The last time we saw Tony Stewart at Talladega Superspeedway, in October, he was leading on the final lap. Seconds later, his No. 14 Chevrolet was twirling upside down after Stewart triggered a jaw-dropping, 25-car crash.
Now NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series is headed back to the high-banked, 2.66-mile Alabama track for its next race Sunday, and Stewart needs a spark of another kind.
The three-time Cup champion is off to a dismal start this year. Through the first nine races, he has finished in the top 10 only once, an eighth-place finish at Phoenix in early March.
As a result, Stewart is mired in 22nd place in the Cup championship standings, 136 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.
Stewart also is only 38 points ahead of Danica Patrick, who's 26th in the standings in her first full Cup season driving for Stewart's team, Stewart-Haas Racing.