IndyCar drivers like idea of NASCAR’s Tony Stewart in Indy 500
If NASCAR’s Tony Stewart accepts Roger Penske’s offer to drive in next year’s Indianapolis 500, that would be fine by some IndyCar drivers.
“That would be awesome. I hope he does it,” Will Power, one of Penske’s regular IndyCar series drivers, said Tuesday during a break in testing at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
Penske, whose cars have won a record 15 Indy 500s, made the offer at NASCAR’s season-ending banquet last week.
Brad Keselowski, who drives for Penske’s NASCAR team, won the Sprint Cup Series title. Stewart has won NASCAR’s championship three times.
Stewart, who so far hasn’t responded publicly to Penske’s offer, would have to double up to drive in the Indy 500. The race is scheduled May 26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and, later that day, NASCAR holds the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C.
But the Indy 500 carries special meaning for Stewart, 41. He’s a native of Columbus, Ind., came up through the ranks of open-wheel racing and, before turning to NASCAR, drove in the Indy 500 five times, the last time in 2001. He has never won the legendary race.
Stewart already has done the Memorial Day weekend “double” twice before, in 1999 and 2001.
“I would love to see Tony Stewart come back,” driver Ed Carpenter, who won IndyCar’s season finale in Fontana on Sept. 15, said during Tuesday’s test session. “It would be really cool.”
IndyCar driver Marco Andretti said he had not heard about Penske’s offer but said they welcome Stewart.
“He can come try,” Andretti said. “All I can say is it’s different now than when he was doing it before.”
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