NASCAR Driver Tony Stewart will meet the media, sign autographs and open the 2001 racing season at the state-of-the-art Kentucky Speedway™ when he drives in a 50-lap USAC WorldCom Midget Car Series event on Friday, May 11.

The USAC race is one half of the "Jani King Twin 50's" short track event, which also will feature the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series on the speedway's new quarter-mile paved track and ARCA Re/Max Series qualifying on the 1.5-mile track.

On Saturday, May 12 Daytona 500 Champion Michael Waltrip will join Sterling Marlin, Brett Bodine and Ernie Irvan in a special autograph session and Legends car race. Then the ARCA Re/Max stock cars take to the 1.5-mile, tri-oval track for a 150-mile race during the "700 WLW Day at the Races."

"We're on a roll. Tony (Stewart) appears Friday and Michael (Waltrip), Sterling (Marlin), Brett (Bodine), and Ernie (Irvin) appear Saturday. The fans really enjoy meeting the NASCAR Winston Cup stars and these appearances will add even more excitement to a great opening weekend," said Mark F. Cassis, executive vice president and general manager of Kentucky Speedway.

Stewart is no stranger to the USAC Midget Car Series. "USAC racing is where I got my breaks in racing. It's kind of like going home for a short time. I really look forward to these rare opportunities because with the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule and my commitment to my team and our goals this season, it doesn't leave much time for me to sneak off and play, " Stewart said. "I am looking forward to seeing all of the great open wheel fans as well when I am there. They have always been very supportive of us and I enjoy having the chance to go back and visit with them even if it is for a short time. It will be a great weekend at Kentucky."

USAC officials predict a talented field will challenge Stewart. "USAC's participants and officials are certainly looking forward to the May 11 date at one of America's premiere facilities," said USAC WorldCom Midget Car Series Coordinator Jason Smith. "We are also looking forward to former series champion Tony Stewart's return to competition, but we expect him to be hard-pressed to repeat the success he enjoyed in his two 2000 USAC Midget Car outings. The field he'll face at Kentucky Speedway will be one of the most talented in American motorsports."

This is the first of four race weekends at Kentucky Speedway™. NASCAR Busch, CraftsmanTruck, Gatorade All-Pro, Goody's DASH and the Indy Racing Northern Light Series will all make stops at Sparta, KY.

Fans can purchase tickets for all events including the much anticipated, June 16th Inaugural NASCAR Busch Series event, "The Outback Steakhouse 300."