Tony Stewart is on a roll. With three straight top-five finishes that included a win at the Chicagoland Speedway, the driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing is settling nicely into his traditional second-half surge.

Round number 20 on the 36-race NASCAR Nextel Cup Series schedule is Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, a track where Stewart has won before while collecting a pole and seven other top-10s in 11 career starts.

He was set to add another top-10 finish when the series visited the 2.5-mile triangle back in June before transmission trouble forced him to the garage area. But in one of the more impressive displays of perseverance and mechanical fortitude, the #20 team changed the transmission and put Stewart back into the race. While he finished six laps down in 27th for his worst finish thus far in 2004, it certainly beat recording a DNF (Did Not Finish) and the accompanying low point tally.

But that's nothing new to the Home Depot Racing Team, as they've been running at the finish for 35 consecutive races with their last DNF being last July at Pocono.

There, Stewart appeared ready to join his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Bobby Labonte, along with Bill Elliott, Bobby Allison and the late Tim Richmond, as the only drivers to sweep both Pocono races in a single season. Stewart had won the June race and was leading the July race until his engine expired on lap 154. The early exit relegated Stewart to a 37th place finish. But since then Stewart's worst finish has been 27th. As mentioned earlier, he finished 27th in his June trip to Pocono, but his only other 27th place result was at last year's autumn Richmond race.

Stewart's win at Chicagoland seemed to verify the old racing adage of, "To finish first, you must first finish." And with his string of top-fives, Stewart appears poised for more success at Pocono and beyond.