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Lewis Hamilton and Tony Stewart swap cars at The Glen

Current Cup champion Jimmie Johnson has said much the same thing after running a Grand-Am race at the Glen last year, and Michael Printup said he would flag this up to NASCAR president Michael Helton right away.

"I've asked them over and over again, and I think this was just the real live testimonial that it can happen," he said. "Our races are becoming shorter now [in duration], because we've paved all the gravel traps, and we've taken out a lot of the mishaps and [lost a lot] of track time. Now we just have to pave 8, which is down in the heel of the boot, and I think we could have some great racing.

"Like Tony and I were talking after the [car swap], it's just going to give us a lot more opportunity to pass," Printup continued, saying that the trade-off would see a reduction in the number of overall laps. "I think that would make it more exciting for the fans, and it opens up another major section where fans love to view racing."

At 40, there's no chance any more of Tony Stewart ever making the move to F1, but a future career in NASCAR may be something that 26-year-old Lewis Hamilton considers whenever he decides his time in F1 is up.

He would be in good company, with former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve and Hamilton's predecessor at McLaren Juan Pablo Montoya already having gone down that road with varying degrees of success - Montoya already having made history by becoming the first non-American driver to make it through to the post-regular season Chase.

"I'm good friends with Juan," said Stewart. "I like talking to him about what we did in IndyCar racing, his stint in F1. He's a great competitor in the Cup Series. My driver on our team [Ryan Newman], they had a little run-in earlier this year which put me in a bad spot because I'm friends with both of them.

"It's fun to watch guys like [Montoya]. We had him at our [Prelude to the Dream] charity dirt race a couple years ago. He had never been on a dirt track, never driven that type of race car. To watch him adapt to that type of car so quickly, it shows there's great race car drivers around the world. It's a matter of where do they want to be, do they have opportunities."

Stewart made an offer to Hamilton about dirt tracking, should he be interested and available in 2012: "If he wants to come run The Prelude next year, I will personally pay for a brand-new car to come there. If he wants it, he's got it. We'll have him a brand-new one sitting there ready to go!

"Guys like Juan and Nelson [Piquet Jr. in the Truck Series] being able to have the success they're having will create other opportunities for other foreign drivers to come into the series. Our sport has evolved so much over the last 15, 20 years, it used to be a regional sport in the States, now it's nationwide and worldwide. I think NASCAR welcomes everybody with open arms."

Hamilton admitted that "I've not been to a NASCAR race, but I would love to go and get a feel and sense ... I'm sure around the world there's things that we all can learn from each other." But Lewis knows that to turn up to watch a NASCAR race anytime soon would most likely set all sorts of rumours about imminent series defection swirling, much as a meeting with Christian Horner in Montreal had convinced many F1 pundits that a switch for him to Red Bull was on the cards.




Related Pictures

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IndyCar star Scott Dixon gives NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray some tips about driving an IndyCar at Barber Motorsports Park in March 2011. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
IndyCar star Scott Dixon gets some pointers about how to drive Jamie McMurray`s NASCAR stock car at Talladega Superspeedway in March 2011. [Picture credit: LAT Photo USA for IndyCar Media]
IndyCar star Scott Dixon and NASCAR star Jamie McMurray pose with their cars at Talladega Superspeedway in March 2011. [Picture credit: LAT Photo USA for IndyCar Media]
NASCAR star Jamie McMurray tries out the cockpit of an IndyCar for size at Barber Motorsports Park in March 2011. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
IndyCar star Scott Dixon finds that even getting into the NASCAR stock car is a whole new experience (March 2011) [Picture credit: LAT Photo USA for IndyCar Media]
NASCAR driver Tony Stewart (left) and F1 driver Lewis Hamilton (right) pose for a photo on the start-finish line at Watkins Glen International on June 14 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. [Picture Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images for Mobil 1]
Lewis Hamilton drives the F1 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 alongside Tony Stewart, driving the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, during the Mobil 1 Car Swap at Watkins Glen International on June 14 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. [Picture Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images for Mobil 1]
Lewis Hamilton driver of the F1 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23, inspects the car of Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, during his seat fitting during the Mobil 1 Car Swap at Watkins Glen International on June 14 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. [Picture Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images for Mobil 1]
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Scott Products Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, August 10, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Scott Products Chevrolet SS, celebrates his first Sprint Cup win Sunday, August 10, 2014 in the Cheez-It 355 race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Scott Products Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday, August 10, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Scott Products Chevrolet SS, celebrates his first Sprint Cup win Sunday, August 10, 2014 in the Cheez-It 355 race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman and Michael McDowell wreck at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger celebrates with the chequered flag at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger celebrates in victory lane at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose lead the field to a restart at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger leads Marcos Ambrose at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger celebrates with a burnout after winning at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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