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dasg234 Offline



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19.09.2018 13:59
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Tony Stewart got back to his happy place on Tuesday, in more ways than one.Stewart, who grew up in Rushville, Indiana, and owns a ranch near Columbus, spent much of the day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the track that captivated him as a boy and ultimately motivated him to be a champion racer of both stock cars and Indy cars.The prospect of going to IMS perks up Stewart anytime, even if it means doing hours of media and promotion for the 23rd annual Brickyard 400, set for July 24. But IMS president Doug Boles had a trick up his sleeve this time to make a working day more pleasant: He and the IMS team conceived and built a temporary 3/16-mile dirt track inside Turn 3 of the IMS oval and brought out a handful of USAC Midget cars and drivers for hot laps.Talk about Stewarts happy place.Im addicted, he admitted. As soon as I saw it, I thought, Well, Im going to need to run a couple laps. I knew it was a possibility but I didnt know for sure. I had stuff [a drivers suit and helmet] with me. The worst thing you can do is drop me in the middle of a racetrack ... of course Im going to drive.Theyve been sending me pictures and videos of the progress since Day 1, Stewart added. So Ive been looking forward to this day. Its pretty impressive to be able to do something like this in such a short amount of time.Stewart had actually been talking to Boles on and off for the past three years, having what-if conversations about the possibility of a short track on the IMS grounds. With the popular local driver having announced his retirement at the end of the season from full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, the opportunity was there for IMS to give the Hoosier native a unique parting gift hes not likely to forget anytime soon.Every year we talk and he said, We could do pavement and it would be fun, but man, you need a dirt track, Boles related. It was a pretty easy decision for us. Tony has meant a lot to the Speedway, not only because hes been able to run both of our big events, but as much as anything because he grew up here. He is pretty vocal in saying that this is his favorite race track and the place hes always wanted to win.So we wanted to have some fun with Tony and our friends at USAC helped us lay this out, he added. This is temporary, but if it makes sense, there may be a day that you see something like this here for special events at the Speedway.For Stewart, it was an opportunity to reconnect with his short track roots in a low-key environment out of the public spotlight.Following the trail blazed by Jeff Gordon a few years earlier, Stewart blitzed the USAC championship trail in the early 1990s, becoming the first driver to win all three Triple Crown championships (Midget, Silver Crown and Sprint) in the same season in 1995. He parlayed that into championship success in the Indy Racing League before switching disciplines to stock car racing in 1999.Now 45, Stewart has become one of NASCARs top stars, winning the Cup series championship three times (2002, 05 and 11) as well as nearly every important stock car race with the exception of the Daytona 500. Hes also a successful team owner, both at the USAC level as well as the co-owner of the Stewart-Haas Racing Cup team that he drives for.But in recent years, he has grown tired of the demands of a modern NASCAR driver. He expressed his unhappiness as recently as two weeks ago, just prior to the surprise victory at Sonoma Raceway that should land him in this years Chase for the Sprint Cup.He has made it clear that even though he is retiring from the Cup series, he clearly still wants to compete somewhere.He always continued to run Sprint and Midget cars on the side throughout his IRL and NASCAR career, and despite a pair of life-altering sprint car accidents in 2013 (when he broke his right leg in an accident at Southern Iowa Speedway) and 2014 (when his car fatally struck driver Kevin Ward Jr. at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, resulting in a lawsuit that remains unsettled), his love for grass-roots racing remains intact.Fallout from the Ward accident, as well as a sand buggy accident in January in which he sustained a broken back, has kept Stewart out of his beloved dirt track cars for nearly two years. Thats why it was such a treat for him to turn laps on the dirt at IMS in a Midget prepared by his old car owner, Keith Kunz.The smile on his face when he stepped out of the No. 71 car normally driven by Carson Macedo said it all. Stewart lapped with former USAC and Indy car driver Sarah Fisher and multiple USAC titleholder Bryan Clauson, running three-wide at one point on the narrow, flat oval.That was fun -- a good time, he exclaimed. It brought back a lot of memories. I havent been in a midget for 2? years and I miss it. The tough part is I dont fit this car very well. These drivers are much smaller than I am. It was great to get back in a Keith Kunz car and I guarantee you it would be fun to do this more often. Bryan was getting around there pretty good.This is the ultimate, he added. We all wish we had this in our backyard to go play. Only six more months and I get to play in these all I want.Stewart remains a staunch supporter of the USAC trail, whether a driver wants to pursue stock cars or Indy cars as a career goal.If you can control a car on a track like this, thats the kind of car control you need to race an Indy car or a stock car around the speedway, he said. The skills that these guys learn and pick up at an early age running these type of cars go a long way.But its hard to get here. I hit the lottery; I got lucky getting my opportunity to come here. Theres a lot of drivers that deserve the chance to come race at Indy and they have the talent to do it.Stewart never accomplished his original goal of winning the Indianapolis 500; his best finish was fifth in 1997. Even though he never got to drink the traditional winners milk, a pair of Brickyard 400 victories (2005 and 07) served as a fair consolation prize.On Tuesday, Boles presented Stewart with a commemorative IMS milk bottle -- filled with dirt from Smokes Turn 3 playground.I dont know if it will taste that good, Stewart quipped. But thats as close as Im going to get to drinking milk. Nike Air Vapormax Buy . - Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie never doubted he would bring back coach Dennis Allen for a third year despite back-to-back 4-12 records. Vapormax Australia Nike . The next step is a better finish. Bae played bogey-free Friday on another gorgeous day at Riviera for a 5-under 66, giving him a one-shot lead over Aaron Baddeley and Robert Garrigus going into the weekend. http://www.airvapormaxaustralia.com/ .com) - The Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks both take aim at their first wins of the season on Saturday, as the Canucks open their home slate at Rogers Arena. 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