Tony Stewart’s back driving in NASCAR. For one race anyway.
The recently inducted NASCAR Hall of Famer announced Wednesday that he’d be behind the wheel for the July 4 Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Xfinity Series is racing on the IMS road course this season and it’ll be Stewart’s first chance to race around the configuration in a stock car.
“Everyone knows what Indy means to me, so I can’t think of a better place to race on Fourth of July weekend,” Stewart said. “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 race car at the speedway is special, and you know I’m going for the win. The date is already circled on my calendar.”
Stewart’s love affair with Indianapolis is well-known. The Indiana native and IndyCar champion has raced in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400, but never won the 500 despite having fast cars on multiple occasions. He’s a two-time Brickyard 400 champion as a driver (2005 and 2007) and Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick have each won Brickyard 400s while driving cars co-owned by Stewart.
Stewart, 48, has also made it clear in the past that he’d be open to returning to NASCAR in the Xfinity Series at a road course. The move from the 2.5-mile Indy oval to the road course for the first time is the perfect opportunity.
The three-time Cup Series champion will drive a car prepped by his Stewart-Haas Racing team and SHR said his car number and sponsor would be announced later. How fun would it be if current Stewart-Haas Racing competition director and longtime Stewart crew chief Greg Zipadelli came back to crew chiefing for a race and if SHR was able to get Home Depot to sponsor Stewart’s car?
Before retiring at the end of the 2016 season, Stewart won 49 Cup Series races over 18 years at NASCAR’s top level while winning the 2002, 2005 and 2011 championships. He’s also won 11 Xfinity Series races across 94 starts, including his most recent Xfinity Series start in 2013 at Daytona. That victory was Stewart’s fourth at Daytona in the Xfinity Series in five years and his fourth Xfinity Series win in eight starts.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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