Outlaws opener lures Cup champ to fairgrounds
By Scott Linesburgh
Record Staff Writer
February 27, 2013 12:00 AM
STOCKTON - Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart is coming to Stockton to compete on the city's newest track.
Stewart will be competing in the World of Outlaws' STP Sprint Cars race on March 22 at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds. It is the inaugural race at the newly developed dirt track located at the fair's horse racing facility, and Stewart brings quite a bit of star power to a national event.
"This is a high-quality race, and Tony Stewart is a great race-car driver," promoter Tony Noceti said. "To bring a Sprint Cup champion to Stockton is huge. One of the reasons we want to do things like this is to show that there are good things happening in Stockton."
Stewart will be fitting the race into a busy schedule. He will take part in qualifying for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana in the afternoon, travel to Stockton for the race that night, then return to Southern California for the Sprint Cup race on March 24. He will drive the No. 14 car, the same number he uses on the Sprint Cup circuit.
"Undoubtedly, it'll be a busy Friday in California," the 41-year-old driver said. "We'll be qualifying our Cup car before heading up to Stockton to mix it up with the Outlaws. This will be my first time racing my winged sprint car in the state of California.
"I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing a packed house of passionate Northern California dirt fans at Stockton."
Stewart has 47 Sprint Cup victories and won the series title in 2002, 2005 and 2011. He is the co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, which fields cars driven by Danica Patrick and Ryan Newman. In addition to his stock car success, Stewart has remained involved in dirt racing, where he started his career and owns open-wheel teams.
Last season, he competed in 14 Outlaw races, winning twice.
Stewart brings more than just his racing abilities to the race, according to Nick Davis of Stockton, who plans to compete in the same race.
"Obviously, it ups the level of the competition. But it's also great for the community," said Davis, 31. "Tony has given a tremendous amount back to dirt racing, and he gives our sport more attention. And to have a driver like him in Stockton will be tremendous for the fans."
Racing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Ticket information is available at worldofoutlaws.com
Contact reporter Scott Linesburgh at (209) 546-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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I'm gonna try and attend. Anyone else want to go & possibly meet up?