STEWART TAKES TO UNFAMILIAR HOMESTATE TRACK by Jeremy Troiano
One ASA Race Is Only Track Time For ASA Veteran
"That first ASA race here was the first time I have ever raced at this track, even though I grew up less than two hours from here," said Stewart, who was testing at Concord on Thursday with his Screaming Eagle Motorsports team. "I didn't race down here for some reason. We came and tested here with Mike Miller before that first ASA race. That was the first time I had been on this track."
Stewart says he raced at home track Southern National Speedway (Kenly), Caraway Speedway and a few others in the area, but never the short car ride west to Concord.
"This is just one of those places that you either love or hate. Most people hate it. I can't say that I love it, but I like it. The track is not our problem. If we can get the car like I want it and it feels good, then I will get it around here.
"Mike had Dick Trickle here with him helping during that first test. It was a trip. Mike hated it. He was scared to death. He watched me practice and said 'damn boy, you got kahonas.'"
The test was even more important for Stewart to get used to working with Gene Roberts, who Stewart hooked up with during the off season.
"We are building this trust between me and Gene. He is finally buying into what I am selling him on what the car is doing. He knows that what I am saying is really what it is doing."
It has been a big switch for Gene, too, who had Port City racecars down to a science. Stewart stayed with Howe Racing and hoped Gene could make the switch easy.
"The switch hasn't been really comfortable for Gene just yet. I was comfortable with the Howe car. They really wanted me
to stay with them with the combination we got this year. Gene had the Port City cars figured out really well. I've said it is just a piece of steel. Gene will get this figured out, too. He is more interested in the car now. Before, he was frustrated with it."
Stewart had his #33 Body Balance machine running very fast at Concord on Thursday.
As for the test, Stewart said it was positive.
"We are not running bad times compared to what we are hearing other guys have ran. Right now, we are just trying to get the car to feel better. We are not looking for the fastest times. We just need to get the car to drive better. If you can't keep it comfortable coming off of this dogleg coming off of turn two, you are in some big trouble. You should be able to hold it flat through there and not be nervous every lap.
"I told Gene I like the track. I ran well here the first race we ran here in ASA. I turned the fastest practice lap time. I know I can run this track. I like it. So if we can get the car where it is supposed to be, then I think we are going to be really good."
Stewart is not only working on his car, but also his relationship with new crew chief Gene Roberts (right).
You would think that running at Concord Motorsport Park, a track only two hours from his home, would be a breeze for ASA veteran Greg Stewart. But that is not the case. In fact, the Four Oaks (NC) driver never raced on the tricky tri-oval before ASA raced there two years ago.
Stewart says he has one of the hardest working teams in all of ASA and is looking forward to his best season yet.