Sprint back: Tony Stewart's return to RRV Speedway next week was faster than expected
When Tony Stewart raced at the Red River Valley Speedway in June, the two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champ said he would return to the dirt track.
Most didn't expect his return would come so soon.
Stewart will race at the RRVS for the second time this summer next week. Stewart will drive a sprint car for the All Star Sprints Show next Thursday.
"He knew we were having an All-Star sprint car show and he wanted to take a look at it," said Fargo driver Donny Schatz on WDAY 970-AM's "Sports Talk" on Wednesday. "We kind of just blocked it out. We didn't want to lean on him too hard to come up here twice in a year."
Schatz, who drives a car for Stewart on the World of Outlaws sprint car circuit, will also compete in the All Star Sprints. The four-time defending World of Outlaws champion, Schatz is in fourth place in WoO points this season.
Danny Schatz, Donny's father, took over track operations in the offseason when the RRVS was in jeopardy of not running this summer.
Prior to racing at the RRVS on June 23, Stewart said his friendship with the Schatz family was the reason he decided to race at the track. Stewart raced in a Late Model in June and finished in third place in the feature.
"Friends do that for each other," Donny Schatz said. "I've done a lot of things for him and in return he's doing a lot of things for (me). We're awful excited about it.
"We can plan on next year. He's already said he is going to come back. We'll try to do things to make things better for everyone for next year."
The RRVS will also host a USMTS Modifieds Show on Wednesday with Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace being featured on that night. Schrader and Wallace have both raced on the NASCAR circuit.
Ivan Sailer, operations director for the Valley Racing Group, said Wallace confirmed he would be racing in the event within the last week.
"With these guys here and doing a doubleheader we should be able to put on a pretty good program," Sailer said. "Hopefully, we can fill the grandstand like when Tony was here before."
An estimated 8,500 fans packed the stands for the Tony Stewart Night in June. Donny Schatz said it could be hard to replicate that crowd due to the short notice.
Donny said late Tuesday afternoon is when Stewart confirmed he was making a return to the RRVS.
"He said, 'I got some good news and some bad news.' I said, 'Well rattle the bad news off for me first,' " Donny Schatz said of his phone conversation with Stewart. "He said, 'Well, you're going to have some competition at the All-Star show in Fargo.' I said, 'Well what's the good news?' He said, 'I'm coming.' "