Tony Stewart eyes future ride

CONCORD, N.C. -- Tony Stewart hasn't closed the door on Roger Penske's offer to drive one of his cars in the Indianapolis 500 -- sometime after 2013, that is.

Penske made the offer during the 2012 Sprint Cup banquet in Las Vegas to have the three-time champion drive one of his Indy 500 cars this year in the race he's won more times -- 15 -- than any other owner.

Stewart turned down the offer, but during a dinner with Penske in Indianapolis countered to make it an "open-ended invitation.''

"Hopefully somewhere [down the road] I'll accept that offer," Stewart said during Monday's first day of the Sprint Media Tour.

Stewart reiterated that he was flattered by the offer and that he turned it down because his focus is on his Sprint Cup team, which adds former IndyCar driver Danica Patrick to its lineup this year. There also are logistical issues with the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Coke 600 run on the same day in May.

Stewart won the Indy Racing League title in 1997 and has run the Indianapolis 500 five times, his best finish fifth in '97.

Patrick also has decided not to run in this year's Indy 500 to focus on her first full year in the Sprint Cup Series. She recently left open the possibility of running in future 500s with GoDaddy.com as her sponsor.

"I feel like Tony is my in now," she said of the Penske offer. "Can you put in a good word for me?: