|Stewart: No plans to repeat Indy-Charlotte double|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 29 May 2011 10:55|
Don't expect it to happen again.
``In my heart? Absolutely, I would love to do it,'' Stewart said. ``The problem with it is that IndyCars have become so competitive now.''
Stewart, who turned 40 earlier this month, competed in both races the same day in 1999 and 2001. He became the only driver to post two top-10 finishes despite thinking that he might be hallucinating during the last 100 miles at Charlotte 10 years ago.
``Obviously, I'm not Mr. Olympia and I'm not the healthiest guy in the world compared to a lot of other drivers on the circuit,'' Stewart said. ``By the time the 600 was done, I'd had enough. I was hungry 50 laps into the race.
``It was still early and there wasn't a Burger King drive-thru in sight.''
But that's not the main reason the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and owner thinks racing the Indianapolis 500 again is unlikely.
``There are so many things that have changed since I ran Indy cars so many years ago,'' he said. ``I'm not sure I would be up to speed and be able to get competitive enough quickly enough.
``I have all the confidence in the world the cars I would drive would be competitive. But to really do it and do it right and to feel like you have a legitimate shot to win the Indy 500, you would have to start at the beginning of the year with the team you're going to race with during the month of May.''
Stewart was still able to race in different circuits over the weekend. A night before the Coca-Cola 600, Stewart finished 10th in a sprint car race on the dirt track next to Charlotte Motor Speedway.
INDY 500 REACTION: Watching the Indianapolis 500 is popular among drivers awaiting the evening Coca-Cola 600. And it didn't take them long to chime in on Twitter following Sunday's stunning finish.
``Are you kidding me!!!!!!!! That poor kid in the 4 car,'' Jimmie Johnson wrote.
That would be rookie J.R. Hildebrand, the 23-year-old Californian who seemingly had the race won until he slammed the wall on the final turn, allowing Dan Wheldon to claim victory.
``Oh wow! Never seen a last corner at Indy like that! Unbelievable!'' wrote Jeff Gordon. ``Never over til its over. Right?''
Added Juan Pablo Montoya, who won the 2000 Indy 500: ``What a heartbreak that 500 finish.''
Brad Keselowski, who won the pole for the 600, turned his attention to Charlie Kimball, the lapped driver Hildebrand was trying to avoid.
``Who was the lapper? Getouttatheway,'' Keselowski wrote.
Kevin Harvick then summed up the feelings at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
``Man that's a tough way to lose the Indy 500,'' he wrote.
ROUSH ON A ROLL: Confidence is soaring at Roush Fenway Racing.
The team, which struggled for much of 2010, had six consecutive Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series victories heading into Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600.
``The cars drive better and the engines run better,'' said Carl Edwards, who won last week's All-Star race. ``The pit stops are better and we're working very well as a team between the cars.''
That wasn't the case last year for owner Jack Roush or car manufacturer Ford. Roush said problems with simulations in the offseason before 2010 led to setup issues with the cars. The team realized the problem by Bristol early in the season, but it took a while to correct.
``It's been all downhill since then,'' Roush said.
Matt Kenseth, who won Saturday's Nationwide Series race, said the success feeds on itself, leading to higher morale throughout the team.
``When they're putting their cars together over at the airport they're thinking, 'Man, one of these cars might win the race if we get all the stuff right,''' Kenseth said. ``I think everybody is feeling more like a contender, which is contagious and I think good for the whole teams.''
KEEPING IT SLOW: Jimmie Johnson has a plan to stay out of the kind of speeding trouble that fellow driver Kyle Busch encountered last week: Drive slow cars.
``I've always joked with my friends that I have a collection of old cars that I cruise around in because I've always felt if I have an exotic sports car I would be doing stupid things,'' Johnson said.
A police officer in North Carolina clocked Busch driving 128 mph in a 45 mph zone Tuesday in a high-performance, borrowed Lexus sports car. Busch, who is due in court in July, avoided a suspension from Sunday's race.
Johnson said he drove a '59 Chevrolet pickup truck to the track earlier this week.
``It's tempting, especially when you have the skill sets that we do as drivers and you get a high performance car and you want to see how it stacks up,'' Johnson said. ``I'm not trying to justify what he did, but we can all look ourselves in the mirror and know that we've wondered what it felt like to stand on the gas pedal.''
LONG DAY, NIGHT: Is the Coca-Cola 600 too long? Jeff Gordon doesn't think so.
``This is the ultimate test of car, team, driver, engines, every part of the car,'' he said.
NASCAR has taken steps to shorten some races from 500 to 400 miles. But the circuit's longest race, which lasts 400 laps and can often take 5 hours, has remained untouched.
``The sport is not all about just running a 250-mile race,'' Gordon said. ``It's about making your car last and making the cars last so people can develop parts and things to put on street cars, to put on shelves for aftermarket racing programs that sell parts.
``It's more than just having a fast car and lining them up and running a short race. It's really about the attrition of the whole night and surviving that.''
GROWING A BEARD: Now men have two reasons to skip shaving: Kevin Harvick is doing it and it's good for the environment.
Harvick is participating in a Budweiser-sponsored event called ``Grow One. Save a Million.'' The goal is for men not to shave leading up to World Environment Day on June 5 in hopes of saving one million gallons of water.
According to a company spokesman, the average shave uses 3-10 gallons of water.
Harvick last shaved Friday and has vowed not to use a razor again until June 6. Members of his crew are also participating. Fans can go to Budweiser's Facebook page to register their own pledge.
LUG NUTS: Master Sgt. William ``Spanky'' Gibson, the first U.S. service member to return to the front line after losing a leg, was to give the race command Sunday. He returned to Iraq with a prosthetic leg in 2008 after being injured in sniper fire two years earlier. ``It's an amazing day for all Marines, all service members,'' he said. ... NHRA Top Fuel points leader Del Worsham was at the track to do a burnout on the frontstretch in his racing machine before the race. ... Health and wellness company AdvoCare announced a multiyear deal to be the title sponsor for the Sept. 4 Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.