STEWART COULD ADD MORE FIRSTS TO MAGICAL SEASON AT BRICKYARD INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, June 8, 2009 -- Tony Stewart's sensational season of firsts could continue July 24-26 at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, and a victory at IMS could help him ...
STEWART COULD ADD MORE FIRSTS TO MAGICAL SEASON AT BRICKYARD
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, June 8, 2009 -- Tony Stewart's sensational season of firsts could continue July 24-26 at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, and a victory at IMS could help him achieve the most significant first -- a season championship as an owner-driver -- in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in nearly 20 years. Indiana native and resident Stewart earned his first victory in a points race as the owner-driver of Stewart-Haas Racing by winning the Pocono 500 on Sunday, June 7 at Pocono Raceway. It was the first victory for an owner-driver in NASCAR's top series since Ricky Rudd in September 1998 at Martinsville, Va.
The special win increased Stewart's lead atop the Sprint Cup Series standings, as he is 71 points ahead of four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon. "It's just about enjoying the moment," Stewart said. "Obviously, special races like the Brickyard and Daytona 500 and Indy 500s, obviously are marquee events that mean more, but a win is a win, man." And a win Sunday, July 26 in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard could help two-time Brickyard champion Stewart march closer toward becoming the first owner-driver to capture a Sprint Cup championship since the late Alan Kulwicki in 1992.
Taking the checkered flag at Indy in the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet also could help Stewart become only the second driver, behind Rudd in 1997, to win the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard as an owner-driver. It also would be the first time a stock car carrying No. 14 has won a major event at Indianapolis, as Stewart on June 7 became the first driver since Bobby Allison in December 1968 to win with No. 14 in NASCAR's top flight.
Stewart's racing hero, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, drove car No. 14 into Victory Lane twice, in 1967 and 1977. Foyt's driver Kenny Brack was the last driver to win in a major event at IMS with No. 14, in the 1999 Indianapolis 500.
"You know, my attachment to the number is obviously through A.J. Foyt and my relationship with him," Stewart said. "But I can't say that I've researched the history of the number in this series that far.
"But, you know, this is something that hopefully I'll retire with this number. It means a lot to me, and to look up in the stands every week and to drive in the facilities and see the 14 flags flying and see people wearing 14 hats and 14 shirts, that's something that means a lot to us. That's our identity. So you know, it's something we are proud of, and you know, good thing is we are adding to the history books every week now."
2009 IMS tickets: Established in 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has long prevailed as an icon of motorsports excellence. Beginning in 2009, the Speedway celebrates its Centennial Era, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the facility in 2009 and the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 2011.
Tickets for the two remaining events in 2009 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and Red Bull Indianapolis GP -- can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com at any time. Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information. ...AS4002009-005...