Monday, December 3, 2012

Nothing is gained by Tony Stewart doing the double

   Tony Stewart has unsuccessfully attempted the Coca-Cola 600-Indy 500 double twice and has run the 500 five times total in his career. His last venture into a competitive IndyCar race was 2001.

    Yet Roger Penske's sort of serious offer to field an entry for him in 2013 has sparked much interest. Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials would love to see Stewart in the race and even an ESPN executive has suggested the network would be willing to alter the race's planned start time to help.

    What, really, though is there for Stewart to gain? There is no physically possible way he can put in everything necessary - time and preparation - to run the 500 like the rest of IndyCar's regular competitors. The Indy 500 is the crown jewel of open-wheel racing and as such participants spend weeks at the track leading up to the race. The Coke 600 is one of 36 points-paying races in NASCAR's Sprint Cup series, meaning there are other races prior and immediately after that also require the same attention.

    Would Stewart have a shot at the one trophy that has eluded him? Perhaps. But at what cost? And what does his participation do for either IndyCar or NASCAR? He's already attempted this feat twice previously - so the newness factor is muted.

    For those who believe the attempt would help IndyCar, attention on the Indy 500 is not the series' biggest problem. It's getting eyes on the rest of the year that needs help. Stewart running the 500 does not add a single viewer for the season finale in Fontana, Calif.

    Nice offer from Penske. But when it comes to doing the double, Stewart should simply say, "Been there, done that."