Drivers Fill Weekend Off Any Way They Can

LAS VEGAS -- Noted racing junkie Tony Stewart (pictured) can't get away from the sport even when the Winston Cup cars have a weekend off.

So, on Saturday in Las Vegas, he'll be the crew chief for Jack Miller in the Vegas Indy 300. It's not a new role for Stewart, the 1997 IRL champion and 1999 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year.

"I'll be doing the same thing that I was doing back at the IRL season-opener in Orlando: owner, crew chief, engineer - you name it," said Stewart, co-owner of Tri-Star Motorsports.

He had planned to relax in a rare break from NASCAR, but Stewart was drafted when partner Larry Curry decided to give regular driver Jeret Schroeder a teammate for the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Stewart, who worked with Robby Unser three months ago at Walt Disney World Speedway, says calling the shots gives him a greater appreciation for the work of Winston Cup crew chief Greg Zipadelli.

"When I went to Orlando, I saw things the way he sees things," Stewart said. "It makes me respect him even more than I already did. It makes me think about things from a different perspective."
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Johnny Benson is taking advantage of the break in the Winston Cup schedule to attend the British Grand Prix in Silverstone, England.

"I get to be a fan this weekend," Benson said. "I went to Spain two years ago and had so much fun that I wanted to go back."

Formula One is the only form of racing Winston Cup drivers regularly watch because most events are televised on Sunday mornings, the only dead time in a NASCAR weekend.

"Those cars are amazing," Benson said. "What I couldn't believe the last time we were there is how a Formula One car can go from almost 200 mph down to almost a complete stop in less than a second."

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Other Driver's Easter Weekend Plans:

Mike Skinner: "Stay at home. That is special. When you're on the road all the time, staying at home is real special. It's like having a vacation. When people say 'let's go here, let's go there,' No! My vacation is staying home. Leave me alone. Let me play golf a time or two and I'll be a happy camper."

Jeff Gordon: "Me and Brooke are going to some island in the Caribbean and just get away from it all. I couldn't have picked a better weekend to win cause it's going to make the vacation even greater."

Kenny Wallace: "I'm so busy with sponsor functions and team responsibilities during the year that when I have an off-weekend, I do what I want to do, and that means nothing. I get up when I want to get up. I go to lunch when I'm hungry. I hang out with my family at home. That's about it. Winston Cup drivers have the longest season in professional sports. When I finally get some time off, I lay around the house and do absolutely nothing. Every morning at the track, I wake up to the sound of engines blaring in my ear. I don't need an alarm clock, I get up with the roar of race car motors from the garage. This weekend, it'll be nice to wake up to the whistling from the birds that have moved into the chimney of my house. That'll start my day off right. Once I wake up, I just want to play with my kids and celebrate the Easter weekend with my family."

Bobby Labonte: "My wife and I will probably hang out here for awhile (at their home in Trinity, N.C.). We have rooms at the beach, but I don't know whether I want to fight the crowds or not. We'll probably just hang out here and spend some time with the children or we might go to the beach if the weather looks promising."

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