RELATED: Photos of Stewart through the years

Remember back in 2011, Tony Stewart went on the record to say he didn’t think his No. 14 team would win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship?

Remember what actually happened? Stewart won five of the 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to beat Carl Edwards for an improbable championship, the third of his storied career.

Stewart’s win at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, his first of 2016 and first in more than three years, brought back memories of that historic run and inevitably has led some to wonder if Stewart has one more magical march in him.

“I’m going to stick with my approach from 2011,” Stewart said to NASCAR.com’s Jonathan Merryman on Sunday afternoon in Victory Lane. “I said we couldn’t win it then and we ended up winning it. I feel like we’re just starting to get going.”

MORE: Watch that interview | See Stewart move Hamlin for win

Want another similarity to 2011? One stat stands out and perhaps provides another layer of continuity between the two seasons.

Through race Nos. 9-16 of the season — Stewart’s first eight events of the year after missing the start of the season due to a severe back injury — his average finish is 17.125.

In 2011, Stewart’s average finish from race Nos. 9-16? Exactly 17.125.

Hmm …


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