The Indianapolis Motor Speedway president sent a text to Tony Stewart after the track announced schedule changes for the new marathon week of racing in Indiana
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to adjust the racing calendar.
Roger Penske’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been forced to make major schedule adjustments. The new schedule was announced March 26.
Now, the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis has been moved to July 4. The highly anticipated Indianapolis 500 has also been pushed back to August 23.
The Independence Day weekend show will now be a massive collection of various racing disciplines. INDYCAR, NASCAR and USAC will run on the same weekend.
BC39 dirt midget race
GMR Grand Prix
NASCAR Xfinity Series
NASCAR Cup Series
Could Tony Stewart run all four races?
Indiana native Tony Stewart has already announced that he’ll make his NASCAR return for the Xfinity race at Indianapolis. This will mark his first NASCAR start since 2016.
Stewart previously raced IRL. However, he has not made an INDYCAR start since 2001.
Currently, Stewart runs dirt sprint cars on a weekly basis. He typically has 90+ starts on his racing schedule per year, most on the dirt.
Tony Stewart has experience in all four machines heading to Indianapolis in July. Could we see Stewart run all four of these races?
The president of the track is already thinking ahead. He proactively sent a text to Tony Stewart, proposing the idea.
IMS President Doug Boles: “I just sent a text a little while ago to [Tony Stewart], that if there’s one driver on the face of the earth that could compete in all four of the races that will happen at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in one week…”
Tony Stewart comments on the idea: “I got a text back from him with a thumbs up. He said, ‘You get me the good rides, maybe I’ll consider it.’ “
Is it even possible?
From the physical and logistics point of view, of course. All four races are held in one location. That makes it the perfect opportunity for a cross-over event from various angles.
But, the NASCAR rule book could be a problem on the NASCAR Cup Series side of things.
Rule 3.11.2 Multi-Vehicle Teams:
“During a single racing season, unless otherwise authorized by NASCAR. NASCAR will not assign more than four vehicle numbers to any single organization participating in the NASCAR Cup Series that are owned and controlled by the same Team Owner or by an ‘Affiliate Group’.”
Stewart-Haas Racing currently fields four cars in the NASCAR Cup Series. Tony Stewart is a 50% owner of that operation.
Without authorization from NASCAR, Tony Stewart Racing would not be allowed to field a 5th car for Stewart himself. Nor could he drive for a SHR affiliate.
There is an option for Tony Stewart to step into a car that he does not own. Though, given recent history, that appears unlikely as Stewart has been an owner/driver in most of his racing runs for the last decade.
“NASCAR in its sole discretion may take any action deemed appropriate by NASCAR with respect to such Team Owners. Including but not limited to revoking its assignment of the vehicle numbers, ceasing to award points, refusing to accept an entry and/or prohibiting a Team Owner from competing in any Event.”
This rule has not been broken to date. The only exception to the rules above are for Rookie drivers. Teams are allowed to field a 5th car for a limited number of races, only with a rookie driver.
However, still the most important part is “unless otherwise authorized by NASCAR.” The sanction could make an exception for the Indiana driver.