Chevy and GM back Stewart’s Sprint Car team

Racing is a part of Chevrolet’s DNA, and racing has always been the cornerstone of product development and marketing at GM Performance Parts. Now, the two powerhouse automotive brands have expanded their motorsports footprint by partnering with Tony Stewart Racing (TSR).TSR, owned by two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, fields multi-car teams in USAC and the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series out of a state-of-the-art 25,000-square-foot facility in Brownsburg, Ind.

“Our sponsorship of Tony Stewart Racing helps contribute to Chevrolet’s future success in motorsports," said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “USAC and the World of Outlaws have served as development series for a number of today’s premier drivers. It makes sense for Chevrolet to be in each series, not only to groom the talent that will one day compete in NASCAR and the IZOD IndyCar Series, but for us as a company to reach a very dedicated and passionate fan base. In addition, we want to establish Chevrolet as the engine manufacturer of choice for open-wheel racers around the country."

In USAC, TSR fields the No. 20 GM Performance Parts Chevy in the Sprint car division for driver Levi Jones. And in the Silver Crown ranks, TSR fields a pair of entries – the No. 10 GM Performance Parts Chevy for Jones and the No. 22 GM Performance Parts Chevy for driver Bryan Clauson.

In the World of Outlaws, TSR fields the No. 15 STP/Armor All/J&J Chevy for four-time series champion Donny Schatz and the No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Maxim Chevy for 20-time series champion Steve Kinser.

Chevrolet and GM Performance Parts will serve as co-primary sponsors of TSR’s USAC entries, while on the team’s World of Outlaws cars, Chevrolet and GM Performance Parts will serve as associate sponsors.

“Our goal when we formed Tony Stewart Racing was to create a grassroots motorsports program that would compete for wins and championships while promoting qualified drivers to the next level," said Stewart, who earned his NASCAR success by way of USAC as he captured four USAC national championships, including the elusive Triple Crown in 1995 when he earned titles in each of USAC’s top divisions – Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown. “We’ve been successful, but in order to remain successful we needed a partner committed to us and committed to motorsports. We have the perfect partners in Chevrolet and GM Performance Parts."

“Tony Stewart has been a big part of General Motors for years," added Campbell. “His IndyCar Series championship in 1997 was with Oldsmobile. His first Sprint Cup championship in 2002 was with Pontiac, and his second Sprint Cup championship in 2005 was with Chevrolet. While Tony has always been talented behind the wheel of a racecar, we also noticed that he was equally talented as a team owner. He’s put together a very strong organization and we’re proud to be a part of it."

Since its formation in November 2000, TSR has earned 13 owner championships – 10 in USAC and three in the World of Outlaws. Two of those titles were scored last season, with Jones capturing the USAC Sprint and Silver Crown titles.

The Sprint car championship was Jones’ fourth, and it gave Stewart five car owner titles in that division, while Jones’ Silver Crown triumph made Stewart that division’s winningest entrant with five titles.

Danny Lasoski earned TSR’s first championship in its inaugural season competing in the World of Outlaws, taking the 2001 championship. Schatz won two of his last four World of Outlaws titles driving for TSR in 2008 and 2009. (Schatz won the 2006 and 2007 World of Outlaws championships driving for his own family-run team.)

J.J. Yeley, Stewart’s former NASCAR teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, earned a USAC Sprint car championship for TSR in 2003, followed by Josh Wise in 2006 and Jones in 2007 and 2009. And in a co-owner role with Bob East, TSR won four straight USAC Silver Crown championships from 2002 to 2005 with a handful of drivers that included Yeley, current NASCAR star Kasey Kahne and Dave Steele.

Additionally, TSR has five Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals championships in the World of Outlaws. Lasoski captured victories in the famed winged sprint car event in 2001, 2003 and 2004, while Schatz earned Knoxville Nationals wins for TSR in 2008 and 2009.

Secondary to winning, the mission of TSR has been to select and groom future driving talent. Just a little more than a decade into TSR’s existence, that mission has been realized.

On the heels of his 2006 USAC Sprint car title, Wise followed the path treaded by Stewart to NASCAR, where he’s currently making a go at the stock car set by competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series. His move onto the next level of motorsports, and the earlier advancement of Yeley who has five years of NASCAR competition, was representative of Stewart’s goal for his racing teams – to serve as a springboard into racing’s upper echelons. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who drove for TSR for much of the 2007 season, is the most recent example of the TSR ladder system to NASCAR, for the 23-year-old is currently signed with Roush Fenway Racing. And Clauson, by virtue of winning the inaugural USAC National Driver Championship last year, is running all of the oval races on the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights schedule with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, the four-time and reigning Firestone Indy Lights championship-winning team.

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