Tony Stewart hints at return to NASCAR on Xfinity Series road courses
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – Stewart-Haas Racing announced Aric Almirola as its new Cup driver Wednesday morning, but the team’s namesake had an announcement of his own.
Tony Stewart, who retired from NASCAR’s premier series after the 2016 season, said he has explored the possibility of running road courses in the Xfinity Series during the news conference to introduce Almirola in the No. 10 Ford.
Almirola was asked if he would drive an SHR-affiliated car in the Xfinity Series in 2018. “I hope so,” he said, turning to Stewart. “Can I drive an Xfinity car?”
“We’ll work on that,” Stewart said. “I might want to drive it at some point. You guys act like you don’t need something that’s shocking a little bit. There’s actually some road-course races that I might be interested in running. We actually discussed it in house here.
“We don’t have anything near worth announcing by any means, but there are some really cool races, especially Charlotte having a road course race next year, there might be some opportunities that might be a little fun for me to come out, dust things off a little bit.”
After the news conference, Stewart, 46, told reporters it wasn’t likely that he would race Xfinity next season, but he also said he would be fine if reporters wrote he had expressed an interest in running Xfinity races.
There are four road courses on the 2018 Xfinity Series schedule: Watkins Glen International (Aug. 4), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Aug. 11), Road America (Aug. 25) and Charlotte Motor Speedway (Sept. 29), which will be using its infield road course for NASCAR races next year for the first time.
The three-time series champion also hinted to reporters that he had was working on something “way bigger than NASCAR” for next season.
Stewart has remained active in racing this year after leaving NASCAR, returning to running sprint cars virtually full time. He also has said he wants to run the 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly Global Rallycross in the future.
Stewart has 11 wins in 94 Xfinity starts from 1993-2013. His last start was a victory in 2013 season opener at Daytona International Speedway.