Roger Penske says fielding Tony Stewart in Indy 500 would be ‘one of the biggest dreams of my life’

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BROOKLYN, Mich. – Roger Penske’s desire to field a car for Tony Stewart in the Indianapolis 500 remains as strong as ever. But the offer that Penske made nearly six years ago to put the three-time NASCAR champion in one of his cars for May might be dependent on timing.

“One of the biggest dreams of my life would be to get Tony Stewart in one of our Indy 500 cars,” Penske said Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. “Obviously, we’ve got obligations now. We’ve got four cars running (next year) and to run a fifth would be pretty tough, but who knows over the next couple of years what happens.”

Last Thursday, Stewart said he wants to run the Indy 500 for the first time since 2001, and possibly as early as next season, but he might be unable to take advantage of Penske’s invitation at 2012 NASCAR Awards Ceremony (when he said during his championship speed that he wanted to help Stewart run the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 doubleheader).

Team Penske is slated to field Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden and Helio Castroneves in the race next year.

Stewart declined Penske’s offer in 2013, saying he didn’t have time to prepare adequately. The Columbus, Indiana, native said last week that he would want to run at least one IndyCar race before making his sixth start in the Indy 500.

Regardless of which team he is racing for, Penske said Stewart’s return to Indy would be big.

“Just the fact that he would say he’d like to get in one was a real honor for me,” he said. “He’s an icon in Indiana, an icon at Indianapolis, an icon in the sport. To have Stewart out there, it would be something tremendous impact to IndyCar.

“I’d love to have him in a car but he knows it better than I do that timing is everything. To me, if there was a time that we could fit it in and work for him and work for us, he’d be the first guy I’d call.”

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.