ANDERSON, Ind. — Any lingering doubts of Tony Stewart’s adaptability, versatility and desire to return to winning form behind the wheel of every short track car he straps into were erased this week, as the retired three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion completed a very successful test session with Hoffman Auto Racing.
Stewart jumped into the famed No. 69 Mean Green Cleaners/Dynamics Inc. non-wing sprint car in advance of next month’s 69th annual Pay Less Little 500 at the Anderson Speedway quarter-mile.
He will be competing at the famed 500-lap crown jewel sprint car race for the first time, and according to the team, “was up to speed after (only) eight or nine laps” under the guidance of nine-time Little 500 champion Eric Gordon.
“(Tony) is amazing … and there’s no question (he is) one of the all-time world’s greatest versatile drivers,” continued the team statement, posted to their Facebook page. “We ran over 200 laps, went through three sets of tires and learned a lot. It was a great time and a lot of work. … We look forward to qualifying and race day with Tony.”
Hoffman Auto Racing won the Little 500 last year, with two-time USAC Silver Crown champion Kody Swanson behind the wheel.
“This was a pretty cool test for this year’s Little 500 with Hoffman Racing,” Stewart added via Twitter. “They have a fast car as always. (I’m) ready to race at Anderson Speedway.”
Thursday’s test marked Stewart’s first run in an asphalt sprint car in more than two decades.
He won the USAC National Sprint Car championship in 1995, winning three races on the pavement among his seven wins overall.
That year also marked Stewart’s remarkable Triple Crown run, when he won all three of USAC’s national series titles in the same season.
The 69th annual Pay Less Little 500 kicks off with five hours on open practice on Wednesday, May 24, with race day set for Saturday, May 27.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email Race Chaser Online: email@example.com
Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews