Any time Tony Stewart heads to his home track, it’s a major storyline. He has twice conquered Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Columbus, Ind., native relishes each visit to one of the most historic race tracks on earth. But this time, it’s not only him. It’s his entire time.
Fellow Indiana native Ryan Newman will pull double duty this weekend, and share the headlines with his boss. And Danica Patrick will make a bit of history to cap it all off.
But first, Stewart. After six failed attempts, Stewart finally won his Holy Grail race in 2005 and followed up with another Brickyard win in 2007. Since then, he’s finished outside the top 10 only once. The timing couldn’t be better for Stewart, who has finished 20th or worse in three of the last four races and has dropped from 10th to 13th in the points standings.
Newman will race at Eldora Speedway on Wednesday night, the first NASCAR national series dirt race in more than 40 years. From there, the South Bend, Ind., native will head to his home track – a spot where he has enjoyed varying levels of success. His best finish was fourth in 2002, but since then has collected only one top-10 finish (seventh last year).
On Sunday, Patrick will become the first female driver to compete in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. She raced at Indy in the NASCAR Nationwide Series last season, finishing 35th.