Switch from Pontiac to Monte Carlo not slowing NASCAR champion. LAS VEGAS -- Tony Stewart's race team made a bold move switching from Pontiacs to Monte Carlos following its championship season in 2002. So far, the switch is working out just ...
Switch from Pontiac to Monte Carlo not slowing NASCAR champion. LAS VEGAS -- Tony Stewart's race team made a bold move switching from Pontiacs to Monte Carlos following its championship season in 2002. So far, the switch is working out just fine.
Stewart completed the second day of a two-day test Wednesday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and says he's ready to embark on defending his title.
"If we were going to make a switch this was the year to do it," Stewart said. "The Pontiac was making a body-style switch this year anyway, and the two cars are not that different. We still need to wait until there are more cars here, but we've come back with the same setups as last year and it's working out alright."
Stewart was one of 26 NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series teams testing at LVMS in preparation for the March 2 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 and March 1 Sam's Town 300.
"We're still working just as hard as we did last year," Stewart said. "That's why we're here. At the same time, that also lets us concentrate on having a good time this year. I've said it 100 times and I'll say it 101, we don't feel a lot of pressure. After last year, we've proven that we could pretty much go through the worst circumstances and still win a championship. We don't have to prove that to anybody anymore."
Stewart also turned the week's fastest lap on Wednesday by circling the 1.5-mile superspeedway in 32 seconds (168.750 mph). Teammate Bobby Labonte (32.51, 166.103 mph) and rookie Casey Mears (32.60, 165.644 mph) were next on the speed chart. Kevin Harvick turned the fastest lap by a Busch car running a lap in 32.75 seconds (164.885 mph).
Eddy McKean, a NASCAR Winston West regular, brought out the day's only caution flag when he spun and made hard contact with the wall in turn 4. McKean was uninjured, but his car, which was the only one he had for the test, was destroyed.