When the NASCAR Xfinity Series hits the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for the first time in July, Tony Stewart will not be one of them. On Tuesday, Stewart revealed he will be unable to compete in 4 July’s Pennzoil 150. He had planned to run the event with his Stewart-Haas Racing team.
Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press initially broke the news, explaining that “[w]ith multiple races in two series, the logistics for a one-off were too much for SHR. Also, the point was lost for Stewart to entertain a home crowd with no fans in attendance.”
A 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, Stewart had hoped to run his first NASCAR race since 2016 on the Indy road course, which was newly introduced for the 2020 Xfinity season. Although he has no experience on the layout, which is currently used by the NTT IndyCar Series for its GMR Grand Prix, Stewart is a two-time Cup Series winner on the oval configuration and has five Indianapolis 500 starts.
However, the cancellation comes for logistical reasons as SHR fields cars in both the Cup and Xfinity Series. The Indianapolis weekend was to be a doubleheader between NASCAR and IndyCar, already providing for a busy weekend. The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced races to be run without spectators, though NASCAR has introduced plans for limited attendance at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway in June.
SHR Xfinity driver Chase Briscoe, who was supposed to partner Stewart for the Pennzoil 150, commented a sad emoji on Reddit. Another user quipped in response, “You should tell Tony you would have beat him anyway”.
Although Stewart is out of the picture, road course ringers are still expected to show up. Perhaps the most notable name scheduled to race at Indianapolis is Mike Wallace, who will run his first NASCAR event since 2015 with JD Motorsports.