Stewart charity backing 500 car

Tony Stewart is back in the Indy 500 — just not as a driver.

The Columbus native, through the Tony Stewart Foundation and the newly-formed TEAM ONE CURE, will support an entry. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports will provide the entry for TEAM ONE CURE, but a driver has not been announced.

TEAM ONE CURE was formed to create awareness, enthusiasm and understanding of the Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center. The FACC is developing cutting edge cancer treatments for people and pets, and Stewart has long been an advocate for children and animals.

“We learned that with the One Cure program, cancer treatment breakthroughs are happening through collaboration between scientists and doctors working with both people and pets,” Stewart said in a news release. “It perfectly fits with my foundation’s missions to help children and animals. Sam Schmidt represents the very best in an injured racer overcoming adversity, plus we share the passion to win at IMS.”

Schmidt, who became a quadriplegic after a racing accident in 2000, is co-owner of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, which is based in Indianapolis. The Tony Stewart Foundation includes assistance to drivers injured in the sport of motor racing.

“I’ve been extremely lucky to pursue a racing career in its many forms,” Stewart said. “My foundation provides the vehicle to give back to others experiencing difficulty or trauma. It was easy to select children with critical illness or physical disabilities, along with animals that are at-risk.”

This year’s Indy 500 is May 28.

Stewart raced in the Indy 500 five times between 1996 and 2001. He competed at NASCAR’s highest level from 1999 to 2016, winning 49 races and three Cup championships before retiring from that circuit at the end of last season.

However, Stewart is not done with racing completely. He has plans to drive in about 80 events this year, including the Little 500 sprint car race at Anderson Speedway the night before the Indy 500.