Tony Stewart replaces Gil de Ferran in Daytona opener

Daytona Beach, FL - NASCAR Winston Cup driver, Tony Stewart will replace 2000 CART FedEx Series Champion Gil de Ferran in the first round of the 2001 True Value International Race of Champions at Daytona International Speedway. De Ferran had...

Daytona Beach, FL - NASCAR Winston Cup driver, Tony Stewart will replace 2000 CART FedEx Series Champion Gil de Ferran in the first round of the 2001 True Value International Race of Champions at Daytona International Speedway. De Ferran had two incidents in recent Champ car test sessions resulting in injuries to his shoulder and ribcage.

The 2001 CART testing schedule requires teams to do all testing out of season, concluding March 8th, which complicates Gil's injury situation. "Gil has no stock car experience and has never driven at Daytona. The extent of Gil's injuries, further complicated by a rigorous testing schedule would not give him adequate time, if any, in our cars before the race. Right now it is our intention to give Gil the time he needs to heal in order not to jeopardize preparation for his Championship defending season," said IROC President Jay Signore.

Tony Stewart, a two-time veteran of the True Value IROC Series, finished sixth in the final 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup points standings. "I am very excited about the opportunity to return to the series this year, I'm just sorry its under these circumstances. My wishes are for Gil to get better soon; I'll be doing my best for him in the race next Friday."

Regarding de Ferran's replacement Signore said, "Tony is next in line according to the points standings and already in place at Daytona for the 500. We're grateful for his enthusiasm and proud to have him back in the series."

The 25th anniversary season of the True Value IROC series begins on February 16 with race one at Daytona International Speedway. The race will be broadcast on ESPN Sunday, February 18 at 5:00 p.m. EST.

-IROC

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Series IROC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Gil de Ferran