As Tony Stewart's season suddenly turned around during last season's Chase for the Sprint Cup, so did his relationship with the media.
Stewart went from lashing out at reporters prior to NASCAR's Chase cutoff at Richmond to being both accessible and friendly by season's end.
Certainly, that coincided with his on-track revival. Winning five races in 10 weeks has a tendency to make a man happy, as does a championship.
But with a new season beginning, how long will Stewart's positive relationship with the media last? Which Tony Stewart will reporters see this year?
"You should be able to tell the honeymoon is still on, because we provided food for you guys," Stewart said after reporters stuffed themselves with lunch at the first stop on the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour. "No, I think things are alright. I mean, it's like anything else – when you're passionate about what you do, it's easy for people to get under your collar.
"But we're still sitting here starting this year off on a good note."
There's a chance the momentum from 2011 could carry over to 2012, even with Stewart changing crew chiefs in the offseason. Does Stewart consider himself the favorite to win the championship again?
"I'll be honest, I never even worry about it at the beginning of the year," he said. "I think our season last year is proof that you're throwing darts at a dartboard right now if you're trying to predict who's going to win the championship this early. ... I don't think you could predict anybody right now."