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Tony Stewart silent on Indy 500 speculation

Tony Stewart has yet to comment on an offer from Roger Penske to field a car and crew for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 should the three-time Cup champion wish to make a one-off return to IndyCar next year.
Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and 1997 Indy Racing League champion Tony Stewart has not yet commented on suggestions that he should return to open-wheel racing with a one-off Indianapolis 500 appearance in 2013.

Leading NASCAR and IZOD IndyCar Series team owner Roger Penske made a public offer to Stewart at the weekend to provide a car and crew should 'Smoke' wish to make an Indy 500 run next year, possibly as a back-to-back outing together with the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 race run later in the evening on the same day in May t Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"You're a car owner," Penske said in his victory speech as the winning car owner in the Sprint Cup victory banquet at the weekend. "You're a race driver, you're a track promoter - how about doing the double at Indy this year? Are you available?"

Initially dismissed as just a jokey aside during a banter-filled week of post-season celebrations, Penske maintained later that the offer was perfectly serious should Stewart be up for it.

“If he wants to do the double, I'd put him in it,” Penske said afterwards. “He and I have talked about it. I guess I gave him an official [offer] tonight.”

Even though the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has set up a 'Smoke2Indy' petition on its website, it's considered unlikely that Stewart will pick up the offer next year.

Previously there had been speculation that Danica Patrick - who will join Stewart's Sprint Cup team full-time in 2013 after a season in the second-tier Nationwide competition - might be persuaded to return for a one-off appearance in the Indy 500 next season, but this has been ruled out with Stewart-Haas Racing saying that it wanted Patrick to focus on her Cup campaign and not get distracted.

Brian Vickers is another NASCAR driver who has made no secret of his desire to run in the Indy 500.

"I'm serious about Indy. Would do it in a heartbeat, was not just tweeting to be funny," said Vickers on Monday. He currently shares the #55 Cup car part time with Mark Martin and team owner Michael Waltrip, and will join Joe Gibbs Racing for a full Nationwide Series campaign in 2013.

New team to debut in 2013 Sprint Cup

A new team will join the NASCAR Sprint Cup field in February at Daytona International Speedway for the first race of the 2013 season, the famous Daytona 500.



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Roger Penske during the 2011 pre-season Sprint Media Tour [Picture Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR}
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 13 in Concord, N.C. [Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR]
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with a burnout after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
With General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, holds the Michigan Heritage Trophy after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. In 2013, MIS began awarding the Michigan Heritage Trophy as a recognition and celebration of the automobile and it`s importance to the race track and the manufacturers competing in NASCAR. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with his crew after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates capturing the pole position Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The was Gordon`s second pole position this season. He set a new track record in the final round of qualifying with a lap of 206.558 mph. Gordon is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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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)
Regan Smith prepares to stand in for Tony Stewart at short notice at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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