Retired NASCAR driver, Tony Stewart has exciting offers to return to Indycar — He’s considering the idea
In 1996, Tony Stewart made his debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He put the car on the pole position for the famed Indy 500. Stewart went on to finish 24th that day.
In total, Stewart has run five Indianapolis 500 races in his home state. He best finish came in 1997 where he finished 5th. Soon after, Stewart moved to fender sporting stock cars. It’s now been 17 years since Tony Stewart ran the Indianapolis 500.
“The pageantry around the Indy 500 is unlike anything you see in NASCAR. It’s just history and tradition that makes the Indy 500 what it is,” Tony Stewart explained to NBC Sports.
With 618 NASCAR Cup Series races under his belt, 49 wins and 3 series championship, Tony Stewart parted ways with the cockpit of a stock car. He’s still very active behind the wheel. Stewart installed some tear offs on his helmet and returned to the dirt tracks.
Today, he’s full-blown into dirt sprint car racing. However, he’s new expressing interest in returning to the Verizon Indycar Series in a few one-off events. He has several offers to do so with competitive rides…
Is there any chance you’ll run the 2019 Indy 500?
“Not this coming year. I did what I normally do — I let my mouth open before I actually thought about what I was saying,” Tony Stewart explained.
“I mentioned that I was open to the possibility again. And I realistically am. I’ve talked to Michael Andretti. Roger Penske still says I have an open invitation. I think [Chip] Ganassi will put me back in a car.”
“A call and an email that I didn’t expect was from Bobby Rahal and David Letterman to run one of their cars. I don’t read email. So, I haven’t even responded to Bobby Rahal yet. I just found out I had an email from him. Sorry Bobby… I don’t do email.”
“The reason I wouldn’t do it next year — I’ve been here and done it. I’m not doing it to just do it. I’m doing it to try to win the race.”
“If you’re really going to do that — I mean, the Indycar Series is so competitive right now and the drivers and teams are so tough. You’re not going to just stroll in here like they used to do in the 70’s and 80’s.”
“I would want to run an oval race sometime this coming year. Just to get ready for maybe 2020 … If I’m going to do it.”
Stewart stated he would want to run one Indycar race on an oval in 2019 before possibly heading to the Indy 500 in 2020. So what other 2019 Indycar oval races exist? The Indycar oval list: Texas Motor Speedway (June), Iowa Speedway (July), Pocono Raceway (August), Gateway Motorsports Park (August).
“I’ve learned to never say never. But, I keep doing the math. I’m pretty sure 49 is not a real good age to try to resurrect an Indycar career.”
“Who knows. I’ve done a lot dumber things than that.”
“The other thing is I’ll have to lose about 20 pounds to get to the weight I need to be for those things. A good friend that used to be in NASCAR, Jay Frye runs the Indycar Series now. They’re doing an awesome job.”
“My buddy Marco Andretti, who introduced me to my wife, wants me to run one of their cars.”
“We’ll see. I’m having fun. I’ve raced 68 races this year.”
What do you think about the dirt track at Indianapolis?
“It was awesome. Doug Boles did an awesome job. I watched both nights. I was actually getting ready for our World 100 at Eldora this weekend.”
The World 100 is a huge dirt late model race hosted at Eldora Speedway. Ironically, it also suffered a postponement due to rain. After getting just one of the three nights in, the race has been rescheduled for October.
“To finally have a proper dirt track here — The race was unbelievable. I’m proud of the speedway for letting Doug do this.”
“Hopefully, this deal won’t be just a once a year event. The track crew from Kokomo Speedway did an awesome job. They were the ones in charge of building the speedway.”
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