NASCAR Legends Help Kick Off Opening Week of SRX Series

Getty Bill Elliott makes his return to the SRX Series at Five Flags Speedway.

The Camping World SRX Series makes its return on Saturday, June 18, with the first of six events. 12 drivers, including five former NASCAR stars, will head to Five Flags Speedway to kick off the second season.

The list of drivers features returning champion Tony Stewart as he battles with fellow SRX veterans Michael Waltrip and Bobby Labonte. They will also face off with Bill Elliott, who ran full-time in 2021 before switching to a part-time schedule in 2022. The 1988 Cup Series champion will kick off the year at Five Flags Speedway before returning later in the year at Stafford Motor Speedway.

The fifth NASCAR veteran in the lineup is one that has no previous experience in SRX. Ryan Newman will make his series debut at Five Flags Speedway as he prepares to take on the full season. The Rocket Man will control the No. 39 Sun Outdoors entry while going toe-to-toe with 11 other talented drivers.

Along with the NASCAR stars, there will be several prominent drivers with success in a variety of series. The list includes 2012 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2003 Champ Car World Series champion Paul Tracy, two-time IndyCar Series winner Marco Andretti, 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, Late Model racer Bubba Pollard, and seven-time Trans-Am Series champion Ernie Francis Jr.

ALL the latest NASCAR news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on NASCAR newsletter here!

Sign up for the Heavy on NASCAR Newsletter!

The Race Weekend Features a Unique Format

Ryan Newman

GettyRyan Newman will make his SRX Series debut on June 18.

The SRX Series stands out due to a variety of reasons. Chief among them is the car. All of the drivers will be in control of identical, purpose-built vehicles that will highlight their abilities as drivers instead of the sizes of their wallets.

Another unique feature is the format that the SRX Series uses. Instead of running qualifying laps, the drivers take part in two 12-minute heat races that will set the starting lineup for the main event. The drivers will then head back out onto the track and battle for bragging rights and the championship points. This format is not a new invention, but it will be a change for the former NASCAR drivers.

The races will not be simple copies of the 2021 season. The SRX Series actually made the decision to switch up the first four races and put them on asphalt before finishing out the year with back-to-back dirt races. This change will only further test the drivers and their abilities behind the wheel.

Michael Waltrip Unveiled His New Sponsor

The vehicles may be identical, but they will all feature unique schemes to make them stand out on the track. Newman will have his Sun Outdoors entry, Stewart will have Good Sam on his entry, and Francis will kick off the year with a Camping World entry.

Waltrip unveiled his season-long sponsor on June 15. He and the SRX Series announced that Progressive will take over the No. 15 for the six-race schedule. He will drive a light blue and grey entry with a silhouette of Flo’s head on the hood and Progressive logos on the sides.

Waltrip ran full-time in the SRX Series during the 2021 season, and he achieved mixed results. He posted a DNF at Slinger Speedway, which was his worst outing of the season. His best performance was a fifth-place finish at Knoxville Raceway on June 19, 2021, while Stewart celebrated in Victory Lane.

READ NEXT: NASCAR Executive Sets Timeline, Teases Changes for 2023 Schedule

Read More