Tony Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing Kick Off 2010 NASCAR Media Tour

David YeazellSenior Analyst IJanuary 18, 2010

The official kickoff of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway started Monday with Stewart-Haas Racing hosting an informal luncheon and press conference.

“Winners always come in first,” said SHS co-owner and driver Tony Stewart.

Showcasing the event were the 2010 cars of Stewart and Ryan Newman.

Six cars with six different main sponsors and paint schemes were unveiled prior to lunch being served.

Over 200 media members from around the world have gathered in Charlotte for the 28th annual media tour.

Pre-empting the tour were two events held by the National Motorsports Press Association.

Saturday night Jack Roush, Rusty Wallace, Roger Penske, and Robert Yates were inducted into the NMPA Hall of Fame.

Sunday night was the annual National Motorsports Press Association awards banquet.

Each year NMPA honors journalists in multiple writing and photo categories.

Getting back to work after the off-season, media members were loaded with fresh questions covering rule changes, future expansion, and expectations for the new season.

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Advantages and disadvantages of removing the wing from the C.O.T. were also among the topics.

“Blade type spoilers do not mean more downforce, said Ryan Newman. Height and angle of the spoiler is what makes all the difference, plus the fact this car has never been run with anything but a wing.”

Tony Stewart feels his first year as an owner was a success, but not just because SHR had both cars in the chase.

“As a rookie owner I did a good job getting the group of people we have. We all immediately clicked and have the same passion for racing,” said Stewart.

Just as festivities from lunch were winding down, media members boarded tour buses and headed for Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Hundreds of lucky fans and contest winners were already seated inside the Nationwide garage anticipating an important announcement from the speedway and the arrival of Joe Gibbs Racing drivers.

CMS President and General Manager Marcus Smith announced replacement of a majority of the front stretch seats with brand new larger seats.

“The new seats will be 25 percent larger and have arm rests on them,” said Smith.

In the spirit of preserving the history associated with the original speedway, Smith also announced how the old seats being removed can remain a part of history.

If a fan buys a seat for all three events at CMS in 2010, they will receive one of the old seats as a gift. Fans can also have a plate added to the new seat, which will include their name and what year they attended their first race at the speedway.

Charlotte Motor Speedway is offering several promotions for the upcoming season, including a layaway type program where fans can purchase tickets for a down payment of just $20.10.

Joe Gibbs Racing rounded out the afternoons events. Each of the lucky fans in attendance was offered a ride in the pace car around Charlotte Motor Speedway by one of the seven JGR drivers on hand.

JGR President J.D. Gibbs offered condolences to those being driven by his father.

Festivities of the first day will conclude with Penske Racing, ESPN, and TRG Motorsports events.