CHARLOTTE, N.C., (April 18, 2000) - Tony Stewart, driver of the ...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (April 18, 2000) - Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Pontiac in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, does indeed have a weekend off from his full-time job. But being a racer at heart doesn't mean that Stewart has an off-weekend from racing.
The 28-year-old will be at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend serving as crew chief for his Indy Racing League (IRL) driver, Dr. Jack Miller, in the April 22 Vegas Indy 300. As co-owner of Tri-Star Motorsports, Stewart will be wearing the hats of owner, crew chief and engineer, instead of his customary Simpson helmet.
What will you being doing at the IRL race in Las Vegas?
"I'll be doing the same thing that I was doing back at the IRL season-opener in Orlando (Fla.). Owner, crew chief, engineer - you name it. I'm in the same role basically, just a different driver.* I'll probably have the busiest off-weekend of anybody. I though it might be a little more relaxing than this, but Larry Curry (co-owner) threw a surprise curve ball at me with a driver addition. It'll be nice to be out there with the IRL guys and see my buddies who I've raced with. But I'm not sure I really want to be in the crew chief role again. It was a pretty tough task at Orlando."
*Stewart worked with driver Robby Unser at Orlando. Joining Miller in Las Vegas will be full-time driver Jeret Schroeder, as the Tri-Star Motorsports outfit readies its two-car effort for the May 28 Indianapolis 500.
By doing this, do you have a greater appreciation for what Greg Zipadelli does as your crew chief? "Absolutely. When I went to Orlando, I saw things the way he sees things. It makes me respect him even more than I already did. It makes me think about things from a different perspective, and I think that'll help The Home Depot team this year."
Stewart isn't the only member of The Home Depot racing team taking in a race this weekend… SCOTT DIEHL, car chief on the #20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix, will be returning to his roots when he checks out the American Speed Association (ASA) race at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Sat., April 22.*
When did you get started in the ASA series?
"I originally started out in racing working with Tim Fedewa at D-R Racing. I worked there a few years, from '90-'92. Then I worked a year with Throop Motorsports with Bob Senneker and Glenn Allen, Jr. as the drivers."
How did you get from ASA to Winston Cup?
"Well, I made a little stop in the Busch Grand National Series before I got with The Home Depot team. Due to the relationship I had formed with D-R Racing and Time Fedewa in ASA, when I decided it was time for me to advance my career, I called 'em up and said I needed my job back. They said move on down. We won at Nazareth (Pa.) in '95."
What brings you back to the ASA race?
"Well, it's close and it'll give me the opportunity to see some friends who I don't get to see very often. I don't know if I'll end up being called on to help out or if I'll end up being just a spectator. Guess, I'll find out when I get there."
Why go to another race track on your off-weekend?
"My life consists of my family and racing. I don't golf. I don't bowl. I don't hunt. I don't fish. I race and I sleep. If there's an off-weekend and there's a race, I'm going." *TNN will be providing live coverage of the race at 1 p.m. EDT.