Stewart Seeks Seven at Daytona

Tony Stewart

Stewart will wheel the No. 33 Ritz Crackers/Oreo Chevrolet as he looks to equal Dale Earnhardt's record for Nationwide wins at "The World Center of Racing." (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Tony Stewart is looking to capture a record-tying seventh NASCAR Nationwide Series win at Daytona International Speedway in Saturday's season-opening DRIVE4COPD 300.

Stewart will wheel the No. 33 Ritz Crackers/Oreo Chevrolet as he looks to equal Dale Earnhardt's record for Nationwide wins at "The World Center of Racing."

“It’s cool just to be even close to him," Stewart said.  "Whether we ever get another win and catch his mark, or even surpass him, that’s still a record that’s pretty remarkable here at Daytona.  To me, this was his playground.  You just watched him play with the guys, here.  He was the best at this place.  To even be remotely close to him in the record books is humbling.”

Saturday's race will mark Stewart's second consecutive Speedweeks driving for Richard Childress Racing, who owns 64 wins as a Nationwide Series owner.

“Richard is an icon in our sport and someone I’ve always admired, so I’m always excited to have the opportunity to work with him," said Stewart, who led 22 laps and finished eighth last year.  "I don’t think anyone can think about Daytona and not think about Richard Childress and Dale Earnhardt, and all they accomplished here together.  It's an honor to be part of his team.  Hopefully, I can add to his list of accomplishments.

“It’s a one-off deal, but I’ve worked with this group in the past so I already have a comfort level and a relationship with the guys.  Ernie (Cope, crew chief) and I have worked together in the past, too, so that’s a plus because we’re already familiar with each other.  When you look at the team I’m working with this year, it’s basically the exact same group as last year so that’s helpful.”

Along with four straight wins in this event from 2008-2011, Stewart went back-to-back in 2005 and 2006 and has led a combined 179 laps when he's gone to Victory Lane.  Four of Stewart's wins came with Keven Harvick, Inc.; the others coming with Joe Gibbs Racing (2008) and Hendrick Motorsports (2009).

“Restrictor-plate races at Daytona are always a wild card," Stewart said.  "We were fortunate enough to win one and then back it up the next year.  To do it back-to-back-to-back-to-back is something we’re really proud of.  We’ve won six of the last eight here and none of them have been the same.  It’s been different cars, different teams, different pavement.

"That’s the part that’s ironic.  You think, ‘Man, the scenario has to double up, eventually.’  Six wins here and none of them have been alike.  It really shows that you can’t predict what’s going to happen.  It’s impossible to even try to do that.”

Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" - will air live coverage of Saturday's DRIVE4COPD 300 Nationwide Series race starting at 12:45 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MotorRacingNetwork.com. James Buescher won last year's event.

Race Center

Alert Today Florida 300

@ Daytona International Speedway
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Radio Start:
MRN
TV Start:
FOX Sports 1

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