The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes it annual trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400 the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard (damn insurance companies). All the focus this weekend is on Indiana’s favorite son, Tony Stewart who is the defending winner of the race and also won it back in 2005. Earlier today Tony announced that the number that he would race with in the 2009 season, the number 14. Tony chose because it was the number that his own hero the grand champion, 4-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt drove with in his career. Tony also announced that he would have Old Spice (perfect gift for your Dad on Father’s Day when you’re too lazy to get him something good) and Office Depot. No word though on who will drive or sponsor the second car.
Tony is also in the news after he got into an altercation with a USAC Sprint Car official during a race at nearby Indianapolis O’Reilly Raceway Park when the official refused to order a push truck to go and help Tony’s driver, Tracy Hines. Tony knocked off the official’s headphones and shoved him. Tony, of course, regrets the incident.
Winning at the Brickyard is one of the biggest things a driver can do in his career. Some have even said that winning at Indy may be bigger than winning the Daytona 500. There are the drivers who still seek their first win at the track. Casey Mears, is one of the drivers, Casey’s family are no strangers to the Brickyard his father, Roger, raced the Indy 500 twice and of course his uncle, Rick won the Indy 500 four times along with Foyt and Al Unser.
This weekend will also be special for Mears who will make his 200th Sprint Cup start this weekend. "I feel so lucky to have the career that I do and to be able to race these cars every weekend," Mears said. "And to do it for a living -- that's all I wanted growing up."
Speaking of four time winners at the Brickyard, Jeff Gordon is one and he is looking to grab win number five, not to mention his first win of the year. Gordon, who grew up in nearby Pittsboro also fins this track to be dear to his heart. "As a kid, I remember taking the bus around here, going to the museum and just thinking how cool it would be to race on the track one day," Gordon said. "The opportunity to race here in open-wheeled cars never materialized, and I chose to pursue racing stock cars in NASCAR."
"That [the first win at Indy in 1994] is still one of the most memorable moments of my career," Gordon said. "I thought I'd lost that chance to race here. Then, to get that chance in a stock car and to win was just incredible. Now I get the opportunity to race here every year, and I've been fortunate to win the event four times."
If Gordon gets win number five, he will join Michael Schumacher as the only drivers who have five wins at the Brickyard and Gordon will certainly love to get his 2008 season back on track starting with a win here.
Of course, as always, Kyle Busch will be a threat to win on Sunday and looks to make 4 wins out of 5 races on Sunday. Qualifying is tomorrow at 10 am on ESPN2 and the race coverage starts on Sunday at 1 pm on ESPN.
Stewart expects fine from USAC for role in 'altercation' [ESPN.com]
Gordon refreshed, ready for Indy after vacation [Hendrickmotorsports.com]
Mears to make 200th start at Indy [Hendrickmotorsports.com]
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