SRX Series Lucas Oil Speedway Preview

(Press release from Camping World SRX Series)

Clint Bowyer, Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace have all seen the dirt at Lucas Oil Speedway prior to tomorrow night’s Camping World SRX Thursday Night Thunder race on ESPN, but do you know who hasn’t? 

That would be the two remaining championship frontrunners, 2008 Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman and 2021 series champion Tony Stewart.  

“I can tell you from my side, I know the same amount of information as you do,” Stewart said. “You know, neither one of us has been to Lucas Oil. I’ve seen it on TV, obviously, and it’s a beautiful facility. I’m excited to be there but you don’t know what you don’t know. 

“And I think that’s kind of the best part about the scenario of Ryan and I racing for a championship is that we have never been there before, never competed there before and now we’re going to go settle a championship at a race track that we’re going into blind.  

“I think that’s going to make it kind of fun.” 

Stewart will need to have a perfect race day to claim his second championship, likely needing a clean sweep of the night to close the gap, something he did last week at Eldora Speedway. Of course, bad luck like last week in the opening heat at Eldora is also a reflection of how quickly a narrative can flip. 

“Ryan definitely has the upper hand here, but we’re going to do everything in our power to try to do whatever we can to catch him by the end of this thing,” Stewart said. “You know, we’ve seen in racing throughout the years that all it takes is one moment, one corner and it completely changes the complexity of it.” 

It’s also a special moment for Stewart to race Newman for the championship because they came up together in USAC, competed against each other in NASCAR and were even teammates in the earliest days of Stewart-Haas Racing. 

With that said, he also issued a playful warning to Newman.  

“We’ve been teammates for a long time and we’ve been friends for years,” Stewart said. “This is what you would consider an ideal situation, I think for both of us, to be racing each other for a championship.  

“He’s got a pretty good point lead but anything can happen. If all of a sudden he gets spun around on the pace lap, you’ll probably know it was me because that may be the best shot I’ve got at catching him before they drop the green. 

“But, I think it’s fun for us to have this opportunity and you want it to be about who does the best job over six weeks.” 


Ryan Newman hasn’t won a Camping World SRX race since winning at Stafford Motor Speedway in 2022, but the current points leader has been a consistent contender throughout the first five races this summer without a single finish outside of the top-five. 

He has registered a pair of heat wins and that’s the difference in the standings to Stewart. When told that Smoke may just wreck him for the points lead, Newman had quick rebuttal prepared for that too.  

“Well, you know, after he spins me out in the heat races, I can always take that 15 minute break and lock him into an outhouse and figure out some other way to handle the situation just due to my body size, you know,” Newman said with a laugh. 

“No, I really just look forward to the opportunity to go there and race. We had a pretty good two or three lap battle at Eldora trading slide jobs back and forth. And I look forward to that opportunity again. We know we race hard together. We typically always do our best to race clean together, even though rubbin’s racing. But at the same time, we want to be there to put on a show for the fans.” 


Six weeks of racing in the dead of summer with your buddies, frenemies and idols basically makes Camping World SRX a lot like summer camp for racers across the national motorsport landscape.  

 it a lot like a summer camp for racer drivers across the national motorsports disciplines. Newman has certainly had fun with it.  

“They do such a great job making sure that the cars are all within hundredths of a second with the same two drivers testing it with David Stremme and Ken Schrader,” Newman said. “That is impressive by itself because we’ve all been to the go-kart track and ended up with the slow kart, and no matter how much it’s just supposed to be for fun, that makes it miserable. 

“I’m really proud to be part of this because when everyone is on a level playing field, its just fun racing across the board.” 

Stewart loves the camaraderie behind the scenes, the stories, the conversations and the memories with these drivers is priceless. 

“When we’re not in the cars, we’re all together in one of the two driver motor homes, and occasionally we’ll drift over to the other one,” Stewart said. “Hearing the stories, it’s one of the things that I kind of wish everybody could see, the camaraderie. 

“But at the same time, if we put a camera in there and microphones, I don’t think it would be what it is. But I can tell you from three years of being in this series, the conversations off the track in the motor homes are priceless. Just hearing some of your heroes talking about their lives and what they’re doing, what they’ve been doing. 

“When you get Castroneves and Tony Kanaan in the same bus together, you just sit down, grab a beverage and enjoy the show because those to talking to each other is a show by itself.” 


What did SRX CEO Don Hawk say about this car’s speed at Lucas Oil? 

“When we tested the racetrack, it is about half a second to 7/10ths of a second quicker than Eldora,” Hawk said. “But it makes sense because it is a shorter track. It’s three eighths of a mile. It’s not banked the same. But this place is beautiful. The other thing is just an FYI, we are gonna have a competition caution early in the race to make sure the grills are clean, make sure we don’t have a problem like last week.” 

Newman is looking forward to a new challenge. 

“So I think for a lot of us, it’s going to be a learning experience and seeing what the racetrack does and adjusting our driving style, driving lines,” Newman said. “It’ll be interesting if it’s, you know, right around the bottom, right around the top, or if we can make, you know, two defined racing grooves out of it. We won’t know until we get there.” 

Who can you expect to put a dent in Stewart’s near-perfect dirt racing in SRX record? Newman says not to count out Schrader, fresh off a victory on Monday in the NASCAR Pintys Series race on the dirt at Ohsweken Speedway in Ontario. 

“He’s probably as high emotionally on a dirt track as he’s been in a long time,” Newman added. “So yeah, we may be talking about some other people besides us in the end.” 

Stewart said virtually anyone could win, and that’s the effectively the point of Camping World SRX.  

“You know, Kenny Schrader, Kenny Wallace, Clint Boyer, these are all guys that – well, Kenny Wallace didn’t have a dirt background until he retired from NASCAR,” Stewart said. “And Schrader and I convinced him that there was a bigger, better world out there – that, you know, underneath the grass and the sod was dirt and that it was a lot of fun. And now he’s fallen in love with it.  

“But there’s guys that have a, a deep dirt background, Davenport this week. I mean, we have a strong contingent of dirt track drivers that are going to race with us this weekend. So, there isn’t going to be anything easy about this week.” 


Lucas Oil Speedway has added additional stands, and all 21 VIP suites are sold out for Thursday Night Thunder. 

It will be standing room only once seating capacity is reached with blanket and lawn chair seating in the grass area above turns 1 and 2. With sold out shows at both Berlin Raceway,and Stafford Motor Speedway earlier this summer, the fans have certainly showed up for the third season of the Superstar Racing Experience. 

“We broke another record this year, too” CEO Don Hawk said. “Because when Davenport takes the green flag, in 2023 alone, 26 different drivers will have competed in SRX.” 


06 Helio Castroneves
07 Clint Bowyer
1 Marco Andretti
5 Hailie Deegan
6 Brad Keselowski
14 Tony Stewart
18 Bobby Labonte
36 Kenny Wallace
39 Ryan Newman
49 Jonathan Davenport
52 Ken Schrader
99 Ernie Francis Jr 


1. Ryan Newman 183pts
2. Tony Stewart 144pts (-39pts)
3. Marco Andretti 136pts (-47pts)
4. Brad Keselowski 133pts (-50pts)
5. Bobby Labonte 129pts (-54pts)
6. Hailie Deegan 124pts (-59pts)
7. Ken Schrader 117pts (-66pts) 

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