Tony Stewart leaves door open to race in Indianapolis 500

NASCAR


DEARBORN, Mich. — Tony Stewart, who hasn’t ruled out a return to stock car racing and has often said he would love to drive in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, expanded the circle Thursday, opening the possibility of a return to the Indianapolis 500.

The race he has wanted to win so badly is one he has often said he didn’t expect to return to. He has not competed in the 500 since 2001.

But as Stewart talked about his future race schedule Thursday, he propped the door back open to anything now that he has competed in 62 sprint car races this year.

“Everything is a possibility,” Stewart said. “There’s nothing that I’ve written off and said, ‘You know what, I’m never doing it.’ … [Indy 500] is not out of the question.”

Roger Penske has said in the past that he would field a car for Stewart — and if Stewart, 47, does compete in the race, he would likely want one of the more competitive rides.

“If we were going to try to do the 500, I would want to do at least one race before that,” Stewart said. “I’ve been there and ran it. If I go, I’m not going just to run it. I don’t want to be a sideshow like Danica [Patrick] was at Indy this year.”

Stewart, who drove Ford’s 2019 NASCAR Cup car during the unveiling of its new Mustang body style Thursday, said it would be foolish to think he could just show up and have a shot to win. He said one race might not be enough to know all the little things, such as pit stops, and to know that the seat fits correctly for a long race.

“If I go, I want to go feeling like I’ve got the same opportunity to win that everybody else in the field does,” Stewart said. “It’s an insult to the guys that do it every week to show up and think you’re going to be as good as those guys are.”

While he considered running an Xfinity race this year, he said he would have had to give up running four sprint car races.

“I feel like the more I’m racing, the better I’m getting,” Stewart said. “Even on the days that we’re off, I feel like I’m learning things that will help down the road. … I’m finally starting to get some confidence back as a driver.”

If he’s talking about other forms of racing, what about Formula One, considering his NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas fields cars in that series?

“That’s going to be a little tougher,” Stewart said. “They’re skinny. I don’t mind working hard to be a race car driver, but I don’t want to have to work that hard just to be skinny. I like to eat, still.”



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