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A native of Columbus, Ind., Tony Stewart was a purist when it came to Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosting anything other than the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indy 500.
So, it didn’t sit well with Stewart two decades ago when speedway officials swung open the doors of the fabled Brickyard to NASCAR’s snarling stock cars for the first Sprint Cup race at Indy.
“The first time they came, I’ll be honest, I was 100 percent against it,’’ said Stewart. “When you grow up in the state of Indiana, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the Holy Grail to you. You know, I didn’t want to see anything different come to it. To me, it was the Indy 500 and that’s all it was supposed to be.’’