Tony Stewart: ‘Driving a Sprint Cup car does not make me happy right now’

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If anyone thinks Tony Stewart is having second thoughts about retiring at season’s end, forget it.

“I’m ready to go run stuff that makes me happy and driving a Sprint Cup car does not make me happy right now,” Stewart said Friday at Sonoma Raceway. “A lot of things have changed. The atmosphere has changed. There is so much stuff in the garage area that has changed that it was time for me to make a change with it.

“I’ve dedicated 18 years of my life to this series and it’s done great by me. I’ve made a great living doing it, but at the same time there are other things in life I want to do other than be at a NASCAR track three days a week for 38 weekends out of 52 weeks a year. There are just other things I want to do now.”

While he’ll remain co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, the Indiana native has a lot of “other things” he wants to do.

“I never dreamed there was going to be a time that I was going to think about something like this,” Stewart said. “It wasn’t overnight.

“There were weeks that you would think about, ‘Man, I really want to go to Monaco and see the Monaco Grand Prix, or I really want to go to Knoxville, Iowa, and be out there for the A-main of the Knoxville Nationals or the Kings Royal at Eldora.’

“There are things I want to do that because of our schedule you don’t have time to do it. There is just not enough time to do everything you want to do. It’s time for me to do this.”

Stewart is starting a string where he’ll make the final appearances of his career at places like Sonoma this weekend and Daytona next weekend.

Definitely next week there is nothing I’m going to miss about that,” Stewart said of Daytona, where he has had success but never won the sport’s biggest race, the Daytona 500.

But as for Sonoma, Stewart has a different mindset.

“This has always been a cool place,” Stewart said. “This track is one where you race the racetrack. It’s you against the track every week. The restarts create the carnage here and guys doing stupid stuff, but when you get into a run and you get a long green flag run like that is when it’s fun here because you are racing the racetrack and what you’ve got to do to make yourself fast.

“It’s not that same feeling of wheel-to-wheel competition that you get other places, but this track is more challenging than the competition is. If you can beat the track, you can win the race too.”

Stewart and former NASCAR great Ernie Irvan were inducted into Sonoma Raceway’s Wall of Fame on Friday, joining a number of motorsports greats including team owner Roger Penske, NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees Mark Martin and team owner Rick Hendrick, as well as Jeff Gordon and Ricky Rudd.

“Anytime you get inducted into anything it’s a huge honor,” Stewart said. “This has always been one of my favorite race tracks. To be on their wall of fame, that means something to me.”

But as congenial as he was at the Wall of Fame induction, Stewart showed some of his old bark and bite after an incident with Jamie McMurray during Friday’s first Sprint Cup practice session.

“I had Jamie McMurray screw us up on a lap,” Stewart said.  “He was trying to do a qualifying lap. Some of the things some of these guys do nowadays doesn’t make sense.

“When we had Dale (Earnhardt) Sr. and Rusty Wallace and Dale Jarrett and those guys they were able to get their arms around these guys and get them to listen and make sense. There is really nobody here that can do that anymore. Everybody is out of control out there.”

Including Sunday, Stewart has 21 more races to compete in before he calls it a career as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He knows it’s his time to bid adieu and see what’s happening in the non-racing world.

“When you have raced for 38 years that is all you know, it’s all you think about, that is all you dream about,” he said. “When you wake up, you are thinking about it, while you are eating breakfast, that is all you do.

“I just can’t imagine that there is not more to life than this. I know there is. I know people that talk about it all the time. I’ve got friends like Don Prudhomme and Ray Evernham and guys that are already retired that talk about how much fun they are having.

“I’m like, man that sounds like a good time to me.”

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Portland Xfinity race results, driver points

Portland Xfinity results
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Cole Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when the top three cars made contact and went on to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway. Custer is the 10th different winner in 13 races this season.

MORE: Portland Xfinity race results

MORE: Driver points after Portland Xfinity race

JR Motorsports took the next three spots: Justin Allgaier placed second, Sam Mayer was third and Josh Berry was fourth. Austin Hill completed the top five.

