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Tony Stewart coming back to run Indy Xfinity race

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Hall of Famer Tony Stewart will make his first NASCAR start since 2016 when he competes in the July 4 Xfinity race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Stewart-Haas Racing announced Wednesday morning.

“Everyone knows what Indy means to me, so I can’t think of a better place to race on Fourth of July weekend,” said Stewart, who grew up 45 minutes from Indianapolis, in a statement. “It’s going to be cool making history by turning left and right in a stock car at the Brickyard, and the racing will be full of action and contact. Any time you can drive any racecar at the speedway is special, and you know I’m going for the win. The date is already circled on my calendar.”

The Xfinity race at Indy will be broadcast on NBC.

This will be the first time the Xfinity Series races on Indianapolis’ 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course.

The 62-lap race will mark the first Xfinity start for Stewart since 2013 and 95th series race in his career.

Stewart made 18 Brickyard 400 starts in Cup, winning twice (2005 and ’07). He also has competed in five Indianapolis 500s and four IROC races at the historic track.

Stewart has eight career Cup road course wins: five at Watkins Glen International and three at Sonoma Raceway.

Stewart’s most recent road course outing came in a demonstration run last October at Circuit of the Americas when he took a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang outfitted with a passenger seat and drove Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen around the track.

“It was a lot of fun for me to get in one of our Ford Mustangs and do that exhibition run at COTA,” Stewart said in a statement. “It kind of got my juices flowing to get back in a car again, and what better place to come back than Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

Details about Stewart’s car number and sponsor will be announced later.

“People sometimes say, ‘We miss seeing you behind the wheel,” and I’m like, ‘Well, you’ve just got to go to different places now,’ ” Stewart said in a statement. “I’m racing 100 times a year in a sprint car, but seeing some of these road-course races – especially the Roval at Charlotte – piqued my interest a bit, and running the stock car at COTA, it kind of fed my hunger. All of it has led me back to the place I’ve always called home – Indy.”

Jimmie Johnson never missed a lap in 26 Cup starts at Auto Club Speedway

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Jimmie Johnson was really good at Auto Club Speedway.

In fact, he was the best.

It would be easy to just cite his record six wins in 26 starts on the 2-mile track. But here’s another number.

5,906.

That’s the amount of laps Johnson successfully completed in all 26 of his starts on his home rack, from his first Cup win there in 2002 to the seventh-place finish Sunday in his final Auto Club 400.

That’s every lap. Johnson never failed to finish on the lead lap at Auto Club Speedway

It’s far and away a Cup Series record.

According to Racing Insights, the closest a Cup driver has come to that is Tony Stewart.

Like Johnson, he did it at his home track. From 1999-2016, Stewart made 18 starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He completed all 2,895 laps he was eligible for.

The next four drivers in this category all earned their numbers at the same track: Watkins Glen International.

Martin Truex Jr: 14 starts/1,262 laps
Darrell Waltrip: 14 starts/1,221 laps
Carl Edwards: 12 starts/1,084 laps
A.J. Allmendinger: 10 starts/902 laps

Kyle Busch to drive in 5 Xfinity races this season for Joe Gibbs Racing

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Joe Gibbs Racing announced Thursday that Kyle Busch will compete in five Xfinity Series races this season.

The reigning NASCAR Cup champ will make his first Xfinity start in the No. 54 Toyota Supra at Phoenix Raceway on March 7.

The other four Xfinity races Busch will drive:

May 23 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

June 20 at Chicagoland Speedway

July 18 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

August 15 at Watkins Glen International

Busch has a chance of hitting 100 career wins in the Xfinity Series this year. He has 96 wins in 352 career starts in that series. NASCAR rules limit Busch to a maximum of five races per season in another series because of his experience.

Jacob Canter will serve as Busch’s crew chief. He is the test team manager for JGR’s NASCAR Cup program.

The five Truck races that Kyle Busch will race this season already have been announced.

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