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Times have changed at Indy, and so has Tony Stewart

Jul 21, 2013, 1:38 PM EDT

Tony Stewart Getty Images

When NASCAR first announced that it was going to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – which had, up to that point, only been open for the Indy 500 – it didn’t sit well with everyone. One of those people upset with the idea of stock cars speeding around open-wheel racing’s cathedral was a young Tony Stewart.

But as the Brickyard 400 prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary running next weekend, Stewart – who has since gone from IndyCar young gun to three-time Sprint Cup Series champion – has noted a change in his views. He still has a deep respect for the ‘500,’ a race he ran five times. But now, he believes that Indy shouldn’t just hold one race, even if that race is pretty big.

“Now with Formula One [having] come in, Moto GP, the Grand-Am Series, Nationwide cars running here, I think the mind-set has changed that it’s too historic of a speedway to run one race a year on it,” Stewart told the Boston Globe. “To be able to bring so many great different series and divisions here, it’s pretty neat that a lot of people get the honor to race at Indy now.”

Three of those series will be in the spotlight next weekend, which has been dubbed the “Super Weekend” by IMS. This coming Friday, the GRAND-AM contingent will race on the IMS road course, with its top-tier Rolex Series staging the three-hour Brickyard Grand Prix. Then on Saturday, the Nationwide Series competes on the legendary Indy oval for 250 miles.

Finally, on Sunday, Stewart and the Sprint Cup Series will go for 400 miles. Stewart has thrilled his fellow Hoosiers with two past victories in the race (2005, 2007), and he’s very much looking to kiss the bricks for a third time.

“This is an event that I definitely circle on the schedule,” he said according to the Sporting News. “To us, it’s definitely not just another stop that’s on the calendar and on the schedule. You don’t just pull in and say, ‘We’re going to go in and try to win the race,’ then pull out of here.

“When you’re here, you’re amped up because you’re at Indianapolis.”

  1. midtec2005 - Jul 22, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    The weekend is super in name only. No one in Indy cares about this race. The fact is that these cars aren’t capable of putting on the kind of show that Indycars are on this track. Not to mention winning the Brickyard 400 was cheapened by the tire fiasco a few years ago, it means nothing now. Lets see if they can hit 100,000 fans this year… I’d be more interested in the sports car race.

  2. indy317 - Jul 22, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    who wants to see a bunch of taxi-cabs do 160 mph around Indy?

    • indycarseries500 - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:16 AM

      More like 185, it’s actually pretty exciting, 210+ on the straights and 165-170 in the turns. Wish the IndyCars had a 30-40 mph speed differential between the straights and corners.

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