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Tony Stewart hot laps dirt track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

IMS Dirt Track Tony

Tony Stewart climbs into a USAC midget car before running some laps on a 3/16-mile dirt track built in the infield at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo: IMS)

Of course Tony Stewart was going to play in the dirt Tuesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The track — to honor Stewart’s final start in the Brickyard 400 on July 24 — built a 3/16-mile dirt track in the infield near the speedway’s Turn 3.

“I was dead set that I was not going to get in anything … (but) I’m addicted,’’ Stewart told reporters shortly before running about 20 laps on the dirt track. “I’m going to have to run a couple of laps.

“I always want to drive something like this. I want something that I’m in control of. I want something that I have to drive the car and the car is not driving me.’’

Stewart grew up about an hour south of the speedway in Columbus, Indiana, and starred on dirt tracks before moving to Indy cars and then NASCAR.

He twice won the Brickyard 400. He raced in the Indianapolis 500 five times, finishing a career-best fifth in 1997. He last drove in that race in 2001, the second and final time he ran in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

For as much as Stewart enjoyed running on the track Tuesday, he looked forward to what might happen in the future.

“If we get to actually watch a race here at IMS on a dirt track, that is going to be pretty awesome,’’ said Stewart, who owns Eldora (Ohio) Speedway and the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions sprint car series. “They haven’t been able to do that for the first 100 years, but they can do it for the next 100.’’

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