Tony Stewart might be from Indiana but he is right at home at Richmond International Raceway. In his rookie season, Stewart dominated the fall race by leading 333 of 400 laps to earn his first NASCAR Cup series win. Since then, Stewart has made...
Tony Stewart might be from Indiana but he is right at home at Richmond International Raceway. In his rookie season, Stewart dominated the fall race by leading 333 of 400 laps to earn his first NASCAR Cup series win.
Since then, Stewart has made his mark at the Virginia short track by scoring two additional Cup victories and two Craftsman Truck series wins. "I like night racing anyway. I always have," commented Stewart about Saturday's night race. "The good thing about night races is that I get to sleep in through the morning.
"But the challenge is the same for everybody as far as how the surface temperature of the race track will cool off," continued Stewart. "That's the good thing about it. It gives us a challenge that we don't normally have on a day when the sun is out and the track normally won't change a lot. So it just adds another variable that makes it more exciting for the fans."
Stewart has yet to find victory lane this year in his Cup car but he has been knocking on the door. So far, the No. 20 Home Depot Chevy driver has earned four top-10's including two top three finishes.
Coming into one of his best tracks, Stewart hopes to finally break through with a win this weekend. "You want to make sure that your car is adjustable," said Stewart on what he feels is the key to succeed at Richmond. "We start the race at the end of the day where it's usually pretty hot, but as night comes the track cools down and it changes quite a bit. Old pavement, new pavement, the same theory applies, and that's not something you see at most of the races we go to.
"It's pretty much isolated to just the night races. When we tested there a couple of years ago, we actually tried to make the car drive badly so that we could figure out ways to make it drive well again. You've got to have adjustability, because you know for a fact that the track isn't going to stay the same all night long."
Despite being winless this season in his Joe Gibbs Racing Cup car, Stewart won the season opening Busch series race at Daytona. He is set to make his seventh start driving for Kevin Harvick this weekend in the Busch car.
"I still think it is easier to get used to the Cup car just because of the horsepower differences. The Busch cars' straightway speeds are a little slower, so you drive it a lot deeper into the corners than you do with the Cup cars," Stewart explained. "I still believe it was easier for me to make the transition from Sprint cars and Midgets to the Cup series versus going from Sprint cars and Midgets to the Busch series.
"Having the Cup series experience on my side now, it does make it easier to go to the Busch series because I know what to expect when I'm there. It was kind of a backward leap for me, because I feel I'm better in a Busch series car now than when I ran the series fairly regularly."
Stewart will have to do some adjusting on the Mr. Clean Chevy. He was only 31st practice for the Busch series at RIR Friday morning.