At the heart of the wildly popular “Midsummer Night’s Dream” is the illusion of a dualistic world, which has served a healthy dose of frustration for those attempting to analyze the meaning behind Shakespeare’s words.
Frustration is a state in which Tony Stewart has been quite familiar with this season. He has struggled to get a handle on the 2015 rules package, which features decreased horsepower and increased downforce. A reprieve, however, is on the horizon, as Saturday night’s 400-mile race around Kentucky’s 1.5-mile oval could be Stewart’s midsummer night’s dream.
A change to the rules package is on tap for Kentucky, beginning with an open test at the facility on Wednesday before practice and qualifying on Friday. All Sprint Cup cars, including Stewart’s No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Chevrolet SS, will be fitted with a 3.5-inch rear spoiler, a 25-inch radiator pan and a splitter overhang at 1.75 inches less than before. Collectively, it will reduce aerodynamic downforce.
It’s a step in the right direction for Stewart, who in his 37-year driving career has always piloted cars with more horsepower than can be applied to the racing surface, allowing him to steer the car through the corners via the throttle.
Stewart still yearns for increased horsepower, but ranked 25th in the championship standings 17 races into the 36-race season, the three-time Sprint Cup champion will gladly take the updated aero package being offered at Kentucky. Of course, it remains to be seen what effect it will have, perhaps even after 400 miles on Saturday night since Kentucky’s bumpy surface makes it an outlier from all the other intermediate ovals that make up the majority of the Sprint Cup schedule.
Regardless, Stewart will keep trucking, which is appropriate considering his sponsor at Kentucky is Rush Truck Centers. A subsidiary of Rush Enterprises, Inc., Rush Truck Centers is the premier service solutions provider to the commercial vehicle industry and the United States’ largest network of truck and bus dealerships, representing industry-leading brands. With more than 120 dealership locations in 20 states, all of which are strategically located in high-traffic areas or near major highways, Rush Truck Centers operate as one-stop vehicle centers offering an integrated approach to the needs of its customers – from sales of new and used vehicles to aftermarket parts, service and body shop operations plus financing, insurance, leasing and rental.
For just the fifth time, Kentucky plays host to NASCAR’s elite series after joining the Sprint Cup schedule in 2011. It’s one of only two tracks where Stewart has yet to record a Sprint Cup win. The other is Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, the oldest venue on the Sprint Cup schedule. Stewart would like nothing more than to cross Kentucky off his to-do list. If he manages to emerge victorious Saturday night, fans will be treated to two first-time winners, as it would also be a first for Rush Truck Centers.
With a best finish of sixth earned earlier this season at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Stewart is intent on improving his numbers. And with a perceived improvement in the rules package for Kentucky, the Bluegrass State could very well improve Stewart’s state by turning his midsummer night’s dream into reality.