Pirelli AMA Motorcross racer James “Bubba” Stewart might be sick of being called a Future Star for NASCAR – especially when he’s running and winning races on a bike. But, the possibility of Stewart becoming the first genuine African AMerican star on America’s biggest racing circuit is a story that isn’t going away anytime soon.
As the #7 racer for JS7 Racing under the Joe Gibbs banner, Stewart recovered from injuries and assorted setbacks in 2011 to return to the Motorcross circuit this year. During an interview and press event announcing the new Pirelli Scorpion MX554 motorcycle tire, Stewart discussed his progress on the bike circuit and the possibilities of moving into very fast four wheeled vehicles in the future.
Crave Online: Fans and the racing media keep wondering if and when you’ll switch to NASCAR. Does that possibility intrigue or bother you?
James Stewart: I’m not thinking about it now. Otherwise, it might get to me. It’d be like when I decided to join (Joe Gibbs Racing). I had to make that decision because I couldn't sleep anymore. I was having issues sleeping, trying to figure out which brand and what opportunity I was going to take.
Crave Online: Joe Gibbs Racing runs everything from motorcycles to the Sprint Cup series. What does being a part of that do for you as a racer?
James Stewart: I’ve said before – if there’s something you need built or changed – they’ll make five of them. JGR has NASCAR resources and (fabrication) machines. They can build stuff and really make the Yamaha fit for me. Plus, there are unlimited Pirelli Tires – any elite equipment we need.
We have the resources now that allow us do whatever we need to win races. We have top engineers from NASCAR working on my motorcycle. It’s just an amazing step up and makes it a lot more exciting – a lot more fun.
Crave Online: You run Pirelli Tires and a Yamaha motorcycle. How did you settle on that equipment?
James Stewart: I’ve said before – I had an opportunity to ride every kind of motorcycle that runs on our circuit. I could ride any motorcycle and get along with any team. I had an offer from Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and others teams.
But, I wanted to go racing and not have to worry about equipment, parts, tires, anything. I’m with the right team now. This was the best place to do that. I end up in their racing program, and they can help me get to my future of going into NASCAR.
Crave Online: There’s that magic word. There are so many eyes on you waiting to see if and when you make that jump to NASCAR, whether it’s Nationwide or Sprint Cup. There’ll be a lot of pressure and attention on you if you become the sport’s first African American star. Now, you talk as though it’s on your mind as just a matter of time. When do you see yourself making that jump?
James Stewart: I don’t know yet. And, so I can focus on racing AMA right now, my dad handles a lot of those questions. You’ll have to ask him.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS