Stewart on sprint cars: He’ll cut back, but race again

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Tony Stewart said Tuesday he will race a sprint car again, but won’t attempt a similar number of races in 2014 as he planned this year.

“This year was the most aggressive schedule we planned. I wouldn’t plan on 70 races again next year. I was too aggressive on number of dates,” he said. “I’ll get back in one eventually, no time frame, but I will cut back the amount of races out of scheduling purposes more than anything. I was starting to feel tired. The Truck race (at Eldora) was a lot of stress. I’m definitely going to cut back quite a bit.”

Stewart said several safety measures are in the process of being developed around the country to enhance sprint car safety.

“Safety fixes started before my accident,” he said. “Jerry Russell of Eagle chassis has a torque tube tunnel being developed. Butler Built here in Charlotte is working on a tether system. Jimmy Carr, my crew chief, has been working on a torque tube plus tethers. It’s a movement similar to when Dale Sr. crashed and it sparked safety improvements. How can we make things better?

“There’s gonna be something,” he added, then admonishing some reporters. “Sprint car racing has had a dark cloud over it. Reading some of the articles from writers who don’t know anything about it has devastated the sprint car community. Manufacturers have got involved here. It’s not nearly as dangerous as everything thinks it is. There’s no formal group like NASCAR, but it’s independents coming together.”

Despite rumors or stories to the contrary, Stewart’s sponsors have supported him throughout the process since his accident.

“My sponsors have been amazing through this,” he said. “They want to me to be healthy. The sprint car topic has been sensitive, but they have all been supportive of me living my life.”

Alex Palou named reserve F1 driver for McLaren Racing in 2023

Alex Palou McLaren reserve
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Alex Palou was named a Formula One reserve driver for McLaren Racing on Thursday, confirming the end of a prolonged battle for the IndyCar champion and the F1 team.

The Spaniard, who won the 2021 IndyCar championship for Chip Ganassi Racing, last July said he was declining to return to Ganassi next year and instead would drive for McLaren.

Ganassi held an option on 2023 for Palou, who wanted to move to McLaren for a shot at motorsports’ highest level. The fight for the driver dragged into September through mediation, where it was decided that Palou would finish his contract and also be allowed to do F1 opportunities with McLaren.

Palou, 25, since has tested for McLaren, and he made his F1 debut at the United States Grand Prix in October when he drove the first practice session.

In his role as a reserve driver, Palou will support McLaren whenever it does not conflict with his responsibilities in the final year of his IndyCar contract with Ganassi. He officially will move to McLaren at the end of the upcoming IndyCar season and drive either for Arrow McLaren SP in IndyCar or move completely into an F1 role.

“I’m excited to be part of the McLaren team as one of their reserve drivers in 2023,” Palou said. “I can’t wait for the involvement with next year’s car. I look forward to continuing my development as a driver and I appreciate the trust McLaren have in me with this new role next year.”

Palou has four wins and 15 podiums through three IndyCar seasons and is the only Spaniard to win the championship.

“The team are pleased to have Alex on board as one of our reserve drivers for next season,” said Andreas Seidl, McLaren team principal. “He impressed with his FP1 session in Austin and his driver development tests this year.”