Dallas Motorsports: Darian Grubb

Tony Stewart isn't worried about slow start

March, 7, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Tony Stewart doesn't seem too worried about his slow start. He's currently 15th in the Sprint Cup standings after finishing 22nd last week in Phoenix and 16th at the messy Daytona 500.

The reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion was used to the checkered flag last season, winning three of his last four races. This season, Stewart has started off with a lot of new things -- the biggest of which is new crew chief Steve Addington.

"It's hard to predict how long it's going to take," Stewart said at Texas Motor Speedway's media day on Tuesday. "I don't think it will take long. We both worked well last weekend; we just had some bad luck during the race."

That bad luck was a major part of his slow start. Stewart couldn't get his engine to refire after a caution period, costing him two laps during the Subway Fresh Fit 500 in Phoenix.

Darian Grubb, his former chief, was part of the winning team in Phoenix with driver Denny Hamlin.

In his fourth season as co-owner of Stewart-Haas racing, he said he's also getting used to the team's growth.

"I don't have any days off," Stewart said. "It's a hard schedule as a driver. I don't know if I had a family that I would have time to do everything we're doing."

This biggest addition to his team is Danica Patrick, who will drive a limited schedule in the Sprint Cup Series. Stewart said it's all about preparing her for a full schedule.

"We kind of threw her to the wolves with the schedule," Stewart said. "You want to pick the places that are hard so when you are running for points, you've got that experience from the year before."

After finishing 38th at the Daytona 500, Patrick isn't scheduled to race in the Sprint Cup Series until the Southern 500 on May 12 at Darlington Raceway.

"At the end of the year she may not like me very much, but I think midway through the 2013 season, she's going to understand why we picked those races," Stewart said.

Stewart will look to get back on track this weekend at the Kobalt Tools 400 in Las Vegas.

Denny Hamlin ready to move on after 'extreme letdown'

February, 7, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Denny Hamlin is ready to get over last season with new crew chief Darian Grubb.

"Everyone knows our standards are set way high," Hamlin said. "Last year was an extreme letdown for our group."

Two seasons ago, Hamlin won eight races and finished second in the Sprint Cup standings. Last season, he won one race.

"We're not a ninth-place team, and I'm not a ninth-place driver," Hamlin said at the Gear Up for the Green Flag event at Texas Motor Speedway on Tuesday night.

Joe Gibbs Racing hired Grubb after letting former crew chief Mike Ford go in December. Hamlin said Grubb brought new energy to the No. 18 team.

"As much success as we had, it kind of ran its course," Hamlin said. "Everyone needed to get rejuvenated. It seemed like everyone was just going through the motions for the last couple years."

Grubb was the crew chief for Tony Stewart's Sprint Cup championship team last season.