CUP: Tuesday NASCAR Notebook

STEWART STRUGGLING – Tony Stewart has some positive history at Richmond International Raceway, and he’s in serious need of establishing more.

Eight races into the Sprint Cup season, Stewart, often a slow starter, is struggling. He hasn’t finished in the top 10 in the past six races and has led at only one track – Auto Club Speedway – this season. In five of the eight races, he hasn’t been in the top five at any point during the event.

He has finished 21st in the past two races – at Texas and Kansas – and is 21st in Sprint Cup points with the “regular season” almost one-third in the books.

Stewart has won three times at RIR, site of Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400, although he hasn’t scored on the three-quarter-mile track since 2002.

In 14 years in Sprint Cup racing, Stewart has won 47 times, but only four of those wins have come before May.

KYLE STRONG AT RIR – Kyle Busch had a rotten Sunday at Kansas Speedway, spinning twice and crashing out of the race.

His fortunes could turn Saturday night at Richmond, where he owns more wins (four) than any other active driver.

In 16 races at RIR, Busch has finished in the top five 12 times. No other driver in the current top 12 in points has more than nine top fives.

SLOW TRAIN COMING – David Ragan will be traveling a little slower than normal this afternoon.

As part of a railroad safety program, Ragan will tour a CSX locomotive and get the view from the engineer’s seat during a visit to Moncrief Rail Yard in Jacksonville, Fla.

"It can take the average freight train traveling at 55 mph up to a mile to stop," Ragan said. "To put the problem in perspective, every three hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train."

ANOTHER RECORD LAP? – Will the Gen-6 car establish another qualifying record this weekend at Richmond?

Brian Vickers holds the track’s time-trial record with a lap of 129.983 miles per hour, set in 2004.

Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for and has been covering motorsports for 31 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.