Tony Stewart Fontana Preview

CALIFORNIA 500 PRESENTED BY NAPA California Speedway - 2.0 Mile Speedway Race 10 of 34 - NASCAR Winston Cup Series April 30 - May 2, 1999 Race time: Sunday, May 2, 1999 1:00 p.m. EDT Live television coverage: ABC, Live radio coverage: MRN The...

CALIFORNIA 500 PRESENTED BY NAPA California Speedway - 2.0 Mile Speedway Race 10 of 34 - NASCAR Winston Cup Series April 30 - May 2, 1999 Race time: Sunday, May 2, 1999 1:00 p.m. EDT Live television coverage: ABC, Live radio coverage: MRN

The May 2 California 500 will be Tony Stewart's first NASCAR Winston Cup race at the California Speedway. However, in 1998 the current Rookie-of-the-Year point leader competed in the IROC race there. Although his laps around the beautiful two-mile speedway were not behind the wheel of his #20 Home Depot Pontiac, he feels it won't be at a huge disadvantage when his Joe Gibbs Racing team unloads for event ten of the 34 race 1999 schedule.

Stewart and the Home Depot team have the benefit of their Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Bobby Labonte and his crew chief Jimmy Makar to help develop the proper setup for the California race. In addition, crew chief Greg Zipadelli has valuable knowledge of the track gained last year as the chassis specialist for current point leader Jeff Burton. Coming off their best finish this season - fifth at Talladega - the Home Depot team is confident they will continue working toward their goals of qualifying first round, recording consistent finishes and winning the Rookie-of-the-Year title.

Tony Stewart, Driver (currently 7th in the points' standings) On racing at California: "I am looking forward to racing the Home Depot Pontiac at California Speedway. I ran the IROC race there last year and it was a blast. The track is wide, smooth and fast, just the way I like it. We haven't tested the Home Depot car at California, but Greg knows the track from being there last year. And, we've gotten some pretty good feedback from Bobby (Labonte) and Jimmy (Makar) on their setups from two previous races.

"With the communication Greg and I developed, I'm confident we'll have a good car right off the trailer. Our first goal is to get a qualifying setup that will secure the Home Depot car a solid starting spot during first round qualifying. This gives us additional practice sessions to work on our race setup. So far, we've been able to qualify first round and that's been a key factor in our performance."

On rookie season: "I've been asked if I'm surprised at how much success this team has had so far this season. To be honest, I'm not sure what to expect anymore. I knew we'd have great equipment and that Greg had put together a top-notch crew but I didn't know we were going to be able to get up to speed as quickly as we have. We're all really pleased with the results so far but our goal is still to be consistent and to win Rookie of the Year."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing