Tony Stewart makes surprise visit to Black Rock Speedway
With nearly all of his dirt track racing experience coming from wingless sprints and midgets, NASCAR star Tony Stewart strapped on a wing and competed in the ASCS New York Sprint Nationals at the Black Rock Speedway on Aug. 8.
Competing against many of the Northeast’s best 360 sprint car drivers, Stewart, in the area for the Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International, held his own on the clay oval in nearby Dundee, finishing a respectful sixth out of 24 drivers that started.
“I had a good time tonight, we started fifth and finished seventh in the main and I’m the weak link in this equation. But we have fun every time we do this,” Stewart said following his run. Stewart would actually finish in the sixth position following the disqualification of winner Chuck Hebing who failed the post race inspection.
Since his first trip to Black Rock Speedway in 2000, when he competed in a Steve Paine-owned 358 modified, Stewart was positively optimistic about how his night turned out from that aspect.
“It’s two different types of cars and just watching it is different from actually racing on it, so it’s just about running laps and we got better the further we got, but gave up too much in the beginning,” Stewart said, explaining how he adapted to an unfamiliar track.
While Stewart enjoyed his time at the clay track, he does see this as an opportunity that he has come to enjoy and hopes to continue the annual Friday night trek to the Black Rock Speedway in the future.
“It worked out good, Jimmy Carr (crew chief) was free this year and we’re going be running Williams Grove (Pennsylvania) and it made us easier to make the trip worth while,” Stewart concluded.
Stewart has announced he will own his own NASCAR Sprint Cup team next year, he owns race teams in several different series — sprint car, late model, midgets and more. He also owns Eldora Speedway in Ohio.