Tony Stewart a calming influence?

Things I never thought I would hear:

*Texas Tech's football program chasing off the head coach that finally had them nationally ranked.

*The phrase, "World Champion Dallas Mavericks."

*The calming influence of three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.

As confused as I am at Tech's self-inflicted wounds and as happy as I am for Mark Cuban's success with the Mavs, being told that Stewart brings a calming influence is perhaps the biggest surprise of them all.

The fiery Stewart, who once faced the wrath of NASCAR for supposedly pushing a photographer during a post-race altercation (a bit overblown, according to the photographer who said Stewart merely knocked him down by accident as he jogged from his race car to his team's truck during a post race media scrum), seems to be mellowing.

At least in some ways. Perhaps because he is now 40?

More likely because he's now a team owner.

New crew chief Steve Addington, who took over that job after Stewart fired crew chief Darien Grubb even though the two paired to win the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup, credits "Smoke's" calming influence as the reason for their win this past weekend in Las Vegas.

Grubb, now crew chief for Denny Hamlin, won the week before in Phoenix.

"It was neat to see him [Grubb] and Denny get a win last week," Stewart said. "It's neat to see me and Steve win this week. Hopefully it will calm everyone down."

Stewart preaching peace and happiness?

Cats and dogs living together as one.

It could happen.