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.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).