Nascar

Tony Stewart's 200 mph Texas qualifying record set to stay

Texas Motor Speedway is doing something unusual with its upcoming repave: The track is actually going to get slower, not faster like tracks almost always do when new pavement is put down.

At Texas, Turns 1 and 2 will be reconfigured, widened and flattened out from 24 degrees of banking to 20 degrees.

Track officials said the cumulative effect of the modifications will slow speeds and make for more passing opportunities, which are good things. As a result, the show should get better at Texas.

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And the changes also mean Tony Stewart's qualifying record of 200.111 miles per hour, set on Halloween of 2014, is likely to stay for quite some time, which isn't a bad thing, either.

When Stewart set the record, he was the first NASCAR driver to set a track record of more than 200 mph at a 1.5-mile track. In fact, only three other tracks have qualifying record in excess of the 200 mph mark.

The others are:

Talladega Superspeedway, April 30, 1987 -- Bill Elliott, 212.809 mph.

Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 15, 1987 -- Bill Elliott, 210.364 mph.

Michigan International Speedway, Aug. 17, 2014 -- Jeff Gordon, 206.558 mph.

I talked to Stewart soon after he set the record in 2014. The first thing I asked him was how it felt to break the 200 mph at Texas. He shrugged and laughed. "I went 224 (mph) here in an Indy car," Stewart told me.

But then, he acknowledged that it was a good record to set.

"Even if it got broken here next spring, it's still good just to be able to be the first guy to do it, that's the kind of things that I like. I like being the first," said Stewart.

"We've been lucky enough to be the first to do a couple of things in racing," said Stewart. "Records are always going to be broken. One thing that won't change is that we were the first to do it and that's really cool."