2011 NASCAR Betting: Tony Stewart Preview

It’s been far too long since Tony Stewart was a legitimate threat on NASCAR betting odds. He has some of the best odds to win this year’s Sprint Cup — can the hot-headed driver turn things around? This is your 2011 Tony Stewart preview.

Stewart is coming off a seventh-place finish in last year’s Sprint Cup standings. It marked the fifth consecutive year he’s failed to even crack the Top 5. The last time he did, of course, was in 2005 — when he won his second career championship; he is 11/1 on Bodog’s auto racing odds to win the title in 2011. Stewart’s other title came in 2002, part of a blistering start to a promising career. He had a pair of championships and four Top-5 finishes in the first seven years of his career; Stewart has none in the last five.

Still, there are signs of hope. Stewart spent the first 10 years of his career with Joe Gibbs Racing. Since switching to Stewart-Haas, the star driver has considerably improved his average starting position. In his last two years with Joe Gibbs, for example, Stewart’s average starting position was 17.3. He won four total races in that span while failing to win a single pole. With Team Stewart-Haas, Stewart’s average starting position has improved to 12.7. Those two seasons were much more prosperous in the wins category, as Stewart picked up six victories and six poles.

Stewart could afford to improve on his consistency. He cracked the Top-5 nine times last season — the worst total of his entire career. He only earned 17 finishes among the Top 10, the second-worst number of his career (he had just 16 Top-10 finishes in his final year with Joe Gibbs Racing).

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