Thursday, 27 February 2020

NASCAR: Tony Stewart eyeing a return after COTA demonstration? – Beyond the Flag

NASCAR: Tony Stewart eyeing a return after COTA demonstration? – Beyond the Flag
07 Nov

Tony Stewart returned behind the wheel of a NASCAR Cup Series car at Circuit of the Americas, and it left him wanting more.

Three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart announced in 2015 that he would be retiring from the sport following the conclusion of the 2016 season.

Indeed, the 2016 season finale, hosted by Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, November 20, is still the most recent race in which Stewart has been behind the wheel of a Cup car.

But Stewart returned behind the wheel of the #14 car last week, and it has left him wanting more.

Stewart, who drove the #14 car when it was a Chevrolet from the 2009 season through the 2016 season, drove the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford around Circuit of the Americas ahead of this past Sunday afternoon’s Formula 1 race at the track, the annual United States Grand Prix.

Stewart co-owns Stewart-Haas Racing, which compete in both the Cup Series and the Xfinity Series, along with Gene Haas, who owns the Haas Formula 1 team. In correlation with the United States Grand Prix, the #14 Ford was outfitted with a passenger seat for him to show the two Haas Formula 1 drivers, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean, how to wheel a 3,200-pound stock car around the lone purpose-built Formula 1 track in the United States.

It’s safe to say that the 48-year-old Columbus, Indiana native enjoyed his time back behind the wheel, even to the point where he is considering doing something he never thought he would do after he retired:

Return to NASCAR.

Here is what Stewart had to say about potentially returning to NASCAR, according to Motorsport.

“To go out there and run laps it was fun. The sad part is, it’s kinda frustrating, ’cause it’s given me the itch to get back in one, and I swore I never would after I retired! We’ve joked around, and talked a little bit about running an Xfinity race on the road courses, because I always enjoyed the road courses.

The current road courses on the Xfinity Series schedule are Watkins Glen International, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Road America and the Charlotte Motor Speedway roval, although Stewart added that NASCAR is looking to add more.

He also stated the following on SiriusXM about what his plans for a return might include.

“I’d say even though I’m officially retired, I might do a Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. and pull a one-off here or there. It doesn’t mean we’re doing it, it doesn’t mean we’re trying to put something together, it just means it could possibly be on the radar.”

Earnhardt has competed in one Xfinity Series race each season since retiring from full-time competition after the 2017 season. He competed in the playoff race at Richmond Raceway last September and he competed in the regular season race at Darlington Raceway this August. If all goes according to plan, expect to see him back at Homestead-Miami Speedway in March.

Next: Top 10 NASCAR drivers of all-time

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Will Tony Stewart return to NASCAR for a road course race at some point in the near future after running demonstration laps at Circuit of the Americas and “getting the itch” to make a return even after retiring? Don’t rule it out, especially considering the fact that Stewart-Haas Racing field cars in the Xfinity Series.



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