What You Need To Know About Tony Stewart's Superstar Racing Experience

Illustration for article titled What You Need To Know About Tony Stewarts Superstar Racing Experience
Photo: Peter Fox (Getty Images)

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new racing series in town. The Superstar Racing Experience—or, SRX—is an upcoming stock car racing series developed in a partnership between former NASCAR driver and team owner Tony Stewart, crew chief Ray Evernham, former NASCAR executive Sandy Montag, and sports agent George Pyne. Here’s what you need to know about it so far.

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What

As stated above, SRX is a stock car series that describes itself as “a back to basics racing series set to re-ignite the passion of the die-hard motorsports fans and reintroduce racing to a whole new generation.”

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Stewart compared the series’ intentions to those of IROC, the International Race of Champions. This isn’t necessarily a series designed for up-and-coming talent; instead, well established talent will get behind the wheel of identical cars to see who’s the best of the best.

In addition to the identical cars, drivers will be paired up with a different crew chief every week to ensure that the playing field remains level.

According to Pyne. “This is a product designed for 2021 and today’s race fan. We’ll have shorter races, with either a 30-minute or 45-minute format. We may have a different crew chief paired with a different driver on a regular basis. We’ll tell the story on television in a unique, funny way. There’s an opportunity to invent a better product to bring to race fans with an exciting national element. It’s the time for an innovative and modernized product in racing.”

Where

While very little has been confirmed so far, we do know that SRX is aiming for a six-race season that will likely take place at short tracks. There is an interest in moving to other tracks at a later date.

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The series will also be aired live on CBS during two-hour primetime Saturday broadcasts.

When

SRX is set to take its first green flag in 2021. Concrete dates have still not been revealed.

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Who

SRX is aiming to field 12 drivers during its inaugural season, with the hope that other drivers will follow suit. Stewart was the first driver announced, and he has a pretty impressive list of achievements to his name. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2019 after a career that saw him win a championship in the Indy Racing League, an Indianapolis 500 pole, three NASCAR Cup series championships, and an IROC championship.

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The other drivers announced thus far include:

  • Tony Kanaan: 2004 IndyCar champion, 2013 Indy 500 winner, and 2015 24 Hours of Daytona winner
  • Helio Castroneves: Three-time Indy 500 winner (2001, 2002, and 2009)
  • Paul Tracy: 2003 CART champion
  • Bobby Labonte: 2000 NASCAR Cup Series champion, 2001 IROC champion
  • Willy T. Ribbs: First Black driver to test a Formula One car and compete in the Indy 500
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Why

“The racing fans are longing for that, and they’re longing to see their heroes, who have earned their way through the short tracks of America and around the world,” Ray Evernham said on a Zoom call after the announcement of the series. “They will practice their craft on national television in close corners, with cars that are prepared equally and largely dependent on driver input and not on aerodynamics, computers, technology and science.”

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Largely, SRX seems to be a response to the highly technical professional racing available today with an emphasis on short track and dirt track racing as the first step on the motorsport ladder for American drivers—a tradition that has fallen to the wayside in recent decades.

The founding crew emphasizes the possibility of “unique content” but currently does not have a definite strategy for what that would look like. That said, they seem confident that sponsors, investors, fans, and media alike will be drawn to the series via familiar names and simplified technology.

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In essence, it seems like a neat way for veteran drivers to once again compete against their peers—this time those from all disciplines.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Freelancer. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

savethemanualsbmw335ix
savethemanualsbmw335ix

I know I’m not a huge race fan/follower, but the only person I’ve heard on that list (besides Tony Stewart of course) is Bobby Labonte. If this is a champions race and they’re focusing on being a race series designed for 2021, they need to do everything they can to get the big names that people actually recognize. Kimi Raikonen, Lewis Hamilton, F1 to Nascar crossover Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Gordon, Abbie Eaton, Ken Block, etc. Name recognition and people that actually have fans that will follow them to any race, that would bring the views.