Former NASCAR champion Tony Stewart is returning to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Stewart, who is also a former Verizon IndyCar Series champion, will sponsor a car in the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500.
The Tony Stewart Foundation has formed Team One Cure and will sponsor an Indy 500 entry along with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Team One Cure aims to create awareness for the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University, which develops cancer treatments for humans and pets.
"We learned that, with the One Cure program, cancer treatment breakthroughs are happening through collaboration between scientists and doctors working with both people and pets," said Stewart, who captured the 1997 Verizon IndyCar Series crown before turning his attention to stock cars. “It perfectly fits with my foundation’s missions to help children and animals. Sam Schmidt represents the very best in an injured racer overcoming adversity, plus we share the passion to win at IMS.”
The driver of the No. 77 Honda is yet to be announced. Rodney Page, director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center, says the sponsorship in the famed race will raise great awareness.
"We need a new way to race for potential cures to cancer, and pets may provide the answer," said Page. "Partnering with the Tony Stewart Foundation for Team One Cure provides a strong start to helping many people understand that cancer occurs in pets in a similar rate to humans and that it occurs naturally. Cancer is cancer, so what is learned in pets being treated for cancer holds promise to also benefit people and vice-versa."
Stewart himself is not participating in the race as a driver. He last competed in the Indy 500 in 2001, when he finished sixth. Stewart retired from NASCAR in 2016.