You don't often hear NASCAR drivers admit their focus might be wandering as the season draws to a close, but Tony Stewart certainly offered an insightful answer this weekend when asked if it was difficult to keep focused when you are not in title hunt.
Stewart's answer: "All everybody wants to do is talk about the guys that are in it and all we want to do is worry about the stuff that we are doing that didn’t get us in it and trying to make our cars better. You know that is the stuff that we are trying to work on and concentrate on our program and not worry about what everybody else is doing. And it is hard.
"You want to be in the middle of it and you want to be those guys that are there but at the same time when it doesn’t work out you have to sit there are trying to figure out things at the end of the year to try to figure out why you didn’t get yourself in that situation and you really work really hard now while they are still trying to fight for this year we are already fighting for next year now.”
Stewart is certainly known for his candor, but it was still surprising to hear a prominent driver explain how he feels a little left out as the focus in the series turns to just those who still have a shot at the championship.
It's actually more reality than perception, despite what some in NASCAR want to believe. If you're not in the Chase, you are barely noticed. Now as the season winds to close, if you are in the Chase but aren't a title contender, you do little better.