Accentuate the negative?

ony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 7, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
ony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 7, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

CHICAGO, Ill.—Watch out for Tony Stewart.

The defending Cup champion isn’t brimming with optimism about his chances for a fourth title this year. Then again, Stewart was about as negative as he could be last year when assessing his prospects—before grabbing the championship with five victories in the Chase.

So if Stewart is downplaying his chances this season, take it with a grain of salt.

“I’m a little bit pessimistic again,” Stewart said. “I don’t feel like we’re as good as we need to be right now, but I feel like we’re in a better position than we were last year. But I still don’t feel like we’re exactly where we need to be.”

Stewart, however, knows better than to discount the possibility of a second straight title, given what he was able to accomplish last year.

“I think it definitely gives the approach of not giving up hope on it, for sure,” Stewart said. “But, like you say, every season is different, and it doesn’t mean that it’s a guarantee that it can happen again this way for us.

“We’ve still got to go out and run our 10 races and do the best we can.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.