Stewart among many in NASCAR’s field in dire need of a top-10 finish

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Tony Stewart is a notoriously slow starter in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. But this year, “Smoke” has yet to ignite in a good way.

The Stewart Haas Racing co-owner enters Darlington just 22nd in the standings, 56 points outside the top 10 and with just one top-10 finish in the first 10 races of the season.

In the same interview he told the Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin that he supports Kurt Busch’s IndyCar test for Andretti Autosport at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Stewart conceded he needs to think about winning races to have a shot to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

“We’re going to need some help to get (to the Chase),” he admitted. “Some guys in front of us are going to have to have some bad luck. If I felt our cars were really good but we’d had back luck I’d feel a lot more confident right now. But we’re struggling to find what these cars want. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

Stewart isn’t alone in the “needs a top-10 finish” department. Others in the field with just one include Marcos Ambrose, Juan Pablo Montoya, Danica Patrick, Denny Hamlin, Talladega 1-2 finishers David Ragan and David Gilliland, and four drivers with underfunded teams (JJ Yeley, Michael Waltrip, Michael McDowell, Scott Speed).

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has yet to score a top-10 finish this year but still ranks a respectable 16th in points for Roush Fenway Racing.

Kanaan, Dixon to rejoin Chip Ganassi Le Mans effort

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Both Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan will be rejoining Ford Chip Ganassi Racing as part of their four-car armada at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team revealed late last week. Both drivers contested the event last year, with Dixon in the No. 69 entry – finishing seventh in the GTE Pro class – while Kanaan replaced an injured Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 68 – finishing sixth in GTE Pro.

For Kanaan, this also represents a return to the Chip Ganassi organization, with which he contested the Verizon IndyCar Series from 2014 to 2017 before departing for A.J. Foyt Racing in 2018.

Kanaan will join Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell in the No. 67, while Dixon will reunite with Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, the three drivers having won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, in the No. 69.

Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla, and Billy Johnson will share the No. 66 entry, with Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, and Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 68.

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