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Stewart: Track position critical, but “not absolutely everything” at Indy

Jul 27, 2013, 9:08 PM EDT

Samuel Deeds 400 At The Brickyard - Practice Getty Images

After winning a well-received pole for tomorrow’s Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Ryan Newman said that track position will be more important than ever before at Indianapolis. But his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate and boss Tony Stewart had a slightly different take on the subject.

“This is one of those tracks where track position is important, but it’s not absolutely everything,” said Stewart, who will start fifth tomorrow and looks to add a third Brickyard 400 crown to his resume.

Stewart can make that argument pretty convincingly. Both of his Brickyard wins had him starting outside the Top 10 – 22nd in 2005 and 14th in 2007.

“You have got to have a car you can race with,” he continued. “If you can get it to qualify well, normally it will race well too. Just having a car that is balanced is the biggest thing.”

But this year, he won’t have to deal with too much traffic at the drop of the green flag thanks in part to some tweaks made to his No. 14 SHR Chevrolet between this morning’s final practice and the afternoon qualifying session.

“I feel like we have a car we can race with tomorrow,” said Stewart. “So far, so good. I am really, really happy with the changes that [crew chief] Steve Addington and our guys made between ‘Happy Hour’ and qualifying. It gives us a good idea what we need to do for the race because that is exactly what we were working on during practice.”

All things considered, Stewart expects to be a threat once again at the track he loves more than any other.

“I think we have a pretty good shot at this thing tomorrow,” he said. “There’s about 10 really good cars right now in the field. I feel like we are right there in the hunt. We just have to put the whole day together tomorrow.”

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