Tony “Smoke” Stewart’s racing itinerary in Virginia those next few weeks isn’t restrained to his role as owner of certainly one of NASCAR’s other a success Cup Series groups. Stewart will race on a dust tune, Virginia Motor Speedway, in a Sprint automobile collection he owns and operates (deep breath here if you’re reading aloud), the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions Presented by Mobil 1. Stewart and the Ollie’s Sprint vehicles will run the Thursday Night Thunder event on April 11 — nights earlier than the Saturday night-time Cup race at Richmond Raceway.
I asked Stewart, who turns 48 in May, if he wouldn’t forget going for walks during the occasional Cup race, especially in Virginia. Before he retired from Cup racing after the 2016 season, he had fulfillment at the state’s Cup tracks, prevailing three runs on the tight Martinsville half of mile, three extra on the Richmond’s D-shaped ¾-mile. Stewart’s answer becomes that of the realistic businessman, most people proprietor of the Stewart-Haas racing crew, an outfit with four full-time drivers — Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Eric Almirola, and Daniel Suarez.
NASCAR’s according to-group limit is four vehicles, so, “We don’t have a further car for me to pressure,” Stewart said. “I have plenty to do as a team owner.” If no longer Cup Series stock vehicles, what about ago back to the open-wheel racers in the Indianapolis 500? In addition to his 3 Cup Series championships in 18 seasons, Stewart becomes the 1997 IndyCar Series champ — he’s the most effective driver to win championships in each of those racing disciplines. But he by no means fulfilled his boyhood dream of winning the Indy 500. Wouldn’t he like to provide that one greater shot? Stewart has had offers for Indy 500 rides from some pinnacle IndyCar teams. Last year, he dangled the chance he would possibly take delivery of such an offer. When driving force Robert Wickens changed into significantly injured in an IndyCar crash at Pocono Raceway in October, Stewart told The Associated Press he became having 2nd thoughts. “You watch Robert get harm,” he stated, “and also you ask yourself if it’s genuinely really worth it.” Five months later, I requested Stewart if his interest in going for walks at Indianapolis had heated up again. “No, not certainly,” he said.
“That’s been an internal war for me. Winning the Indy 500 has been a lifetime intention. When I consider walking another one, my coronary heart says, ‘Yes.’ My head says, ‘Is this an awesome idea?’ I’m beginning to let my head win the conflict.” He said he’d entertain the idea of returning to Indy most effective if he had a threat to win, and he doesn’t consider that’s a practical aim for a one-race-simplest effort. “If you’re going to have a threat to win the Indy 500, you’ve were given to run plenty of the races,” he said. “I admire the race too much, and I respect the one’s drivers too much to reveal up for one race.” So for the instant, at least, Sprint cars are the focus for Stewart, the driver. He stated Virginia Motor Speedway, a nicely manicured dirt half-mile, will be a perfect venue for the Ollie’s Series cars, careening into the corners with 410 cubic inches of engine energy and downforce courtesy of large overhead wings.
The $10,000-to-win, $1,000-to-start special occasion may have a robust 24-car starting lineup, Stewart promised. The race is the primary factor event of the collection’s fifty-six-race seasons. Aside from five preseason races in Florida all through the run-as much as the Daytona 500, the Thursday Night Thunder event is the simplest race in a Southern nation on Ollie’s 2019 timetable. The Sprint Car Series occasion is a part of a statewide March-April agenda that can be visible as Virginia’s annual version of Daytona’s Speedweeks. Racing inside the commonwealth will consist of events for motorcycles, cross-karts, many inventory automobile divisions, sports automobiles, vehicles, and dragsters. Besides the 2 Cup activities, 3 weekends aside and their day-before NASCAR aid races — Truck Series at Martinsville, Xfinity Series at Richmond — almost all of the state’s racing venues have their starting-night events around spring’s arrival. South Boston Speedway opened last weekend. Southside Speedway’s sixtieth-anniversary season starts March 29. Dominion Raceway begins April 6.
Langley Speedway opens April 11 opposite Virginia Motor Speedway with a 2 hundred-lap Late Model race. One music returning to operation with an essential alternate after a yr off is the previous Lonesome Pine Speedway in Coeburn. The .375-mile tune has been converted from pavement to dust and will reopen as Clay Valley Speedway Saturday. Finally, Richmond Raceway receives in on the amusing March 30. The Pro All-Star Series will convey its Super Late Model Series to the track for a seventy-five-lap feature, alongside races for different divisions.