Monday, January 21, 2013

Stewart considers Indy 500 offer "open-ended"

   At the NASCAR awards banquet in Las Vegas in November, team owner Roger Penske made what he said was a serious offer to field an entry for Tony Stewart in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 if he would like to give the "double" - running the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day - another try.
   Stewart passed on the offer and on Monday on the Sprint NASCAR Media Tour, talked more in-depth about the offer and where he thinks is stands now.
   “It's a huge opportunity, and a very flattering offer at the same time," Stewart said. "This group up here is why I'm not going to run the 500. There's a lot of commitment with what we're doing here, and like we mentioned, IndyCar racing has progressed and the competition has gotten tighter and tighter there. I really don't feel like ‑ I feel like that's the perfect team to go and do enough with the month of May with. 
   "But I still feel like for me as a driver, I would need to start the year with that team and run through the month of May to really feel like the first day of practice that I was competitive and where I needed to be. It's a very flattering offer. I went back to Roger and actually had dinner with him in Indianapolis after the IMIS trade show reception, and I told him he ‑ not necessarily backed me into a corner but he made me a generous offer and I made him a counteroffer that it's an open‑ended invitation. 
   "Even though we haven't accepted this year, maybe some year down the road we might be able to accept that offer. He never said no, so as far as I'm concerned, we have an open invitation to run it with him."

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