At Talladega, Tony Stewart Finds Himself Without A Drafting Partner

Tony Stewart is suddenly single and needs to find a partner before Sunday's NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway.

No, we're not talking about Stewart's infamous "dead weight" comment after New Hampshire. Come on, folks – get your minds on racing, not gossip!

We're simply referring to Sunday's Good Sam Club 500. Stewart recently learned he was being dumped by traditional two-car drafting partner David Gilliland (the Ford drivers are being encouraged to hook up with their own kind, Stewart said) and is actively searching for a new on-track relationship.

"I'm definitely going to be more proactive than reactive with it, for sure," he said Friday afternoon. "If I can go out and pick somebody that I want, I'd rather do that than wait for them to come. There's no benefit on waiting for somebody to come to you."

As with dating, Stewart has certain attributes he's looking for in a partner. He said he wants someone who will share a similar philosophy at Talladega in regard to either running up front or hanging in the back for the first half of the race (like Stewart does).

Stewart's teammate, Ryan Newman, already has a drafting relationship with Denny Hamlin. Would Smoke consider breaking up another duo to find himself a suitable partner for Sunday?

"I don't think they signed contracts for pairing up, so I think everybody is fair game at this point," he said. "And there's going to be times in the race where you don't necessarily get with the guy you want to be with anyway. You've always got to do the Peyton Manning and be ready to call an audible at any point."

Stewart hooked up with Bobby Labonte in the first practice session and could try out another partner in the second practice. For now, he's not sweating his single status.

"We've got all day today and tomorrow to figure out who exactly it's going to be with," he said. "We don't really have to know right now. It'd be nice to know. We thought we had a plan and it sounds like it got dismantled, so we're going to have to come up with something else for Sunday now."

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