Tony Stewart missed an offer to drive in the 2019 Indianapolis 500, and he can only blame his own bad email habits.
That's what we learned from Smoke's conversation with Rutledge Wood while the Brickyard 400 was under a rain delay yesterday. According to Stewart, his idle chatter about wanting to race at Indy again led to some unexpected offers.
"I did what I normally do," Stewart said, . "I let my mouth open before I thought about what I was saying and mentioned that I was open to the possibility again, and I realistically am."
And apparently, when Stewart mentioned his interest in racing at the Indianapolis 500, it led to some offers. "I’ve talked to Michael Andretti; Roger Penske says I still have an open invitation. I think Ganassi would put me back in a car," Stewart told Wood.
"But an email I didn’t expect was from Bobby Rahal and David Letterman to come and run in one of their cars. And I don’t do emails, so I haven’t even responded to Bobby Rahal yet [...] I just found out I had an email from him."
C'mon, Smoke. When Mr. Rahal emails you, you don't let that message collect dust in your inbox.
Regardless of the above-mentioned offers, Stewart doesn't intend to run at the 2019 Indy 500. "I’m not doing it to just do it," he told Wood. "I want to do it to try to win the race. If you’re really going to do that, the IndyCar Series is so competitive right now, and the drivers and teams so even and so tough, you’re not going to just stroll in here like they used to do in the ’70s and ’80s and do a good job," Stewart said.
"I would want to run an oval race sometime in this coming year to get ready for 2020 if I’m going to do it" he continued. "I’ve learned never to say never, but doing the math, I’ve realized that 49 is probably not a really good age to try to resurrect an IndyCar career. But who knows. I’ve done a lot dumber things than that."
, Stewart had a promising debut at the 1996 Indy 500, starting from pole and leading 31 laps before withdrawing due to mechanical problems. Stewart took fifth place at the '97 race, and finished in the top 10 in 1999 and 2001.