Stewart, who is a co-owner of the Stewart-Haas Racing team that fields four cars in NASCARâs premier Monster Energy Cup Series, said that Buttonâs tweet is a reflection of the growing positivity about the sportâs future.
Honda, with whom Button has long been aligned and raced for in Japanâs Super GT series since leaving F1, is monitoring the Gen-7 rules set to be put in place from 2021 and has admitted its interest as soon as it becomes economically viable for it to participate.
California-based Button tweeted âSign me up!!â in reply to our story.
âThat would be great!â exclaimed Stewart when asked by Motorsport.com about Buttonâs tweet. âJust like Danica Patrick was great for our sport when she came in, to have someone like Jenson come in would be huge for our sport.
âBut just for him to make that kind of remark, it makes me smile that he would be even interested. I think NASCAR is going in a good direction, there is a lot of really big changes that are going to be a shock-and-awe situation for a lot of fans that we have not seen in our sport, so I think NASCAR is getting ready to take some big steps that are going to open peopleâs eyes in the future.â
When asked how quickly a driver from an F1 background could adapt to NASCAR, Stewart replied: â[Juan Pablo] Montoya did it. Race car drivers are race car drivers, no matter what cars they run. What separates the good ones from the great ones, the great ones learn how to adapt to a different feel.
âThey donât get stuck in a feel for a race car, they know how to adapt and read what that the race car is wanting and learn to change their driving style to accommodate it. So there is plenty of race car drivers that can do that.â
Part of NASCARâs next-generation discussions have been powertrains that are more road-relevant than its current breed of V8s, and this is a key element in the attempt to lure a new manufacturer like Honda. The use of some form of hybrid-powered engine has been tabled by manufacturers, as they look the shape the future of the sport.
âTheyâre already looking at the hybrid route, so I donât know how that will play into our series, but I know thatâs in discussions with NASCAR,â said Stewart. âThey are looking in directions that theyâve never looked at for our sport in the past. I think thereâs some really neat things ahead.
âItâs our society, itâs the world we live in. When youâre in a sport where the cars youâre driving are cars that people are trying to buy, the old theory was âwin on Sunday, sell on Mondayâ. If theyâre selling hybrids on Monday and winning with V8s on Sunday that you donât even have in the showroom floor, itâs hard to sell it. So keeping the cars relevant to what the people are buying, what the consumers are driving, is very important. Not only for F1, but soon to be NASCAR.â
When asked if he personally supported the push for hybrid power in NASCAR, Stewart replied: âAs a racecar driver, I donât care if weâre racing pedal cars. Racers just wanna race. They donât care if itâs four cylinders, V8, turbochargers, hybrids â they donât care, they just wanna be faster than the other guy.â