Lost Marbles: Are open-wheelers the future of NASCAR?

Nick Bromberg

Did you know that The Marbles has been around since NASCAR's beginnings? It's true!* And we've just recently come across a treasure trove of old Marbles posts from days gone by! Check out what was being said right here during the greatest moments in NASCAR history, only on Lost Marbles!

Tony Stewart might have just ushered in a changing of the guard here in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series with his dominating win Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.

Stewart started 11th, but was in the lead by lap 87 and didn't relinquish the lead past lap 159 except for pit stops to cycle through.

Stewart's raw talent and car control are undeniable and that can be attributed to his open wheel days, most recently in the IRL, where he dominated until making the leap to NASCAR. We all thought that Stewart had potential but we also figured that there would be a bit of a transition period as he got used to the heavier stock cars.

Apparently that transition was easier than we thought as Stewart first reached Victory Lane at Richmond just eight races ago, and found Victory Lane here at Phoenix with ease. And maybe there is some crossover effect, as Stewart finished second at Phoenix last year in the IRL on his way to the title.

There's no doubt that Stewart can be a champion at this level because he's got the support of Home Depot and Joe Gibbs Racing, who look primed to take a title in the not too distant future with Bobby Labonte. But one has to wonder if Stewart's instant success is going to lead to a flood of open wheel drivers to NASCAR's ranks?

Stewart wasn't too successful with the Busch Series cars when he ran part time last year, but that was more of a learning experience than a team intent on winning. Don't be surprised if you see NASCAR owners reaching out to Kenny Brack and Scott Sharp to see if they want to make the jump to the NASCAR ranks, given the uncertain future of open-wheel racing in this country thanks to the split.

*-Nope, still not true