HAMPTON, GA - Tony Stewart looked nice and relaxed during a sponsor appearance. Good try, Smoke.
The pressure is clearly on Stewart, who's slogged his way through a winless season and finds himself barely clinging to his perennial spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
He heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for what might be viewed as a last stand. Stewart has won three times at the 1.54-mile oval, including last year's race on Labor Day weekend, so this is a good chance to give himself a little breathing room.
Stewart holds a tenuous 21-point lead for the 10th position in the playoff, with hard-charging Brad Keselowski right on his heels. If Stewart drops to 11th, he'll be in real trouble since the two wild cards will likely go to drivers with wins.