Continued from page 1

“I really didn’t realize how much I’d put on myself going to work for the championship team the very next year,” Addington said. “It’s been a lot of pressure. I think that even when Tony feels good about the car, I’m still questioning. He’s just like, `Relax, dude, it’s going to be all right.’”

Stewart’s win at Las Vegas put him in Victory Lane the earliest in a season since he switched from IndyCar to NASCAR in 1999. It also was his sixth win in the past 13 Sprint Cup races, dating to the start of last year’s championship chase.

Stewart has always been confident and now, after winning so early in the season with a new crew chief and crossing off another track on his list, has even more to feel good about.

“He’s as calm as I’ve ever seen him,” said team co-owner Gene Haas. “He’s composed, very confident in what he does. I have no doubt this could be another pivotal year for Tony.”

It’s certainly off to a good start.