase has set fans puzzling.
When Tony Stewart was standing in victory lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, he was asked what had changed to put him back at the top after such a frustrating season up till the Chase cut-off.

"We got rid of some dead weight earlier this week, so it made it a lot easier," he responded to the pit lane reporter on national TV. "It's been a big weight lifted off our shoulders. Just sometimes you have to make adjustments in your life and we did that and it has definitely helped."

So what exactly was Stewart referring to when he said "dead weight"?

His crew chief, Darian Grubb, certainly had no idea. "I've heard a lot of people talk about it, but I haven't heard what he was talking about," he said at the post-race press conference. "I know he went and did a lot of dirt racing and had a lot of fun this week, kind of unloaded everything. Maybe it was a lot of dead weight off his mind."

No one was buying that one. Surely "dead weight" related to a person - had someone been fired from the team?

"Not that I know of," said Grubb. "Maybe he's talking about me and I just don't know it yet!" he added, getting a good laugh from the assembled media.

It seemed that the only person who knew what Smoke was talking about was Smoke, so when Tony Stewart showed up for his own post-race interview it was the first question he was asked by the press.

"We're just going to leave it at that," said Stewart, bluntly.

"Could we ask if it that was ...?"

"You can't ask anything. It is what it is. That's all it was is what you said. That's where we'll leave it," said Stewart, firmly closing the door on any follow-ups.

He did confirm that the comment did not refer to any personnel changes at Stewart/Haas. Darian Grubb was presumably relieved in the sidelines to know that his pink slip wasn't winging its way through the mail to him after all. Stewart's agent was also at the race looking distinctly employed as well, so it wasn't that either.

With Stewart known to be notoriously prickly with the media when riled, no one else pressed on with that line of questioning - but that didn't stop the speculation continuing afterwards both in the press room and with fans online.

The favourite theory is that it related to a break-up with his girlfriend Jessica Zemken, a racing driver in World of Outlaws and Sprint cars, and plenty of consoling messages on her Facebook fan page seemed to make the assumption that the jab had indeed been directed her way.




Related Pictures

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Tony Stewart answering questions from the media at Levine Children`s Hospital about the seventh annual Prelude to the Dream charity fundraising event at Eldora Speedway [Picture credit: CIA Stock Photography, Inc.]
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Designate A Driver Chevrolet SS finished in third place Sunday, September 21, 2014 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Harvick is in the Chase which continues in next week`s Challenger 16 race. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Spook - Unregistered

October 01, 2011 6:01 AM

The very first thing I thought when Smoke made his comment was about the monkey on his back because he hadn't won any race's this year. Smoke will keep everyone "wondering" all the way to the bank. Now, 3 for 3, it can be done.



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