After a string of races in Australia, Shane Stewart didn't let any grass grow under his feet upon returning back to the states. The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame's 360 Driver of the Year had no intentions of doing anything less than taking over where he had left off at the 2011 season's end. In fact, the driver headed to the East Bay Raceway Park, where he took two out of three King of the 360 Ronal Laney Memorial feature events during the weekend.
Shane Stewart recently won two out of three checkered flags while competing in the King of the 360 Ronal Laney Memorial at East Bay Raceway in Florida.
"I came into the Ronal Laney Memorial pretty confident coming off the way I had just run at AU," recalled Stewart. "We ended the sprint car series with a couple of good finishes, and I ran very well in the Chris Luck/Joe Gaetre/DDN/GLR Investments/Red Line Oil 3G in the past, so I knew what we were capable of."
After a strong heat on Thursday night, Stewart lined up in the third row of the feature. By the fourth lap, the driver had muscled his way to the third position, behind Lou Kennedy Sr. and Terry McCarl (T-MAC), where he waited for the opportunity to move into the lead. Finally, during the eleventh lap, Stewart took advantage of a mistake made by the two leading drivers, captured the lead, and took the checkered flag.
Returning the next night, the reigning Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour Champion, prepared to battle with the same stout field of drivers. Aboard his Media Tile/GLR/Hoosier Tire rig, Stewart once again worked his way to the front of the pack and took his second victory of the weekend.
Shane Stewart recently returned to Australia t race and return to the states after Easter.
Although starting on the last row Shane Stewart worked his way to a third place finish, scoring him the top point earner for the second time during the three-day event, and placing him in the third spot in the feature after the redraw.
When the waving of the green flag deemed the feature underway, T-Mac took an early lead, but Stewart managed to maneuver his way past the driver by the third lap. Holding on to the lead, the driver took his second victory, in turn earning him the pole starting position for the 40-lap finale of the event.
Lining up for the finale, Stewart took an early lead. Although taking precautions to preserve his tires, the driver experienced a flat in the thirty-first lap, causing him to fall back to the fourth position. His team changed the right rear tire and the driver lined up in the rear of the field with six laps to go. Stewart managed to work his way back to the seventh spot before the waving of the checkered flag.
When asked if his recent stint in Australia had an effect on his upcoming races, Stewart explained that he still had races scheduled and at the time of the interview was already back to Down Under. "Australia has gone very well for us so far; I say has gone, because I have a few more races back down here for Luch Monte before I return back to the states after Easter. I won the first two races when I was down here back in December in the Kratzman 77, and this past weekend I won the Krikke Boys Shootout with the Monte Team."
Shane Stewart is looking forward to returning to the states and anticipates a successful 2012 season.
When asked for a description of the Venues he has been visiting in Australia, Stewart continued, "Everything is smaller in AU than it is in the States. You get to see some different types of venues, as well as haulers down here. It's a great environment to race in as the fans are awesome, love racing and are very supportive."
As fans here in the United States gear up for the 2012 season, Shane Stewart and his team are anticipating another successful year. "The key to success will be the same as it is every year," Stewart said. "Take the season one race at a time, and focus on each event where we are racing. Keeping that mindset forces you to make each night its own individual season and not overlook anything."
When asked his plans for this season, Shane Stewart shared, "2012 is going to be different for sure, I am not running with any specific series, so I will be racing all over, trying to win as many races as possible." When asked if there was an event that he was anticipating, the driver continued, "Without a doubt, I am looking forward to the Knoxville Nationals. The last few years we have been right in the thick of things, and stood on the podium the last two years. Last year we had one of the best cars all week, and I can't wait to get back there and see if we can end up on top of the box on Saturday night."
As they have during previous seasons, Shane Stewart and his crew will depend upon K&N products to keep an adequate air flow and a high volume of oil running through his engine while keeping the internal components contaminant free. "For the last few years we have utilized K&N air filters, oil filters and filter cleaner," explained the driver. "In our sport maintenance and preparation are huge, so we only use the best to prep our cars with the best chances of standing in victory lane on a nightly basis."
In closing, Shane Stewart said, "I'm excited to get back to the states and compete in front of all my sponsors and fans in 2012. We have had a lot of good runs and good times in the past few years, and I am looking forward to the same type of success this year."
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