Tony Stewart: “There’s people that are NASCAR fans that don’t like dirt racing. And there’s dirt track fans that don’t like NASCAR racing. But, there’s fans that don’t know the difference sometimes.”
Tony Stewart has 95 dirt races schedule on his dirt racing tour for 2018. Of those, two of them will be run this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
Behind the glamorous 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway sits the grassroots dirt track. This weekend, the 4/10th of a mile oval is hosting a huge dirt race: Tony Stewart Presents The Vankor Texas Sprint Car Nationals (ASCS Sprint Cars).
Tony Stewart is removing the fences this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The NASCAR and dirt racing crowds become one for one big weekend of racing in Texas.
“The crowd last year was awesome on Saturday. And it makes it fun for us as drivers to race in front of a big crowd like that. It was just kind of a natural deal,” Tony Stewart discusses the event.
It’s a double header weekend for the complex. Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson and the other NASCAR guys all have a dirt race to watch this weekend.
“They’ll all come down and tell me everything I’m doing wrong driving the car. I’ll get plenty of driver coaching I’m sure,” Tony Stewart says at the Texas Motor Speedway media center.
Do you ever compare dirt to NASCAR?
“Well, there’s a reason they call it grassroots racing. It’s never gunna be the scale of what NASCAR is. NASCAR’s worked extremely hard to make this as big as it is.”
“Dirt track racing’s never gunna be that because the finances aren’t there. People are gunna pay $20-25 to get in the grandstands. I’m pretty sure there’s not $20-25 tickets for this weekend here [at the NASCAR race].”
“At the same time, you don’t have that level of car owners. I don’t worry about comparing what we’re doing over there to what we’re doing over here. I just think it’s a great opportunity to introduce people that come to a NASCAR race to dirt track racing.”
“Now these people might go, ‘Hey, they got a dirt track an hour from our house. Maybe we should go check that out this weekend?’ ”
“Show people that there’s guys like Sam [Haferepe Jr] who have the talent to drive race cars that have 900 horsepower that weight 1200 pounds. They’re the 1/3 the weight of a cup car, they got 200 more horsepower and these guys are running their guts out.”
“There’s great races everywhere. I just think it’s a great opportunity educate and introduce new fans to short track racing that don’t know what it’s about.”
How about the asphalt fans vs dirt track fans? What do you think about that dynamic?
“There’s people that are NASCAR fans that don’t like dirt racing. And there’s dirt track fans that don’t like NASCAR racing. But, there’s fans that don’t know the difference sometimes.”
“There’s people that may come to the race on Sunday that may not have came. But, the fact that they get to watch a dirt race two night in a row this weekend. They might’ve bought a cup ticket with it.”
“It’s great cross pollination to introduce fans, both directions.”
Is there plans to schedule more dirt races along-side NASCAR events?
“It’s not something I looked it.”