Tony Stewart explains his ownership of Custom Works R/C; Details 2018 dirt racing plans
Tony Stewart is involved in all things racing. He’s the co-owner of a NASCAR Cup Series team, co-owner of a NASCAR Xfinity Series team, owner of a dirt sprint car team, the owner of a dirt sprint car series and the owner of a dirt track.
But, Tony Stewart’s relentless passion for racing, of all kinds, doesn’t stop at full-sized cars. He’s also involved at the macro level.
Tony Stewart once saved a little remote controlled racing shop from going out of business. That company still exists today and Tony Stewart remains the owner.
“Years ago, I ended up buying a company called Custom Works. It’s a cool event. It’s the biggest dirt race in the country and one of the coolest dirt R/C races happens at the same time.”
“It’s awesome to come over and watch my buddies run the R/C cars. Then, at the same time, get to go over and do my job at the Chili Bowl.”
This weekend, Tony Stewart is hands-on working on the staff side of the famed Chili Bowl Nationals. Days ago, he was pictured cutting a car down from the fencing as one of the dirt midgets tried to escape the track limits.
But, he’s found a little free time. Alongside the Chili Bowl Nationals, the R/C Chili Bowl is underway. Stewart stopped by the check out the racing and explain where his passion for RC cars stemmed.
“I can’t even tell you what year I first met Brian and Jerry Landgraf. They founded Custom Works and built it. I raced for those guys, for a long time. I think in ’94 is when I actually met them.”
“I had an opportunity to go drive in Bakersfield, where the company was from. I just bought one of their sprint cars.”
Before the trip, Tony was informed that California was a hot bed for RC racing. Specifically, California was ahead of the times regarding custom build RC cars for dirt.
“I lived out there for 7 weeks. I looked like the clampits. I took everything that I had with me, RC wise. I met Brian and Jerry and got to be really good friends with them.”
The original business of Custom Works wasn’t RC cars. It was custom car interiors. The company was founded in 1984. In 2003, the company was going to close shop.
“They decided they were going to get out of the RC industry and sell the company. You know, I was pretty passionate about it. I decided to buy it and move it to North Carolina. That’s where it’s been ever since.”
Given a wide range of racing activities and responsibilities, there’s not much time left for toy car racing. Do you miss it?
“Yeah, I do. The sad part is we had one in Columbus, Indiana, where I’m from. It’s just so hard for me to get a chance to go run. I think I’ve raced 1 time in the last 6-7 years. So, it’s been a long time.”
“I need 30 hour days and 400 day years to do every thing I wanna do.”
“It’s something I’ve been passionate about ever since I was in high school. I just wish I had a little bit more time to come to some of these bigger race.”
Each year, the RC Chili Bowl runs during the same dates as the Chili Bowl Nationals.
2018 Dirt Racing plans
Tony Stewart also discussed a little bit about his new role, post-nascar career. He’s still a racing driver, he just does it on the dirt tracks.
“Last year, being my first year, not driving anything in NASCAR. I was busier than I’ve been in probably 5-6 years. This year, it’s going to get worse.”
“I ran 45 sprint car races last year. We’re going to try to run 90-100 sprint car races this year.”
“I’m content with my decision. I get the best of both worlds. I still get to go race dirt every weekend. And the days that I have off, I go to the NASCAR track.”