No Indy 500 / Coke 600 For Stewart

3-Time Sprint Cup Champion
Tony Stewart
“The People’s Champion”

Tony Stewart Announces: No Double for 2013

Smoke fans were excited at the proposition that their favorite driver might run the infamous racing “Double” in 2013. What’s the Double? Well it’s only one of the most arduous days in racing, requiring a race car driver to participate in the Indianapolis 500 AND the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. Yep, two of the longest races of the season for both Indy and Nascar series racing.

Tony Stewart has run the Double before. He ran both races in 1999, his Nascar Rookie year. He finished 9th in the Indy 500 and 4th in the Coke 600. He completed 1,090 miles of the 1,100 miles of the combined races. Pretty fantastic finishes in both races.

In 2001, Smoke made the attempt at the Double again. This time running all of the 1,100 miles even with a brief 17 minute rain delay in Indy. In addition he proved his talent and ability as a race car driver by improving his previous effort finishes in both races. Crossing the finish line at Indy in 6th and 3rd at the Coke 600.

So when Roger Penske made the public offer for Tony to run the Double again next year, fans were excited! During the final Awards ceremony in Vegas for Nascar’s Championship Week, Standing at the microphone for his speech as owner of this years Nascar Championship team, Penske announces “Where’s Stewart? How about doing the double at Indy this year? You available?” And while the banquet hall erupted in laugher, Mr. Penske was serious. Explaining his offer was in earnest at a later after awards ceremony interview.

The racing world exploded with stories and opinions following the November 30th awards show. To name a few:

Indianapolis Motor Speedway even chimed in with 33 Reasons Why Tony Stewart Should “Do the Double and set up a pole for fans to vote on whither or not they wanted Stewart to run the Double. The vote was an overwhelming YES. So when Tony appeared in Indianapolis and announced he couldn’t run the Double this year, fans were obviously disappointed. And once again the racing media couldn’t help but share their opinions.

Of all the opinions and assumptions going round this week, the only perspective that made real sense came from Autoweek’s Mike Larson “Don’t hate Tony Stewart for opting out of the Indy 500“. Even Stewart-Haas Racing chimed in on that perspective, agreeing with Mike’s thoughts. He makes the case for why this guy felt he couldn’t just shirk his responsibilities as a NASCAR driver and go out to Indy for a fun day around the track.

As an avid Tony Stewart fan, I tried to think of the schedule even the average Nascar driver has. Even before the racing season ends, their calendar for next year is getting scheduled and filled up with personal appearances, sponsorship promos, product photo shoots and more. If you were responsible for scheduling an owner/driver/businessman’s calendar and that calendar is probably scheduled 14 to 15 months in advance. Penske’s offer while wonderful, may simply be too late in the year to set the plans in place to accomplish the goal.

So like many Smoke fans, I’m hoping the future for Tony doing the Double can be realized in 2014! We can hope anyway!

© Springwolfs Hanko
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