While racing is his thing, he respects the talent and skill possessed by his peers who compete in traditional stick-and-ball sports. For those with an appreciation of all things sport, October is a cornucopia of competition from the gridiron to the racetrack. The NFL season is in full swing. Preseason NBA games are ready for tip-off. The first puck is dropped in hockey. Major League Baseball teams are battling it out for their respective pennants, angling for a spot in the World Series. And the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is on.
It goes without saying that it’s a good time to be either on the precipice, or beginning, of a sojourn for a championship. But being in the hunt for a title isn’t a prerequisite for enjoying the fruits of October.
As the driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Arctic Cat Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), Stewart is all about the harvest and aims to take advantage of the opportunities he has during the next few weeks while visiting the ovals on the Sprint Cup schedule. Next up is Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
Since being added to the Sprint Cup schedule in 2001, Kansas has been a welcome stop for Stewart. In addition to his two wins at the 1.5-mile oval in 2006 and 2009, Stewart owns six top-five and nine top-10 finishes, has led 152 laps, and completed all but 54 of the laps that have been available to him in his 18 career starts at the track for a lap-completion rate of 98.9 percent.
And even though the three-time Sprint Cup champion is not one of the 12 drivers still contending for the 2015 championship, he’s no stranger to playing Chase spoiler, having done so a few times in past seasons, including the track’s lone race in 2006. After starting 21st, Stewart and company outwitted the competition by stretching their fuel mileage over the closing laps, leading the final five circuits to claim victory.
A lot has changed, however, since Stewart scored the second of his two Kansas wins in 2009, primarily to the track itself, which was repaved during the summer of 2012 and reconfigured to include progressive banking of 17 to 20 degrees.
In addition to the changes to Kansas, Stewart has seen longtime SHR partner Rush Truck Centers, the subsidiary of Rush Enterprises, Inc., take on the added role of primary sponsor of his No. 14 Chevy at select NASCAR races. With more than 120 dealerships in 20 states, all of which are strategically located in high-traffic areas or near major highways, Rush Truck Centers operate as one-stop vehicle centers offering an integrated approach to the needs of its customers – from sales of new and used vehicles to aftermarket parts, service and body shop operations, plus financing, insurance, leasing and rental. The premier service solutions provider to the commercial vehicle industry and the largest network of truck and bus dealerships in the United States is on board with Stewart ready to reap the bounty of October this weekend at Kansas.