Here's dead weight Stewart could lose

September, 30, 2011

DOVER, Del. -- Brad Keselowski didn't know what "dead weight" Tony Stewart got rid of last week, but his mischievous smile suggested he had a few ideas. Dale Earnhardt Jr. hadn't even heard of the issue that the points leader strangely brought up after his win at New Hampshire.

"I wonder what he did?" Earnhardt said Friday.

Told Stewart wouldn't say, Earnhardt laughed and said, "Maybe I should go ask. … I don't know what he did, whether he broke up with his girlfriend or fired somebody."

We've ruled out fired somebody.

But everything else is open season since Stewart isn't talking about the subject he initiated by saying, "We got rid of some dead weight earlier this week, so it made it a lot easier. It's been a big weight lifted off our shoulders. Just sometimes you have to make adjustments in your life, and we did that and it has definitely helped."

And then he said, "We're just going to leave it at that."

But people are curious, so here's my list of 10 things Stewart might have gotten rid of:

1. His girlfriend, Jessica Zemken: The World of Outlaws and sprint car driver is the most popular answer. She had a slew of consoling messages posted on her Facebook fan page that no longer are there, fueling that speculation.

2. His platinum membership at Dairy Queen: Stewart's weight battle is no secret, as is his love of extra thick chocolate milkshakes from the DQ in Columbus, Ind. And these cars do run better when they are lighter.

3. His attitude toward the media: We can't all be idiots as Stewart has called us the past two weeks.

4. Any thoughts he might have had to replace crew chief Darian Grubb with former crew chief Greg Zipadelli: Not saying Stewart doesn't miss Zipadelli, with whom he won titles in 2002 and 2005 at Joe Gibbs Racing, but it's hard to knock the guy who has led him to consecutive Chase wins.

5. Back hair: It has been since 2008 that Stewart, as part of a charity bet/deal with Kevin Harvick, had his back waxed on live radio. Again, these cars run better with less weight.

6. Danica Patrick: OK, he's not that big of an idiot. Patrick, who will drive a partial Sprint Cup schedule for Stewart next year, is a money maker.

7. Any aspirations to replace Goodyear with Hoosier: We can't forget this line by Stewart in 2009: "Same stuff that we always talk about every year, failures Goodyear has. I think that's part of their marketing campaign; the more we talk about it, the more press they get."

8. His pet monkey: Nah, Stewart gave Mojo to the Louisville Zoo a few years ago.

9. All the Schlitz in his house : Are you kidding?

10. His dream of being NASCAR's Most Popular Driver: Well, there is that chance as long as the media isn't voting.

Or this could be Stewart's sick sense of humor to get us all talking about something other than his leading the points.

David Newton | email

ESPN Staff Writer



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