Tony Stewart is going to climb back into a NASCAR Cup Series car later this week.
Stewart-Haas Racing announced Monday morning that the three-time champion will drive a No. 14 Ford Mustang two-seater in a demonstration run around the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) course in Austin, Texas, on Oct. 31. The course was purpose-built for Formula 1, and Haas F1 drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will be getting a first-hand lesson from Stewart on driving a stock car around the 3.426-mile course.
Stewart has not been behind the wheel of a stock car since retiring in 2016.
“It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s been three years since I last drove a stock car, but seeing some of these road course races – especially the Roval at Charlotte – have piqued my interested a bit, so this is a good way to sort of satisfy that hunger,” said Stewart in a team release. “I’ve never been to COTA. All I know about it is what I’ve seen on TV and on my iRacing simulator. I kind of like that.
“Even after two decades in NASCAR, there’s still new stuff to experience. I haven’t driven that racetrack, and Kevin and Romain haven’t ever driven a stock car. We’ll figure it out together.”
F1 competes at COTA on Sunday, Nov. 3.
Both Grosjean and Magnussen have limited experience with cars that have a roof and fenders. Grosjean drove a Ford GT1 in the 2010 FIA GT1 championship while Magnussen drove a GT2 car once and tested a DTM car.
“I’ve never driven a NASCAR before,” said Magnussen. “I’m pretty certain it’s going to be very different to the other car I drive around COTA. It’s going to be a very interesting experience. A NASCAR is such an iconic race car. I’ve always been eager to try one. Of course, it’s usually in its element on an oval, but they do race on road courses as well. It’ll be exciting to have a go and have a bit of fun.”
Grosjean admitted there will be some adjusting needed in driving the heavier stock car.
“I think we just need to slam the brakes a bit earlier than we do with a Formula 1 car,” Grosjean said. “We’ll see how the engine responds to throttle application. I can’t wait. The sound of it’s going to be great. I think it’s going to be a good experience. I think having Tony Stewart helping us and giving us advice is going to be bloody amazing.”
SHR also mentioned Stewart would also be visible at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, where both the NASCAR Xfinity and Cup Series are competing. Stewart will also compete Thursday and Friday night in the Texas Sprint Car Nationals.
Additionally, Stewart will be inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
“It’s the best of both worlds for me,” Stewart said. “I get to be with our NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series teams during the day, but each night I get to go over to the Dirt Track. It’s fun for our crew guys too. They’re racers who have dirt track blood in their veins. They come over and watch the race. It just makes for a perfect weekend.”