Chevrolet to Power Tony Stewart Racing in 2007 and Beyond
SPEEDWAY, Ind. - Two-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and officials from GM Racing and Chevrolet announced today that Chevrolet will power and sponsor Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) entries in the United States Auto Club (USAC) and the World of Outlaws Sprint Series for three years beginning in 2007.
In a press conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Stewart and Mark Kent, director of GM Racing, unveiled the partnership along with TSR's driver lineup.
Levi Jones will drive for TSR in the USAC National Midget and Sprint car divisions alongside teammate Tracy Hines, who will also compete in both divisions. Jones will pilot the No. 20 entry and Hines will drive the No. 21 machine. The two drivers will also compete in USAC Silver Crown events whenever the series races on dirt.
Paul McMahan returns for a second season behind the wheel of the No. 20 Winged Sprint car, as TSR rejoins the World of Outlaws full-time after spending the 2006 season competing with the National Sprint Tour and part-time with the World of Outlaws.
Chevrolet will serve as the primary sponsor and engine supplier for all of TSR's USAC teams, with Bass Pro Shops carrying on as an associate sponsor. For the No. 20 Winged Sprint car in the World of Outlaws, Chevrolet will also provide engines while serving as an associate sponsor. Bass Pro Shops will maintain its role as the team's primary sponsor.
"Our goal when we formed Tony Stewart Racing was to create a grassroots motorsports program that would compete for wins and championships while promoting qualified drivers to the next level," said Stewart, who earned his NASCAR success by way of USAC as he captured four USAC national championships, including the elusive Triple Crown in 1995 when he earned titles in each of USAC's top divisions - Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown. "We've been successful, but in order to remain successful we needed a partner committed to us and committed to motorsports. We found the perfect partner in Chevrolet."
Chevrolet's racing history is long and prosperous. The brand most recently wrapped up its 26th NASCAR manufacturer's championship in 2006 thanks to its Nextel Cup teams earning 23 collective victories - five of which came via Stewart and the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Team - to set a new modern era record (1972 to present) for manufacturer wins in a single season. Chevrolet can also lay claim to 596 Nextel Cup wins all-time (1949 to present), 23 Nextel Cup driver championships, six consecutive manufacturer titles in the GT1 class of the American Le Mans Series (2001-2006), seven Indianapolis 500 wins and five straight driver titles in CART (1988-1992).
Chevrolet's sponsorship of TSR marks its first official foray into USAC and the World of Outlaws.
"Our sponsorship of Tony Stewart Racing ensures Chevrolet's future success in motorsports," said Kent. "So much talent has come out of USAC and the World of Outlaws. It makes sense for Chevrolet to be in each series, not only to groom the talent that will one day compete here at Indy and at Daytona, but for us as a company to reach a very dedicated and passionate fan base. In addition, we want to establish Chevrolet as the engine of choice for open-wheel racers around the country.
"Tony Stewart has been a big part of General Motors for years. His IRL IndyCar Series championship in 1997 was with Oldsmobile. His first Nextel Cup championship in 2002 was with Pontiac. And his second Nextel Cup championship in 2005 was with Chevrolet. While his talent behind the wheel was obvious, we also noticed that he was equally talented as a team owner. He's put together a very strong organization and we're proud to be a part of it."
Since its formation in November 2000, TSR has earned seven owner championships. Danny Lasoski earned TSR's first championship in its inaugural season competing in the World of Outlaws, taking the 2001 title. J.J. Yeley, Stewart's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, earned a USAC Sprint car championship for TSR in 2003. And in a co-owner role with Bob East, TSR won four straight USAC Silver Crown championships from 2002 to 2005 with a handful of drivers that included Yeley, Kasey Kahne and Dave Steele. This year, TSR earned the USAC Sprint car title with driver Josh Wise.
Additionally, TSR has three Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals championships in the World of Outlaws, as Lasoski captured wins in the famed Winged Sprint car event in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
Chevrolet's support of grassroots racing extends beyond TSR, as Chevrolet continues its role as the "Official Pace Truck of Eldora Speedway." The brand will also be the title sponsor of a major, to be determined auto racing event at Eldora. Eldora Speedway is a renowned half-mile dirt oval in Rossburg, Ohio, owned by Stewart.
And whenever Stewart takes part in some extra-curricular racing away from his primary duties in NASCAR, he'll do it as a Chevrolet-sponsored driver in Chevrolet-powered race cars.
"No matter where I'm racing, I want to win," said Stewart. "The support Chevrolet has given us will allow Levi, Tracy and Paul the opportunity to compete for wins week in and week out. And when I'm able to steal some time away and run a Midget or a Winged Sprint car, I know I have the resources to not just compete, but to win.
"Grassroots racing has always been like a reset button for me. It's pure, and it reminds you why you got started in this business in the first place. With Chevrolet on board, we plan to deliver them the same kind of feeling."
-credit: tsr/gm racing