Tony Stewart and his sprint car series will race before limited crowds in S.D.

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
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Tony Stewart will be racing in front of a limited crowd with his All Star Circuit of Champions next weekend in South Dakota.

The three-time NASCAR Cup champion will be competing May 29-30 at Park Jefferson International Speedway in the winged sprint car series that he purchased in January 2015.

In a Thursday release, the All Star Circuit of Champions announced the races will be held at the Jefferson, South Dakota, short track with a limited general admission crowd. Fans will be socially distanced according to CDC recommendations because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Tickets will be sold online for admittance to the 0.4-mile dirt track.

Here’s the release from the series:

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (May 21, 2020) – Eager to battle for a pair of $6,600 top prizes, three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and recent NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, Tony Stewart, will accompany the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 during their first full-point weekend of the season and visit Jefferson, South Dakota’s Park Jefferson International Speedway on Friday and Saturday, May 29-30. Originally slated to award a pair of $5,000 pay days, the weekend now carries a total winner’s share equaling $13,200, with credit due to Kevin Rudeen of Rudeen Racing.

Tony Stewart is a five-time winner with the traveling All Stars over the course of his storied career, most recently claiming $26,000 during the Rayce Rudeen Foundation event at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa, on Sunday, July 28, 2019. The 2020 Rayce Rudeen Foundation race, once again awarding a $26,000 top prize, will be contested at the Plymouth Dirt Track in Plymouth, Wisconsin, on Thursday, July 30.

Always finding ways to contribute to sprint car racing, Kevin Rudeen decided to beef up the payouts at Park Jefferson International Speedway by adding a $3,000 kick to each night’s feature purse, ultimately bumping the top prizes from $5,000 to $6,500. In addition, the runner-up and third-place finishers on each evening will receive an extra $500, with the fourth and fifth-place finishers on each evening receiving an extra $250.

“I’m just looking forward to seeing sprint cars back on the track on a consistent basis,” said Kevin Rudeen. “I hope to be able to get to South Dakota next weekend to watch in person, but if not, I’ll be tuned into FloRacing. I appreciate the efforts of Tony and his team to get the season started.”

Earlier this week, the world-renown Trunk Bar headquartered in Knoxville, Iowa, posted $100 per night bumping the total to $6,600-to-win on Friday and Saturday.

As an added bonus, Kevin Rudeen will also award $250 to each heat race winner at Park Jefferson International Speedway.

“Kevin (Rudeen) has been nothing but supportive of the All Stars for the last two years and the sprint car industry on the whole for many more years,” said Tony Stewart. “It was pretty cool winning the inaugural Rayce Rudeen Foundation race last year at 34 Raceway and I look forward to defending the title this year at one of my favorite tracks – Plymouth, WI. I’m really excited that we are getting the season started next weekend with the All Stars. Ten races over a 17-day period beginning with two at Park Jefferson. It’s been a long while since I’ve raced in South Dakota.”

Online registration is now open for all teams entering action with the All Stars and IRA during the two-day visit to Park Jefferson International Speedway on Friday and Saturday, May 29-30. Registration and pit passes for the two-day program can be filled out and purchased by clicking here. Sprint car teams are encouraged to complete the online registration process at their earliest convenience. IRA member teams please contact Steve Sinclair at siraprez@sbcglobal.net before registering.

The IMCA SportMods and IMCA Stock Cars will also register through the same link here. The IMCA SportMods, featured on Friday, and IMCA Stock Cars, featured on Saturday, will each compete for a $400 top prize. Drivers will be competing for state, regional and national points.

General admission tickets for each night of the first-ever All Star invasion of Park Jefferson International Speedway are now available for $29. Children 5 and under will be admitted at a discounted price of $5. To comply with the social distancing recommendations upheld by the CDC, ticket purchases will be available online with only a limited number of tickets available. Those wanting to purchase tickets can do so by visiting here. No reserved seating is available and any remaining tickets will be sold on the day of the respective events.

Competitor Registration: https://sd-allstarentryform.typeform.com/to/O9ceqS 

General admission tickets: https://market.myracepass.com/store/tickets/?store=11275

Park Jefferson International Speedway pit gates will open at 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, May 29-30, with general admission gates opening at 4 p.m. The mandatory All Star drivers meeting will take place at the Series command center, following social distancing guidelines, at 5:30 p.m., followed by motor heat at 6, hot laps at 6:30 and time trials at 7.

