Exceptions to the rule

Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jeff Burton buck tradition

Updated: February 10, 2010, 11:36 AM ET
By Ryan McGee and Eric Morse | ESPN The Magazine

This article appears in the Feb. 22 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

Fully stocked

Ah, the effects of success: money, fame and all those annoying questions about encores. Since shocking the paddock, and himself, by placing two cars in the Top 10, second-year team owner Tony Stewart is already sick of "the question that won't go away." Forgive us, Smoke, but we have to ask too: When are you expanding your team?

"We're definitely looking at it. It made no sense to even think about it for 2010, but we talk about the benefits and problems of doing it all the time. There's a lot of both."

When Kevin Harvick tried to wriggle out of his final year with RCR, it was widely believed he was fixing to join his buddy in Stewart-Haas Racing's projected third car. Now Kasey Kahne, another old friend, will also be available at the end of 2010. So three cars for SHR? "I have said all along that I refuse to bite off more than I can chew," Stewart says flatly. Then he pats his belly. "Clearly, though, I can chew a lot."

Ryan McGee | email

ESPN The Magazine, NASCAR