Tony Stewart Set To Make Third Rolex Sports Car Series Appearance of 2004 in Sahlen's 200 at The Glen DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 10, 2004) -- With a pair of third place finishes in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype ...
Tony Stewart Set To Make Third Rolex Sports Car Series Appearance of 2004 in Sahlen's 200 at The Glen
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 10, 2004) -- With a pair of third place finishes in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype class already under his belt, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup star Tony Stewart will be going for his first career sports car victory in his third Rolex Series appearance of the year on Friday in the Sahlen's 200 at The Glen (SPEED Channel, 10 p.m. ET).
Stewart will once again drive alongside English sports car star Andy Wallace--who currently ranks third in the Daytona Prototype driver standings--in the No. 20 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford that he and Wallace debuted in the Paul Revere 250 presented by Brumos Porsche at Daytona International Speedway last month. This will be Stewart's first sports car appearance at a venue other than Daytona.
"It's going to take a little longer to get used to Watkins Glen, I believe," Stewart said. "When I first started driving sports cars a couple of years ago, it was at Daytona with the Crawfords (Max and Jan) in an open-cockpit car. All of the track time I've had in (closed-cockpit) Daytona Prototype cars is at Daytona in a Crawford car. So, the learning curve may take a little longer at Watkins Glen."
Stewart led both of his previous two Rolex Sports Car Series appearances this year, the Rolex 24 At Daytona in February and the Paul Revere 250, and was in position to win both races. In the Rolex 24, Stewart--who was teamed with Wallace and fellow NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Chevrolet Crawford--was leading the race inside of the last 20 minutes when the rear suspension failed, sending the car into the outside wall at the end of the Daytona Superstretch and out of the race. The threesome still managed a class podium result despite the misfortune, taking third place in the Daytona Prototype category.
After qualifying sixth for the Paul Revere 250, Stewart and the Howard-Boss team played their strategy to near perfection. Stewart drove the car to the halfway point in the race before making his first pit stop and handing the seat over to Wallace, while the rest of the Daytona Prototype field stopped earlier and was on a two-stop strategy. That enabled Wallace to reclaim the lead when the leaders pitted. However, a full-course caution flag on Lap 56 allowed the front-runners to make their final stops without losing track position and Wallace was passed for the lead (and the win) by Max Angelelli in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley on the ensuing restart.
In fact, Wallace dropped back as far as sixth place in the waning laps, before mounting a final charge on the last lap to reclaim third place for his and Stewart's second podium of the year at Daytona. Despite not having driven a Daytona Prototype in more than a month, Stewart is confident in the assistance he will receive from Wallace and car builder Max Crawford as he goes for his first sports car race victory this weekend.
"As I've said before, with Max and Andy Wallace, they're really good at making me feel comfortable in the car very quickly," Stewart explained. "The cars are very driver-friendly cars. The Crawford car is very good at telling the driver what it likes and what it dislikes. It's just a matter of me getting caught up to speed. I'm really looking forward to the Watkins Glen event."
The Sahlen's 200 at The Glen is Round 8 of the 12-race 2004 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, and is the second of two appearances for the series at Watkins Glen International this year. In June, No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-pilots Scott Pruett and Max Papis won the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen on the 3.4-mile long course. This weekend, the Rolex Series will run the same, 2.45-mile circuit that will be used by the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in Sunday's Sirius at The Glen.
The Sahlen's 200 will be broadcast on a same-day tape delay on SPEED Channel beginning at 10 p.m. ET on Friday, August 13. Tickets for the Sahlen's 200 at The Glen are available by calling (607) 535-2481 or by visiting www.theglen.com.
The Grand American Road Racing Association, which sanctions the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Grand-Am Cup Series, is one of the fastest growing motorsports organizations in the United States. Established in 1999, Grand American's stated goal is to bring stability to professional sports car road racing in North America. The 12-race 2004 Rolex Series schedule and the 10-race Grand-Am Cup Series calendars deliver professional sports car racing to many key markets throughout North America in addition to being televised in the United States and Canada on SPEED Channel and distributed globally through ESPN International. With title sponsorship support from Rolex Watch USA, the Rolex Sports Car Series showcases emerging and legendary drivers from around the globe and thoroughbred racing machines from the industry's leading constructors and the world's top automobile manufacturers. Learn more about Grand American at www.grandamerican.com.