A rain date of Sunday, May 31, may be utilized if weather should become a factor during the Friday or Saturday program. If both Friday and Saturday are rained out, tickets from Friday night’s program will be valid Sunday. If either Friday or Saturday night are rained out, the tickets from the respective night that was rained out will be valid Sunday. If the Sunday program is utilized, it will run without a support division and hot laps will begin at 2 pm.

For those unable to attend the Park Jefferson doubleheader, FloSports, the exclusive broadcast partner for both the All Star Circuit of Champions and IRA Outlaw Sprint Series, will broadcast the events live on its FloRacing platform. For more information, visit FloSports.tv or FloRacing.com.

The All Star Circuit of Champions are actively seeking marketing partners for the two-day visit to South Dakota. Those seeking additional information should contact pr@tonystewart.com.

Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

Foust Copper X Prix
McLaren Racing
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To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, unique trip it’s been for Tanner Foust in his first season with the Extreme E series as he took his early season lessons to Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he’s learned his lessons well.

In February, McLaren announced they would expand their motorsports program with an Extreme E entry. They signed two talented rally drivers in Foust and Emma Gilmour – and paired them for the opening round in Neom, Saudi Arabia with just a few days of testing under their belts. Baked by the Arabian desert sun, it was trial by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing into the final round and finishing fifth. As Extreme E headed to another desert halfway across the globe for Round 4, it was a good time to catch up with Foust and ask about McLaren’s progress. The Copper X Prix was held this past weekend in one of the most extreme regions in the world: the Atacama Desert.

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“The shock going into the first race was the speed,” Foust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than we had tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles per hour [in race trim] and our testing speeds were more in the 60 to 70-mile range. Then, once we sort of got around that, the car got updated so you can drive it even faster.”

In rally racing, some incidents are out of a driver’s control. Even peeking around another car can be dangerous because of potholes that have recently been gouged in the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout up between laps. A couple of rollovers brought Foust back to earth – but the pace was there and that was important.

“We had some challenges this season,” Foust said prior to the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; made the final, which is a difficult thing to do in this series. I had two rolls in the first three events, but I have improved each time. Now we come into Round 4 in Chile in a pretty strong position. We have competitive times as a team. We are communicating really well and have our heads around this Odyssey vehicle.”

Foust’s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race – Extreme E’s version of a Last Chance Qualifier – and did so after passing the field. It was the same manner in which he qualified for Saudi Arabia’s finale, but this time things would be better. There were those hard-earned lessons on which to lean – and Foust had reps under his belt. He was not going to be caught off guard by any random obstacles.

Tanner Foust passed Sebastien Loeb heading to the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix finale, he pressured one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

Pitching sideways through a tight left-hander late in his stint, Foust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastien Loeb as they headed to the Switch Zone. There, he would turn the car over to his co-driver Gilmour.

The Extreme E series pairs male and female drivers with both taking a turn behind the wheel.

After the driver change, Gilmour lost the lead momentarily to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutierrez, but as they charged toward the finish line, she surged ahead and crossed under the checkers first.

“What an improvement for the team over this year,” Foust said after the race. “We have struggled through some of the events, being in our first year in competition. We showed true pace this weekend; overtaking Sebastien Loeb was a highlight.

“Emma put in a great run in the Final. I was fortunate to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then first in the Final but with some flag penalties, we had 20 seconds added to our time, which put us into fifth. It was a great feeling crossing the line first, I love this wide style track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

“Hopefully we can continue that momentum into Uruguay.”

Loeb and Gutierrez were elevated to the top of the podium, but no one can take away the feeling of crossing under the checkers first.


Racing Responsibly

Since cars were first invented, racing has played a socially responsible role by improving safety. As Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing needs to adapt to these new needs and requirements, which is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is more than simple racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to offset damage done by climate change and to erase the footprint caused by the events.

Foust, a biology major from the University of Colorado, was given the chance to rekindle his interest and give back to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

The Atacama is the oldest desert in the world at 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth and has the highest degree of ultraviolet light. And yet somehow life perseveres through underground rivers with oases dating back to Incan times. Foust participated in preparing a local habitat for the reintroduction of a critically endangered water frog to Chile’s longest river, the Loa, which snakes its way through the desert.

“I’m loving the experience,” Foust said. “I’m putting on a lot of Chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I never would have come here otherwise.

“I honestly am very honored to be a part of this sport. I am a huge believer in the fact that motorsports has done us good in the last 100 years. I think we benefit every single time we put our seatbelts on and drive down the road to the lessons learned in racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope motorsports continues that tradition.

“I think that motorsports like [Extreme E] does it in a responsible way, a gender-neutral way and a carbon-neutral way.”