Tony Stewart wears many hats, but one he will not be adding to the collection is IZOD IndyCar Series team owner. Not even with Chevrolet back in open-wheel racing in a big way.
Stewart co-owns and drives for Stewart-Haas Racing, has his own USAC and World of Outlaws race teams, owns Eldora Speedway and several other race tracks and is an active entrepreneur with a wide variety of business interests.
On Friday, Chevrolet announced it would return to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2012 with Penske Racing, and simultaneously there were rumors that Stewart might start his own Chevy IndyCar team. Stewart, after all, has a long and deep history with Chevrolet. And he is an Indiana native and past IndyCar champion who has long wanted to win the Indy 500.
But asked about the rumors Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, Stewart said no dice. That said, he was glad to have Chevrolet back at the Brickyard.
“I’m excited about it,” Stewart said. “This Honda program they had over there was a joke anyway, I mean, the way they did it and the way guys were limited on how much practice time. And just a fiasco. So thank God, we’ve finally got an American-made engine back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway."
Asked if that meant he’d put together a team for the series or race in the Indy 500 himself, Stewart was adamant. “No, no, no and no,” Stewart said. “I don’t have any extra time to do any of that right now.”
Stewart did say one of his current drivers, USAC racer Levi Jones, could eventually find a home moving up. “USAC’s got a great program, so the national champion’s going to get a chance to drive an IndyLights car,” said Stewart. “So I think that’s the next step.”
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100 and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of “Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.