Tony Stewart wins in his first sprint car race since crash (PHOTOS, UPDATED)

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UPDATE (11:10 p.m. ET): Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart has made a victorious comeback to sprint car racing this evening at the Tri-City Motor Speedway in Auburn, Michigan.

The track’s Facebook page confirmed that Stewart won tonight’s feature:

Tony Stewart wins at Tri-City Motor Speedway.

Posted by Tri City Motor Speedway on Friday, July 18, 2014

The event was Stewart’s first sprint car race since he broke his leg in a crash last August at the Southern Iowa Speedway. The injury caused him to miss the final 15 races in the 2013 Sprint Cup season.

This past May, Stewart vowed that his first sprint car race after the accident would occur when people least expected it.

“I will be able to tell you how it went,” he said at the time. “Let’s put it that way. You won’t know when it’s coming. When I do go, nobody is going to know about it.”

But with the Sprint Cup Series taking this weekend off, word got out that “Smoke” would be racing tonight in Michigan.

Scot Johnson, sports director at local station WNEM-TV, was able to confirm Stewart’s participation:

And soon enough, fans and media members alike began to post both videos and photos of him rounding the track in practice earlier today:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152164108951924

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.