Not yet halfway through his first season as a NASCAR team owner, Tony Stewart already is thinking about expanding. Stewart-Haas Racing is enjoying a banner season, with Stewart leading the Sprint Cup standings and teammate Ryan Newman sitting seventh. That success has Stewart entertaining the idea of adding a third car next season.
“The biggest thing is you’ve got to make sure you can fund it first,” he said. “You can build a team, but if you don’t have the money to run it, it’s not going to work.
“We haven’t talked to anybody at this point. (We’re) just letting everybody know we’re open to discussing it. It doesn’t cost a dime to listen.”
Among the driver candidates should Stewart decide to move forward is Brad Keselowski, 25, who is third in the Nationwide Series standings driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports team.
Keselowski also has made five Cup starts this year. He won in April at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and was sixth Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Rick Hendrick, Earnhardt’s Cup boss, is a partner in the JR Motorsports team and last week met with Keselowski. Among the possibilities discussed for getting Keselowski a Cup ride in 2010 were moving JR Motorsports to the Cup series or putting him in a third car at Stewart-Haas Racing, which is a satellite operation with Hendrick Motorsports and leases its engines from Hendrick.
“There’s a lot of options out there,” Keselowski said.