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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.]
A view of a decal placed on the #14 Code 3 Associates / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, driven by Tony Stewart (not pictured), during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 FVP/Menards Chevrolet SS finishes in fourth place and Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS finishes in fourteenth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in third place and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS finishes in second place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, climbs into his car prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS qualifies for 2nd position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS celebrates with his team after winning the Pole position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch is 33rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS won the Pole position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch is 33rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, poses for a photo with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert after winning the pole during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2015 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. July 12, 2014. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, leads the field at the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series DAV 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch celebrates pole position at Phoenix International Raceway. November 8 2014. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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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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