With the Superstar Racing Experience – SRX for short – Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham want to stir up Saturday nights in the USA – But what’s behind the new series?
Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham, that sounds like a congenial duo in NASCAR racing. These two legends want to launch a new racing series in 2021, which is supposed to stir up the motorsport world on Saturday evenings. The stockcar series is called Superstar Racing Experience – SRX for short.
Also on board are Sandy Montag and George Pyne, who were als co-founders of the series. It is planned to broadcast the races on Saturday evenings on CBS Sports, a well-known sports channel in the USA. But what will the viewers actually see on these evenings?
In the first season Stewart and Evernham are planning a total of six races on short tracks in the USA. But not only the tracks will be short, the race distance will also differ from the usual NASCAR races, which usually last for several hours. The SRX Series, on the other hand, aims to entertain spectators with shorter races.
The driver-crew-chief pairings will be allocated by lottery so there will be new driver crew chief pairings every race. The stock cars that will be used will be designed and built by Evernham. All participants will receive identical material, so the only thing that will matter is the driver. In the media the SRX Series is already being compared with the former IROC Series (International Race of Champions), which was active until 2006.
Currently, the SRX Series is looking for drivers. Three drivers of the twelve cars large field have already been found: Series boss Stewart himself, Tony Kanaan, who has over 22 years of IndyCar experience, and Paul Tracy. The other nine participants have not yet been announced.
Who are Stewart and Evernham?
For NASCAR fans, Stewart and Evernham are very common names when it comes to the history of the most popular motorsport series in the USA. Stewart won the NASCAR title in his career in 2002, 2005 and 2011. He is also co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, the NASCAR team of Gene Haas, who is also active in Formula One. Stewart also owns the dirt track in Eldora and is a passionate sprint car driver.
Evernham has made a name for himself as crew chief at Hendrick Motorsports. Before he celebrated great successes with Jeff Gordon, Evernham also worked for Alan Kulwicki. In 1995, 1997 and 1998, he won three NASCAR titles with Gordon and snatched the famous victory in the 1997 Daytona 500. Later, Evernham started his own NASCAR team, for which Bill Elliott, Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne, among others, drove.
Why the comparison with the IROC Series?
The new SRX Series is currently often compared to the IROC Series, which was active from 1974 to 2006. Les Richter, Roger Penske and Mike Phelps founded an All-Star Series at that time, which mainly used stockcar cars on ovals. Here, too, identical cars – most recently a Pontiac Trans Am – were given to the drivers.
Big names regularly competed for the title: Mark Martin won the series five and Dale Earnhardt four times. The last champion of 2006 was Stewart himself. Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Bobby Labonte are also among the championship winners. At that time the drivers were invited to the IROC races.
Differently than in the SRX Series, any oval types and road courses were visited in the IROC era. In 2006, for example, the series made an appearance at the Daytona road course – where NASCAR will make its debut in 2020. Due to its long tradition the IROC Series is still present in the memory of many NASCAR fans and with the foundation of the SRX Series the IROC charm could find its way back into the motorsport world.
The debut of the SRX Series still has to wait a little, because the first race is planned for summer 2021. But until then the cars will be built, negotiations with potential partners will be held, the drivers will be selected and the calendar will be announced. So there is still a long way to go before the engines of the SRX bolides start to roar for the first time.