Tony Stewart made headlines in Talladega last year for two reasons.
In April, his legendary snark and wiseacre nature came to the forefront when he said, “We didn’t crash enough cars” and suggested the race should be run on a “Figure 8” course. See the above video for more.
In October, he single-handedly attempted to rectify those sarcastic comments when he made contact with Michael Waltrip, and started the traditional “Big One” that took out more than a dozen cars.
As this is the first Gen-6 race at Talladega, and after a mild Daytona 500 but one where Stewart was involved with an accident, it will be interesting to see what headlines the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will generate this time around.
Ideally, he’ll be hoping it will be for surviving the inevitable carnage. Stewart is off to a slow start in 2013, ranking only 22nd in the points standings with one top-10 finish in the first nine races.
Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.