Tony Stewart making NASCAR return at Indy road course

by Justin Nguyen

In July, Tony Stewart will be back behind a NASCAR stock car. On Wednesday, Stewart-Haas Racing announced the 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee will run the Xfinity SeriesPennzoil 150 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He has not raced in the sport since his retirement in 2016.

“Everyone knows what Indy means to me, so I can’t think of a better place to race on Fourth of July weekend,” Stewart stated. “It’s going to be cool making history by turning left and right in a stock car at the Brickyard, and the racing will be full of action and contact. Any time you can drive any racecar at the speedway is special, and you know I’m going for the win. The date is already circled on my calendar.”

After eight seasons on the its oval layout, the Xfinity Series moved to the legendary track’s fourteen-turn infield road course configuration for 2020. Although Stewart has never raced on the road course, he has enjoyed success at the speedway, recording two Brickyard 400 victories in 2005 and 2007 and racing in the Indy Racing League in the late 1990s, including five Indianapolis 500 starts.

The three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has eight road course victories at the premier level, including five wins at Watkins Glen International. The other three came at Sonoma Raceway, including his final Cup victory in 2016. He also won at the Daytona International Speedway‘s road course in the International Race of Champions in 2006 en route to the series championship.

After retiring from full-time racing, Stewart invested in sprint car racing, where he serves as a driver, team owner, and even track owner of Eldora Speedway. In October 2019, he made an unofficial return to driving a stock car when he partnered with Haas F1 Team for a test session at Circuit of the Americas, guiding drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen around the course.

While he has never run a full-time campaign in the Xfinity Series (he raced sporadically from 1995 to 1998 in addition to his IRL schedule before moving to Cup), he has eleven wins in the series. His most recent start in NASCAR’s second tier saw him slip by a scary catchfence wreck at Daytona in 2013 for the win.

“I’m racing 100 times a year in a sprint car,” Stewart added, “but seeing some of these road-course races – especially the Roval at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) – piqued my interest a bit, and running the stock car at COTA, it kind of fed my hunger. All of it has led me back to the place I’ve always called home – Indy.”

Stewart’s number and crew have not been revealed, though he will serve as Chase Briscoe‘s team-mate for the Pennzoil 150. Having driven the #98 for SHR since 2019, Briscoe is currently second in points after three races.

“Never heard of him,” Briscoe quipped on Reddit.

Related articles

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More