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Car: #20 Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nextel Cup seriesBorn: May 20, 1971 in Columbus, Indiana
Career highlights: Stewart is a two-time Cup Series champion, and is considered to be one of the best drivers in NASCAR, if not the best, with 25 career wins. Stewart’s bad-boy image and driving skills make him hugely popular with fans.
Early in his career, he was perceived as having an anger problem – including run-ins with reporters and photographers – but he has made attempts in recent years to redeem his troublemaker image.
Before the 2005 season, he moved into his boyhood home in Columbus, Indiana – a move that is credited with allowing him to relax and focus on winning his second championship – though he is not past putting a fender on an opponent or bashing them in a post-race interview.
Stewart is known as a “racer’s racer,” for his incredible car control at the wheel of any racecar. He has won 10 national championships in different types of racing, and he loves dirt-track racing so much that in 2004 he bought the Eldora Speedway, the legendary half-mile dirt-track in Rossburg, Ohio, where Stewart raced as a teenager. He occasionally races in exhibitions at the track, bringing many of the superstars of NASCAR along with him.
In 2005, on the way to his second Cup championship, Stewart created a victory celebration in which he stops his car at the finish line, gets out and climbs the fence to the starters box, where he takes the checkered flag. This move prompted his sponsor, Home Depot, to offer discounts on fences and ladders each time Stewart won.
When he won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – known as “The Brickyard” for the yard of bricks that marks the start/finish line – Home Depot offered discounts on bricks. Stewart repeatedly jokes that he is too fat for his victory celebration, and reportedly bought several thousand dollars worth of exercise equipment to remedy the situation.
Stewart has on-again, off-again relationships with two longtime girlfriends, Krista Dwyer and Jaime Schaffer. It is with Dwyer that he acquired his famous pet monkey, Mojo, though the animal now lives with Dwyer. Stewart also has a six-pound Chihuahua named Kayle, which travels to races with him and sleeps next to him, providing a humorous counterpoint to his bad-boy image.
- Stewart has won at nearly every form of auto racing, beginning with a World Karting Championship in 1987. He raced three-quarter midgets for several years, before moving up to the USAC series, where he won Rookie of the Year in 1991 and the National Midget Series Champion in 1994. In 1995, Stewart became the first driver to win the USAC Triple Crown by winning the National Midget, Sprint, and Silver Crown Championships (the feat was equaled by his current Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, J.J. Yeley, in 2003).
- In 1996, Stewart moved to Indy Cars and won the IRL Rookie of the Year award. That same year, he made his NASCAR debut, racing in nine Busch Series races for owner Harry Rainer, though his highest finish was 16th.
- In 1997, Stewart won his first IRL race at Pikes Peak, and beat Davey Hamilton to win the IRL series championship. He continued racing occasionally in the Busch Series in 1997, but this time he was driving for Joe Gibbs, the Washington Redskins coach and NASCAR team owner.
- In 1998, Stewart ran 22 races in the Busch Series while continuing to run full-time in the IRL, where he won twice and finished third in the standings.
- In 1999, Stewart left the IRL to race full-time for Gibbs in the Cup Series, getting behind the wheel of the orange #20 Home Depot car for the first time. He immediately impressed, qualifying second for the Daytona 500 and battling Dale Earnhardt in one of the Gatorade Twin 125 qualifying races, which Earnhardt has owned throughout his career. Stewart continued the season in record-setting fashion. He set a rookie record with three victories, and finished fourth in points, the highest finish for a rookie in the modern era. He walked away with the Rookie of the Year race.
- That same year, Stewart made his first attempt at “The Double,” racing in the Indy 500 in the afternoon in Indianapolis, then flying to Charlotte to compete in the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race of the NASCAR season, for a total of 1100 miles of racing in a single day (he only completed 1090 miles, but finished in the top 10 in both races).
- Stewart won six times in 2000, but finished just sixth in points (his teammate, Bobby Labonte, won the championship) because of car problems. He also had his first major altercation, when he and Jeff Gordon crashed in a race at Watkins Glen and Stewart, in a post-race interview, cursed at Gordon. Their relationship remains rocky.
- Stewart suffered a dramatic wreck in the season-opening Daytona 500 in 2001, but recovered to win three races and finished second to Gordon for the points championship. The Gordon-Stewart feud continued that season, when Gordon bumped Stewart out of the way during a race at Bristol Motorspeedway, and Stewart rammed Gordon on pit road following the race, causing Gordon’s car to spin out.
- Stewart got off to another poor start in the 2002 Daytona 500 when his engine blew. But he won a few times and stayed in the top ten in points until he had his most famous incident to date, an altercation in which he allegedly punched a photographer at the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. NASCAR placed Stewart on probation for the rest of the year, but the incident seemed to motivate Stewart, who won the next race and stayed hot the rest of the year to beat Mark Martin for his first Cup Series championship.
- 2003 was mediocre by Stewart’s standards. He won just twice and finished seventh in the points.
- In 2005, Stewart had perhaps the best run of his Cup career, winning five races and going on a midseason tear. His most memorable win – and, he says, the biggest of his career – came at The Brickyard 400 at the storied Indianapolis Motor Speedway, his hometown track. He stayed hot through the Chase for the Championship, and managed to hold on for his second Cup championship by finishing in the top-20 in the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2006, Stewert has won just two races at Martinsville in DirecTv 500 and Daytona in Pepsi 400.
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|Started By||Thread Subject||Replies||Last Post|
|Anonymous||take tony out !!!||10||Apr 14 2013, 8:14 PM EDT by Sharer1992|
Thread started: Jul 13 2007, 10:18 PM EDT Watch
I watch nascar crap all week long on speed and where ever else i can get my fix. Every one always asks WHO'S YOUR FAVORITE DRIVER ? I always reply who ever takes out Stewart. Its always comical to see his mouth get in the way of his pee brain, And I also have hurd the rumor about Home Depot dumping him for a better image, they cant do any worse...What a shame at one point I really liked to watch him. Sad !
|DickTrickle||Good luck year 2009 Tony||0||Jul 20 2008, 12:17 PM EDT by DickTrickle|
Thread started: Jul 20 2008, 12:17 PM EDT Watch
It doesn't matter if you like tony S. or not . Its great to see another team get competitive and I think Tony can bring the sponsors and employees to give the dominant teams a run.
4 out of 5 found this valuable. Do you?
|racinmomma||Tony Stewart||1||Jan 22 2008, 8:50 AM EST by booher|
Thread started: Jul 29 2007, 11:07 PM EDT Watch
For all of you who have so many bad things to say about Tony Stewart, go to Jeff Gordons web site and post something. All of us who think the best of Smoke don't want to read your garbage. You have your opinion and that is fine, but learn how to spell.
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