Tony Stewart is not too thrilled about his Chase chances. In fact, he doesn’t even think he deserves a spot in the 12-driver field.
"I will be perfectly honest," Stewart said, "we're wasting one of those top-12 spots right now.”
It's a self-deprecating assessment that, unfortunately for Stewart, bares a lot of truth. Despite finishing ninth in Sunday's Pure Michigan 400, Stewart ran in the middle of the pack for much of the race, finishing as high as he did primarily because of pit strategy.
Stewart doesn't have a win, has just two top-5 finishes all season and only three times has he posted back-to-back top 10s. The nadir came last weekend at Watkins Glen where, at his best track, Stewart wound up finishing 27th.
In spite of his struggles, Stewart still sits 10th in the standings, 24 points ahead of Clint Bowyer in 11th. As long as Stewart stays inside the top 10 in points, he will qualify for the Chase.
"At this point of the deal, if we are going to run this bad, it really doesn't matter whether we make the Chase or not because we are going to be occupying a spot in the Chase that somebody else that actually can run for a championship is going to be trying to take because our stuff is so bad right now," Stewart said Sunday.