In the Fast Lane racing column
If Tony Stewart does change teams at the end of this year or next, maybe he can convince Dave Rogers to go with him.
Rogers is the crew chief for Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 Toyota Camry, which races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. So far this season, Stewart has won in the car four times and three of those were at tracks where he had never won a race.
Teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin have one win each in the car as well, so it isn't just the driver, although all three of them are top talents.
So the No. 20, which has rotating sponsorship, has won half of the races on the Nationwide Series schedule. And JGR leads the series owner points with 1867 over the No. 2 Richard Childress car driven by driver points leader Clint Bowyer.
If that wasn't enough, another car in the stable, the No. 18, has won twice with Busch behind the wheel.
Stewart gave all credit to Rogers after winning Friday night at Darlington, a track that has given him fits on the Cup side.
"It's not the drivers, I'm telling you that," Stewart said. "It's Dave Rogers and (the crew). They've just done an awesome job with this thing and it is teams that win these things. It's easy to point the finger at where the success lies and where it comes from and it starts with Dave."
Stewart has often said it is an honor to drive that car and added, "People kind of make fun of you when you say it is an honor (but) it is. It is an honor to drive for this team this year. When you walk in the garage area, guys from other teams are looking at you like, 'Man, this guy is in the car this week.'
"You can tell that it doesn't matter who it is that walks into the garage, it's a force to be dealt with. This car has been capable of winning every race it has been in this year."
Indeed, it could have won several others had the drivers not crashed. The car gets a week off next weekend before the race at Charlotte on May 24.
While we're on the subject of the Nationwide Series, let's address one more issue: I don't think anyone would deny that Steven Wallace had a miserable start to his career in this series. Most of the time, he was a wreck waiting to happen.
But, to his credit, he has improved and is at least finishing races now. Friday night, he earned his second consecutive top-five finish and third top-10 in four races.
Dancing the two-step
Helio Castroneves got more face time on “Dancing With the Stars” last week as the popular series celebrated its 100th episode.
At a news conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier in the week, the interviewer, a track veteran, said he has often been asked if Castroneves always acts the way he did on the TV show.
"Yes, I was just -- it was myself," the two-time 500 winner said. "As everybody knows me, I'm just having fun and like the same here (at the racetrack), having fun and racing."
He's hoping his dancing fans tune in to see him do his real job.
"Hopefully those new fans we achieve, we can bring them now and see it's also fun," he said. "Racing is not only go around, there are a lot of things going on during the race that people sometimes don't understand, and hopefully we made that message and people will join up."
Castroneves will start this year's Indianapolis 500 from inside the second row.
Jane Miller is the Journal Star motorsports columnist. Write her at 1 News Plaza, Peoria, IL 61643, call (309) 686-3207 or e-mail email@example.com.