SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points champion Tony Stewart visited Springfield-based Bass Pro Shops on Thursday evening to unofficially announce he is teaming with the outdoor superstore for 2013.
"This is a very natural partnership and I think we're going to have a lot of fun," said Stewart.
Stewart is a long time friend of Bass Pro owner Johnny Morris and said that friendship came before business.
"To get this done where it helps Bass Pro and helps us at the same time, it's something we've dreamed about for a long while."
Stewart rode his newly designed demo car into the parking lot with a police escort at 5:20 p.m.
"Smoke" was making the appearance in Springfield before traveling to Talladega Superspeedway for this weekend's Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at noon Central time on Sunday.
"We've got seven weeks to go so we've got a lot of racing to do. As much as we got behind in the first couple weeks (of the chase for the cup) we can make it back at Talladega."The announcement was originally intended to come on Friday, but came a day early.
"There's nothing like letting the cat out of the bag a day early," Stewart said minutes before the announcement.
The move is already reflected on TonyStewartRacing.com.