A NASCAR fan knows when summer is approaching. They don't need calendars, and they don't need to step foot outside. All they need to listen for is the television commentators.
When they all begin to chant in unison, like a forest full of cicadas, about Tony Stewart's uncanny ability to win races when the temperature rises.
Apparently Tony himself had been listening to them as well. In Sunday's race he was one of only two drivers that attempted to run the final 97 laps on a single tank of full.
Neither Tony, or Bobby Labonte, had enough fuel to make it to the end of the race. As a result, Tony dropped from 10th, to 13th in the standings. At first glance it might not seem like an issue for the former champion, but New Hampshire was a track he tested at.
Expectations were high, especially considering his win at Dover, another track he had tested at.
With his single win Tony can still lock up one of the two wild card spots in the Chase if he fails to push his way back into the top ten, but the chance of another driver taking that spot away from him is rather high.
With tracks such as Watkins Glen, Indianapolis, Pocono, and Richmond looming, Juan Pablo Montoya could sneak into the top 20 and easily secure a wild card spot.
The same goes for Marcos Ambrose, who is currently 22nd in points, and an easy contender at Watkins Glen.
With such a tight race in the standings Tony didn't have the points to spare by taking such a wild gamble.
With only seven races left before the chase, every lap will count. Unfortunately Stewarts best shot at a win will come at another track he tested at, Pocono Raceway.
With Jimmie Johnson's dominance at the track earlier this year though, Tony Stewart's hopes for a championship may have gone up in smoke.
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