Tony Stewart Heads To Atlanta Defending Winner But In Search Of Answers

BRISTOL, TN - MARCH 18: Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Jeff Byrd 500 Presented By Food City at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 18, 2011 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Stewart may be the defending race winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but the former champion is still searching for answers as the Chase approaches.

Two weeks ago in Michigan Tony Stewart said his team did not deserve to be in the Chase after their string of performances.

Last weekend after running laps down to the leaders all night at Bristol, he sat behind his hauler simply staring at his race car.

With only two races left before the start of the 2011 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, Stewart has a lot of unanswered questions and not a lot of time to find a solution. If the two-time champion hopes to make his seventh Chase appearance, things will have to turn around dramatically for the No. 14 team.

Currently holding the final spot in the Chase cut-off, Stewart is 10th in the standings with a 21-point advantage over the ever-hot Brad Keselowski.

While Stewart is the defending Atlanta winner, past statistics may mean very little. Traditionally, Stewart hits a hot streak just as the weather gets hot in the summer months; however that has not been the case in 2011.

"Obviously, if we knew what the problem was, we would fix it," he said. "But you know it could turn around in a week, it may not turn around the rest of the year. We don't know."

Perhaps the biggest problem Stewart faces is the hot streak Keselowski has been on as of late. If the strong runs continue, Keselowski could easily move past Stewart in the standings, leaving the defending champion scrambling for a win and in search of a wild card spot.

Without a victory thus far in the season, Stewart would be surpassed by Denny Hamlin and Paul Menard - as it stands now - for the wild card. With that in mind, Stewart remains steadfast in saying he is focused on winning races and letting the points play out as they may.

Still, the big picture for Stewart and the No. 14 team is turning the tide of the season. While making the Chase is the immediate goal, he indicated if getting the team back on track means they miss out on the Chase they are prepared to do so.

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