Tony Stewart to Celebrate Birthday at 170 mph
So it is only fitting that the Columbus, Ind., native will celebrate his 34th birthday at more than 170 mph on Friday night, May 20, as he competes in the Quaker Steak & Lube 200 presented by Click It or Ticket NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
On the surface, it appears Stewart will use his time in the seat of the No. 47 All Star Morgan-Dollar Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado as a means of gaining additional information about Charlotte Motor Speedway's renovated racing surface prior to the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on Saturday night, May 21.
But Stewart says very little he learns in the 200-mile truck race can be applied to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup's all-star event the next night.
"The trucks are a little bit of a different deal," Stewart explained. "They are a lot taller, so they punch a bigger hole in the air and that makes a huge difference.
"The reason I'm doing this is because I bought a race track and every time we get rained out, the people that we owe that mortgage payment to don't care if we got rained out or not," said Stewart, who recently purchased the legendary Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
"I am like Joe (Gibbs), I had to get a second job to pay my bills," he said with a laugh.
The Quaker Steak & Lube 200 will be Stewart's second appearance in the Chevrolet All Star truck. He drove the No. 47 to a third-place finish last fall at Richmond International Speedway.
"I like the Craftsman Truck Series and I love running here at Charlotte," Stewart said. "This is one of my favorite tracks and I'm really anxious to see the improvements to the racing surface.
"I had a blast when I drove this truck at Richmond," Stewart continued. "The Truck Series is so much fun. The level of competition gets better every year and the talent level of the drivers keeps going up, which makes it fun to race with these guys."
Stewart's black-and-white Chevrolet Silverado will carry sponsorship from country music super group Diamond Rio and Quaker Steak & Lube, an award-winning, automotive-themed restaurant chain.
The Chevrolet All Star program debuted last May at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Michael Waltrip driving the truck to a fifth-place finish. The team, led by veteran NASCAR crew chief and engineer Randy Goss, competes in selected NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events out of the Morgan-Dollar Motorsports facility in Statesville, N.C.
The unique program combines country music personalities with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers to promote Chevrolet's line of Silverado pickup trucks while also serving as a research and development tool for General Motor's Craftsman Truck Series effort.
In 12 starts, the No. 47 Chevrolet All Star truck has six top-five finishes, including a victory in the April 9 race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway with Bobby Labonte behind the wheel.
In addition to Stewart, fellow NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Ken Schrader is slated to compete in the Quaker Steak & Lube 200 while Ted Musgrave and Dennis Setzer, winners of the first two truck races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, will also be in action.
Tickets for all May events at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including the May 20 Quaker Steak & Lube 200 presented by Click It or Ticket, are still available and can be obtained online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.