Stewart cancels plans for double duty III COLUMBUS, Ind., (April 2, 2002) - Citing his strong start to the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season and his shot at a $1 million bonus by competing in the May 26 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.),...
Stewart cancels plans for double duty III
COLUMBUS, Ind., (April 2, 2002) - Citing his strong start to the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season and his shot at a $1 million bonus by competing in the May 26 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.), Tony Stewart has decided not to race in this year's Indianapolis 500.
"Running Indy again is something I've put a lot of thought into, but when it came right down to it, the long term goal of winning the Winston Cup championship won out," said Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Pontiac for Joe Gibbs Racing. "I want to thank Home Depot and all of their associates for all of the support they've given me, as well as everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing. They all realize how important the Indy 500 is to me, and they would've backed me regardless of the decision I made. I especially want to thank Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske for offering me another competitive opportunity to race at Indy.
"This decision allows our Home Depot team to focus on not only the championship, but on the Coca-Cola 600 as well. We're in the No Bull 5, and that means a $1 million bonus if we win. By not running Indy, we'll start where we'll qualify and not at the back of the field. All in all, it just feels like the right thing to do."
Stewart had performed double duty by racing in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day in two previous years - 1999 and 2001. In 1999, his rookie year on the Winston Cup circuit, Stewart finished ninth in the Indianapolis 500 with Tri-Star Motorsports - his own race team, and fourth in the Coca-Cola 600, completing a total of 1,090 racing miles. Stewart bettered each of those finishes in 2001 when he finished sixth in the Indianapolis 500 with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and third in the Coca-Cola 600. He also finished on the lead lap in both races that year, completing all 1,100 racing miles.
Stewart's first double duty foray put him into the record books, as he logged the most racing miles in one day by a race car driver. Stewart broke his own record in 2001, when he completed the full race distance in both events.
Augmenting that record was the charitable contribution Stewart made to the Victory Junction Gang Camp following his second double duty. Stewart donated $100 to the Victory Junction Gang Camp for every lap he completed, and matching Stewart's pledge was The Home Depot, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing. The 600 total laps that Stewart completed equaled a combined donation of $240,000 to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.