John Hunter Nemechek remains the points leader after 13 races. He has a 14-point lead on Hill. Nemechek leads Allgaier by 44 points.

Cole Custer wins Xfinity race at Portland in overtime

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Cole Custer held off Justin Allgaier at the finish to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race in overtime at Portland International Raceway. It is Custer’s first victory of the season.

JR Motorsports placed second, third and fourth with Allgaier, Sam Mayer and Josh Berry. Austin Hill finished fifth.

MORE: Race results, driver points

Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when Parker Kligerman, who restarted third, attempted to pass Allgaier, who was leading. Sheldon Creed was on the outside of Allgaier. All three cars made contact entering Turn 1, allowing Custer to slip by. Creed finished seventh. Kligerman placed 14th.

Custer won the second stage when John Hunter Nemechek made contact with Creed’s car while racing for the lead on the final lap of the stage. The contact spun Creed and Custer inched by Nemechek at the line.

Early in the final stage, Creed gained revenge with contact that spun Nemechek, who went on to finish 10th. A few laps later, Nemechek and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Sammy Smith had issues. Smith spun Nemechek. After getting back around, Nemechek quickly caught Smith and turned into Smith’s car, damaging it.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Despite the contact on the overtime restart, runner-up Justin Allgaier managed to score his fourth consecutive top-three finish. … Sam Mayer’s third-place finish is his best on a road course. … Austin Hill’s fifth-place finish gives him four consecutive top-five results.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Daniel Hemric finished 33rd after a fire in his car. … Riley Herbst placed 32nd after an engine issue. After opening the season with six top 10s in a row, Herbst has gone seven races in a row without a top 10.

NEXT: The series competes June 10 at Sonoma Raceway (8 p.m. ET on FS1).

Truck race results at WWT Raceway: Grant Enfinger wins

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Grant Enfinger took the lead when the leaders wrecked in the final laps and held off the field in overtime to win Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

It is Enfinger’s second win in the last five races. He also collected a $50,000 bonus for winning the Triple Truck Challenge.

MORE: Truck race results

MORE: Driver points after WWT Raceway

Christian Eckes finished second and was followed by Stewart Friesen, Carson Hocevar and Chase Purdy.

Ty Majeski and Zane Smith wrecked while racing for the lead with six laps to go. Majeski, running on the inside of Smith, slid up the track and clipped Smith’s truck. Both hit the wall. That put Enfinger in the lead.

Smith finished 20th. Majeski placed 30th.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Grant Enfinger

STAGE 2 WINNER: Stewart Friesen

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Grant Enfinger’s victory is his fourth top 10 in the last five races. … Carson Hocevar’s fourth-place finish is his fourth consecutive top-five result. … Stewart Friesen’s third-place finish moved him into a playoff spot with four races left in the regular season. … Matt DiBenedetto‘s sixth-place finish is his third consecutive top 10. … Jesse Love finished ninth in his series debut.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ty Majeski had a chance to take the points lead with series leader Corey Heim out because of illness, but Majeski’s 30th-place finish after running at the front most of the day, leaves him behind Heim. … Hailie Deegan finished 32nd after contact sent her truck into the wall hard. … After finishing a career-high third last week at Charlotte, Dean Thompson placed 34th Saturday due to an engine issue.

NEXT: The series races June 23 at Nashville Superspeedway (8 p.m. ET on FS1)

Xfinity starting lineup at Portland: Sheldon Creed wins pole

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Sheldon Creed scored his first career Xfinity Series pole by taking the top spot for Saturday’s race at Portland International Raceway.

Creed, making his 50th career series start, earned the pole with a lap of 95.694 mph on the 1.97-mile road course.

MORE: Portland Xfinity starting lineup

Cole Custer will start second with a lap of 95.398 mph. He is followed by Josh Berry (94.242 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (95.127) and Charlotte winner Justin Allgaier (94.897). Road racing specialist Jordan Taylor, driving for Kaulig Racing, qualified sixth at 94.772 mph.

The green flag is scheduled to wave 4:46 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.