Dan Wetzel:

Jay Busbee

Tony Stewart will race anybody, anywhere, anytime

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Yet another reason why NASCAR drivers set a high public-relations standard for others to follow -- Tony Stewart recently hopped in a beater and joined a horde of amateur drivers and shade-tree mechanics to run in the "ChumpCar" 24-hour race at Virginia International Raceway.

Smoke has plenty of experience with small-scale racing, having both journeyed to Australia and manned a tractor at the Chili Bowl this year alone. At the ChumpCar, as Jalopnik notes, drivers can't run cars worth more than $500, and since that's about the cost of one Sprint Cup tire, Smoke had to do a little backpedaling to get a ride that dropped to that level. And so he did, as you can see at right.

But how did Smoke finish? He ended up 8th, which means that seven drivers out there have a story of a lifetime, and a bunch more now know what it's like to get dusted by Stewart on the track. Like this account, from "tataracer":

I have to say, the guys on the other teams were cool, however it didn't stop em from leaving my ass in their dust. This was when I saw Tony Stewart coming up behind me on the bend, passing me on the left gliding ever so smoothly in front of me, leaving me watching his tail lights ride off into the horizon.

Or this one, from "dweymer" on a ChumpCar message board:

When the main car died, the organizers told me if we could get the 944 running and pass tech, we could run it. So we DID ... Oh, and also,,,,,I passed Tony Stewart!

So what's it like to run on a track with Tony Stewart? dweymer offers up a video for your enjoyment:

Hats off to Tony Stewart for staying in touch with his racing roots this way. Good stuff.

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