It’s not exactly “worst to first,” but it sure is close.
Over the first 11 races, when Tony Stewart dipped to as low as 24th in the points standings, the three-time series champion earned an average of 23 points per race. Over the last four races, all of which have been top-10 finishes, he has averaged 41 points per race.
Stewart’s 180-degree turn has him in the top 10 in points for the first time this season, a position which seemed highly unlikely only three weeks.
And now, sitting 10th in points, Stewart looks destined for a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and a chance at a fourth series championship that would tie him for fourth on the all-time list with Jeff Gordon.
In his 15-year career, Stewart has now been the top 10 in points after 15 races 11 times. The lowest he’s been after 15 years was 12th. His average points position after 15: 7.5.
Perusing the upcoming schedule, there’s little to suggest Stewart’s rapid climb up the standings will slow.
Up next: Sonoma Raceway, where Stewart has two victories (to go along with five at Watkins Glen, the second of two road-course races on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule).
In three weeks, Stewart will run the Daytona night race, an event at which he has four wins. Then New Hampshire (three wins) and Indianapolis (two wins). The only possible stumbling block is Kentucky in two weeks, where Stewart has an average finish of 22.0 in two starts.