Three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has not raced in the Sooner State in nearly six years. The drought will end at Saturday night’s All-Star Circuit of Champions at Outlaw Motor Speedway in Muskogee. Race time is set for 8 p.m.
Stewart still has a lot left in the tank. Returning to his roots of dirt track racing is what keeps him going.
"To go back to dirt track car racing, where my true passion was, I had to stop NASCAR racing,” Stewart said. “I have always liked dirt track racing. I always joke around with my four cup drivers on the NASCAR side, ‘You guys sit around for two days to race. On the third day, by the time you guys race on Sunday, I have already ran two races, if not three already.'"
Stewart has paid close attention to the new breed of drivers hailing from the Sooner State. He likes where the future is headed in Oklahoma.
“To see guys like Christopher Bell and (Daison) Pursley and (Cannon) McIntosh -- all these up and coming guys I get a crack at – (I’m) seeing these guys before a lot of the NASCAR guys. There is (sic) a couple of guys in Oklahoma, obviously, that have followed Christopher’s footsteps. We read the racing papers each week and keep an eye out on the a-main."
Outlaw Motor Speedway hopes Stewart’s name on the card Saturday helps the track financially with prior races postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Hopefully, we can get crowds there to watch and they can make a little money,” Stewart said. “That’s going to help save their race tracks and get enough people there and watch. If it’s a good crowd, that might be the difference maker between a couple of these tracks in Oklahoma shutting down for good and saving them and get them through the year with the (COVID-19) pandemic."