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Tony Stewart would take his 50th Sprint Cup win ‘anywhere’

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FORTH WORTH, TEXAS – Tony Stewart has six races left.

2,377.08 miles if you’re a stickler for details.

After that, Stewart hangs his NASCAR firesuit up for good.

That gives Stewart six race weekends to reach the 50-win mark in his career, 18 seasons after he started it in 1999.

And the three-time Sprint Cup champion doesn’t care where that hypothetical win takes place.

“I want it anywhere,” Stewart said Wednesday at Texas Motor Speedway, where he has won twice in the Sprint Cup Series.

Stewart was taking part in the annual “Smoke Show” fantasy camp that benefits the Speedway Children’s Charities.

Win No. 49 occurred in June at Sonoma Raceway, a track Stewart has conquered three times in his career. With the end in sight, “Smoke” has said he’d be “content” if the Sonoma win was his last.

But Stewart knows where win No. 50 would mean the most.

“Of the remaining race,s we got Kansas, which I really don’t have ties to,” the two-time Kansas winner said Wednesday. “Martinsville, I really don’t have in ties there as well.”

Stewart has three Martinsville wins in 33 starts.

“Talladega, I don’t really have any big ties,” said Stewart, who won at the 2.66-mile track in 2008. “Texas and Phoenix are the two tracks that are left on the schedule that really mean a lot to me and I’ve got a history with.”

Stewart has three wins between those two tracks, the last coming at Texas in 2011. His lone Phoenix win was in his 1999 rookie campaign.

Stewart was eliminated from the Chase for the Sprint Cup two weeks ago at Dover International Speedway. But that’s lifted a huge weight off the shoulders of Stewart’s and his team. Now they can have some fun and take risks in the last chapter of Stewart’s NASCAR career.

“We did that last weekend,” Stewart said of the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “We were in a scenario that if it went green, pretty much everybody was going to have to pit for just a little of fuel and work really hard. I started fuel mileage racing (and thought) ‘I might cherry pick one here on fuel mileage.’ Then we ended up losing about four or five spots and then a caution came out, and we had to race our way back. It’s things like that where we can take chances now where some of these (Chase) teams can’t. It’s kind of fun to be in that position where you don’t have anything to lose. You have everything to gain, and nothing to lose.”

The only thing Stewart has to gain is one or more victories in a Hall of Fame career. The next would tie him with Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett for 10th on the Sprint Cup wins list.

NASCAR America: NASCAR’s stars hit the track for the ‘Little 600’ (video)

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Like more than three dozen of his NASCAR Cup counterparts, Joey Logano is gearing up for the longest race of the year, Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

To warm up, Logano, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Darrell Wallace Jr. and other NASCAR drivers headed to the GoPro Motorplex in North Carolina for the “Little 600.”

Check out how they fared in the above video that was on Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America.

 

Coca-Cola 600 starting lineup

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CONCORD, N.C. — Kevin Harvick will start on the pole for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, marking the second consecutive race at Charlotte Motor Speedway he has led the field to the green flag.

Harvick, a two-time Coke 600 winner, earned the top starting spot Thursday night with a lap of 193.424 mph in his Ford. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch, who won last weekend’s All-Star Race.

Chase Elliott starts third and is followed by Matt Kenseth and rookie Erik Jones.

Points leader Kyle Larson will start 39th in the 40-car field after not making a qualifying attempt. He hit the wall in practice and then his team couldn’t get through qualifying inspection until one minute remained in the opening round of the session. The team was unable to get Larson out of the garage in time to make an attempt.

Click here for Coca-Cola 600 starting lineup

Slugger Labbe: How do crew chiefs prepare for grueling Coca-Cola 600? (video)

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Veteran crew chief Slugger Labbe stopped by the NASCAR America studio in Charlotte on Thursday.

Labbe gave his perspective on how NASCAR Cup crew chiefs will prepare for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. While the race length will be the same as it has been for decades, one significant change will have crew chiefs developing strategy that they’ve never had to deal with in the 600, namely, four different race stages.

Labbe also gave his take on the positives and negatives of the Laser Inspection Station for both pre- and post-race inspections.

Check out the above video.

NASCAR: Remembering Martin Truex Jr.’s dominating 2016 Coca-Cola 600 win

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In one of the most dominating performances in NASCAR history, Martin Truex Jr. turned last year’s Coca-Cola 600 into a runaway one-man show, leading the field for 392 of 400 laps.

Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America took a look back at Truex’s record-setting win.

Check out the video above.