Stewart leads Chevrolet drivers with best qualifying effort of 2016

It’s been a long-time coming this season, but Tony Stewart was the cream of the Chevrolet crop in qualifying at Michigan International Speedway.

Stewart leads Chevrolet drivers with best qualifying effort of 2016
Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing
Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing
Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing
Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing

Stewart qualified third for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 – his best start of the season and best qualifying effort since he was third last August at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

Stewart was also the top-performing Chevrolet in Friday’s knockout qualifying session and tops among the four Stewart-Haas Racing teams.

“I’m glad that was the last time I had to do that today. It felt really good,” Stewart said after the final round of qualifying was completed. “We were really loose in practice and Mike (Bugarewicz, crew chief) did a great job in the break there (between rounds) of making some big changes to get us caught up.

“It got my confidence back there and made me feel like I finally had the right-rear (tire) in the track there. Now, we can hustle a little bit.”

The jumpstart he needs

The performance was a much-needed boost for Stewart, who is coming off three disappointing finishes as he tries to reach the Top 30 in driver points in hopes of earning a berth in the Chase.

Sunday’s race could be just the jumpstart he needs.

Stewart has been a big proponent of the low-downforce aerodynamics rules package that has been implemented this season, as well as the updated package being used in Sunday’s race at Michigan.

“I think we will all know a little more (Saturday) when we get in practice and get around other cars. It has been a long road trying to get the package to go this direction, but we finally got (NASCAR) going the right way. I think it’s going to make it better for everybody.

“We are at least off to a good start right now.”

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