Thursday, December 6, 2012

Smoke says "no go" to Double, "maybe" to truck at Eldora


Smoke in Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway, Nov. 2011
Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs

In Back Seat Driver Wednesday, I posed the question "WWTSD?" I borrowed the catchphrase from the Mobil 1 ad in which Tony Stewart coaches F1 driver Lewis Hamilton on how to handle any situation by asking "What would Tony Stewart do?" The reference stemmed Roger Penske's NASCAR Sprint Cup championship award acceptance speech in which he offered to field a car in the Indy 500 for Tony Stewart so Smoke could do "the Double."

NASCAR Nation buzzed for several days about the possibility of Stewart running both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. Smoke stayed mum about the offer until Wednesday evening at the International Motorsports Industry Show in Indianapolis. His Stewart-Haas Twitter account issued the pronouncement, then reporters picked up on it.

The Associated Press reported Stewart saying, "As much as I would like to do it, we just don't have the time to do it proper." He didn't rule it out for the future, however. "I'm not going to do it this year, but there's nothing saying that down the road that I may not take him up on that same offer."

He went on to say that the IndyCar series is so competitive now that, "You’re not going to stroll into the Indy 500 with these guys who race every week and be as competitive as they are." And when Stewart races, he races to win.

When you think about it, as exciting as it would be for fans in the short term, overall it's a lot to ask of any driver, much less one as busy as Smoke will be in 2013.

"It's a great opportunity, but it's very hard when you're running three Cup teams right now and the obligations that we have making sure that we're doing the right things. We have a lot of people that depend on us," Stewart said. "It's kind of like being at Thanksgiving dinner. My plate is finally full. I don't know if I can add anymore to what I have right now."

Add to that the first Camping World Truck race at his track, the legendary dirt track at Eldora in July. As track owner, he's likely to be involved with setting the format for the race since everything from qualifying to pit stops has to be decidedd.

Having driven in the test, Smoke is also entertaining the idea of running a truck. He's wheeled a racetruck on six occasions since 1996, finishing 10th in his first outing, then earned three wins, a second and a third place finish. His only finish out of the top ten came when the drive train broke at Charlotte in 2005, putting him in 33rd. The man has dirt skills and truck skills, so why wouldn't he want to drive at his own track? If you haven't see the video of Stewart and Austin Dillon testing, give it a look here.
 
Finally, while he's not likely to be able to work it into his schedule this year, Smoke wants to drive a V8 Supercar. When the Chevy SS was unveiled in Vegas, he told Speedcafe.com, "Paul Morris keeps inviting me out to have a go in one. I don’t know if Austin would work but I would love to have a chance to drive one. I’d love the opportunity to get behind the wheel of one.”


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