Stewart’s sprint car win excites Michigan dirt track owner, fans

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Tri-City Motor Speedway (Auburn, Mich.) owner Steve Puvalowski wasn’t exactly sure what to make of the giant hauler bearing the word “Smoke” when it pulled into his track yesterday afternoon.

But it eventually became clear that a very special guest would be coming to race.

Last night at Tri-City, three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart returned to sprint car racing for the first time since his season-ending crash last year at the Southern Iowa Speedway.

After finishing second in his heat, Stewart was able to make a late charge to the front in last night’s Sprints on Dirt feature before winning in front of a jacked-up, near-capacity crowd.

“I don’t know how he chose Tri-City to come race at,” Puvalowski said to the Midland (Mich.) Daily News. “I know he’s raced with Sprints on Dirt before. I’m pretty sure it was at Plymouth Speedway in Ohio.”

But while Puvalowski couldn’t figure out why Stewart decided to show up to Tri-City, you can bet that he and the fans in attendance were more than happy to have him visit.

“He’s a real nice guy, and this kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (for our racetrack) – it was definitely a great crowd pleaser,” he said, adding that Stewart signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans for a short time in post-race.

“People loved it. It was a great race. There was a lot of action going on. It was a great race by itself, and having Tony Stewart there made it an awesome race.”

And Stewart’s apparently not done with his dirt-track fun on this off-weekend for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. According to FoxSports.com’s Tom Jensen, Stewart is competing tonight in another Sprints on Dirt event at Crystal (Mich.) Motor Speedway.

In addition, noted sprint car racing site TJSlideways.com has tweeted tonight’s SOD roster at Crystal, with Stewart and his familiar No. 14 on it:

Indeed, Stewart is remaining true to his word after vowing back in May that his big wreck wouldn’t stop him from doing what he wants.

“I’m going to live my life,” he said at the time. “It’s nobody else’s decision, but mine. I think there are a lot worse things I could be doing with my life than what I choose to do.”

Recapping the 2018 Dakar Rally with “best of” video highlights

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

As it has done so for four decades, the 40th annual Dakar Rally – the most grueling test of man and machine anywhere – produced a number of surprise finishes and also several disappointments for drivers or riders who were expected to do well in the nearly 5,600-mile trek that began in Peru and continued through Bolivia and ending in Argentina.

NBCSN has aired highlights from all 14 stages (actually 13, because one stage was completely rained out) during the Rally’s two-week run, which concluded Saturday.

Here’s some of the “best of” highlights from the overall Rally highlights, followed by a quick guide that gives you wrapups to all 14 stages.

So, without further adieu, here’s NBCSN’s “best of” the 2018 Dakar Rally:

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of cars

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of bikes

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of trucks

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of quads

Lastly, here’s a day-by-day wrapup of how the Rally played out.

MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.

MORE: Stage 14 overall Rally wrapup

MORE: Stage 13 wrapup

MORE: Stage 12 wrapup

MORE: Stage 11 wrapup

MORE: Stage 10 wrapup

MORE: Stage 9 cancelled due to weather, impassible course conditions

MORE: Stage 8 wrapup

MORE: Stage 7 wrapup

MORE: Stage 6 wrapup

MORE: Stage 5 wrapup

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup