Tony Stewart

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This article is about the NASCAR driver and team co-owner. For other people with the same name, see Tony Stewart (disambiguation).
Tony Stewart
TonyStewartAugust2007.jpg
Stewart in 2007
Born (1971-05-20) May 20, 1971 (age 43)
Columbus, Indiana, U.S.
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg)
Achievements 2011, 2005, 2002 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion
1997 Indy Racing League Champion
1995 USAC Triple Crown Champion
1994 USAC National Midget Series Champion
2006 IROC champion
2005, 2007 Brickyard 400 Winner
2009 Sprint All-Star Race winner
2001, 2002, 2007 Budweiser Shootout Winner
2006, 2008, 2009 Prelude to the Dream Winner
2005, 2007, 2012 Gatorade Duel Winner
2000 Turkey Night Grand Prix Winner
2002, 2007 Chili Bowl Winner
Awards 1999 Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year
1996 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year
2001 National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductee
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
554 races run over 16 years
Car no., team No. 14 (Stewart-Haas Racing)
2013 position 29th
Best finish 1st (2002, 2005, 2011)
First race 1999 Daytona 500 (Daytona)
Last race 2014 Ford EcoBoost 400 (Homestead)
First win 1999 Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 (Richmond)
Last win 2013 FedEx 400 (Dover)
Wins Top tens Poles
48 297 15
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
94 races run over 14 years
2013 position 96th
Best finish 21st (1998)
First race 1996 Goody's Headache Powder 300 (Daytona)
Last race 2013 DRIVE4COPD 300 (Daytona)
First win 2005 Hershey's Take 5 300 (Daytona)
Last win 2013 DRIVE4COPD 300 (Daytona)
Wins Top tens Poles
11 41 6
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
6 races run over 5 years
Best finish 61st (2005)
First race 1996 Cummins 200 (IRP)
Last race 2005 MBNA RacePoints 200 (Dover)
First win 2002 Virginia Is For Lovers 200 (Richmond)
Last win 2003 Virginia Is For Lovers 200 (Richmond)
Wins Top tens Poles
2 5 0
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series career
1 race run over 1 year
Best finish 69th (2002)
First race 2002 Canada Day Shootout (Cayuga)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 0 0
Tony Stewart IndyCar Crop.jpg
Stewart's 1999 Indianapolis 500 car
IndyCar Series career
26 races run over 5 years
Team(s) Team Menard
Tri-Star Racing
Chip Ganassi Racing
Best finish 1st - 1997
First race 1996 Indy 200 (Disney)
Last race 2001 Indianapolis 500 (Indy)
First win 1997 Samsonite 200 (Pikes Peak)
Last win 1998 New England 200 (Loudon)
Wins Podiums Poles
3 7 8
Statistics current as of November 16, 2014.

Anthony Wayne "Tony" Stewart (born May 20, 1971) is an American stock car racer, businessman, and NASCAR team owner.[1] He is a three-time Sprint Cup champion. Throughout his racing career, Stewart has also won racing titles in Indy, midget, sprint and USAC Silver Crown cars.[2]

As of 2014 Stewart owns and drives the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for his own team, Stewart-Haas Racing under crew chief Chad Johnston. From 1999 until 2008, he drove the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing car, under crew chief Greg Zipadelli, with The Home Depot as the primary sponsor. His ten-year tenure with the same team, sponsor, and crew chief is a NASCAR record. Stewart is also the only driver to win both the Winston Cup under the old points system and the Nextel Cup under the chase playoff format, winning those championships in 2002 and 2005 respectively. In 2011, Stewart became the first owner-driver since Alan Kulwicki to win the Cup Series championship, which ended Jimmie Johnson's streak of consecutive championships at five. He is the only driver to win the NASCAR championship under three different sponsorship titles (Winston in 2002, Nextel in 2005, and Sprint in 2011) as well as being the only driver in history to win a championship in both IndyCar and NASCAR. He is also the first driver in Cup to win the championship by virtue of a tie breaker (number of wins during the season is the first level tie breaker, Stewart had five while eventual runner up Carl Edwards had one).

Early life[edit]

Stewart was born in Columbus, Indiana, on May 20, 1971, and attended Columbus North High School during his youth. He grew up racing go karts and was successful very early, winning a World Karting Association championship in 1987. He moved up to the United Midget Racing Association (UMRA) where he raced TQ (three quarter) midgets until 1991, when he again moved up this time to the United States Auto Club (USAC) series with help from one of his karting sponsors and friend Mark Dismore. Stewart was the USAC Rookie of the Year in 1991, USAC National Midget Series Champion in 1994 and 1995 and USAC Silver Crown Series champion in 1995.

IndyCar and NASCAR Busch Series[edit]

In 1995, Stewart became the first driver to win USAC's version of the Triple Crown, earning championships in all three of USAC's major divisions, National Midget, Sprint, and Silver Crown. His winning the Hut Hundred and 4-Crown Nationals were the highlights of the year.

When he was not racing IndyCars, he raced stock cars. In 1996, Stewart made his NASCAR Busch Series debut, driving for car owner Harry Rainer. In nine races, he had a best finish of 16th place. He had more success in a one-time ride in the Craftsman Truck Series with Mueller Brothers racing, where he finished 10th.

Stewart was poised to improve his Indy Racing League (IRL) standing in 1997 but at times he struggled to finish. He failed to finish the first three races of a ten race schedule, but recovered to come in second at Phoenix. At that year's Indy 500, Stewart's car was good enough to enable him to win his first IRL race, leading 64 laps. However, he trailed off near the end of the race and settled for 5th place. He finally got his first career win at Pikes Peak, where he led all but seven laps of a 200 lap race. He became the leading contender for the series' championship after a bad slump knocked points leader Davey Hamilton out of first place. Despite an average end to his season, finishing 7th, 14th, and 11th, and five DNFs, Stewart did just enough to beat Hamilton for the IRL title. He also raced in a few midget events, finishing thirteenth and eleventh in the 1997 and 1998 USAC national points, and winning the Copper Classic both years. Between his time in USAC and the IRL, Stewart earned the nickname of "Smoke", first for slipping the right rear tire during dirt races and then for blowing his engine often during his 1997 championship run.[3]

As he had done the previous year, he raced a handful of Busch Series races in 1998. This time, he was racing for Joe Gibbs, NFL Hall of Fame head coach of the Washington Redskins, who was having major success with Bobby Labonte in the Winston Cup Series. When Stewart was able to finish races, he finished in the top 10, and had a 3rd place finish at Charlotte. Stewart so impressed Gibbs that he was signed to drive the majority of the Busch schedule in 1998 to go along with a full-time IRL schedule.

The double duty did not affect his performance in either series. In the IRL, he won twice and finished 3rd in the championship. His season was a disappointment as he finished last in the Indy 500 because of an engine failure.

On the Busch side, he finished in the top-five five times in 22 starts. He came close to winning his first Busch Series race at Rockingham, but was beaten on a last lap pass by Matt Kenseth. Stewart finished a solid 2nd place in 2 (of 31) starts, ahead of six drivers with more starts, and had an average finish that was comparable to some of the series' top 10 finishers. Gibbs had enough confidence in Stewart that he was moved up to a Sprint Cup ride for the 1999 season. With that move, Stewart ended his three-year career as a full-time IRL driver.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series[edit]

After competing part-time during the 1996 NASCAR Busch Series season with the team, Stewart had planned to move up to the Winston Cup Series in 1997 driving for Ranier-Walsh Racing;[4] however the deal fell through when Stewart decided he wasn't ready for the move.[5]

Joe Gibbs Racing (1999–2008)[edit]

1999 season[edit]

Stewart started his Sprint Cup career in 1999 with a bang, as he qualified his #20 Home Depot Pontiac on the outside pole for the Daytona 500. He showed courage in one of the Gatorade Twin 125 races, when involved in a battle with Dale Earnhardt for the lead in the last laps. Though Earnhardt came out on top, Stewart had nonetheless impressed quite a few people with his performance. In the 500, Stewart ran near the front until problems with the car relegated him to a 28th place finish.

Stewart spent most of his rookie season wowing people, as his car was often in the top 5. He won a pair of pole positions at short tracks, and set a series record for wins by a rookie with three: Richmond, Phoenix and Homestead, surpassing Davey Allison's record set in 1987.[6] (Stewart's record would hold until 2002, when Jimmie Johnson tied the feat by winning three times; it should be noted that although Carl Edwards won four times in 2005, his first full Cup season, he was not regarded as a rookie by NASCAR standards because he had run more than ten Nextel Cup races in 2004.) He finished his first year an unprecedented 4th in points, the highest points finish by a rookie in the modern era (which held until 2006 when his then-teammate Denny Hamlin finished 3rd), and only bested by James Hylton, who finished 2nd as a first-timer in 1966.[6] Not surprisingly, he ran away with the Winston Cup Rookie of the Year award.

Stewart also attempted to race 1,100 miles (1,800 km) on Memorial Day weekend, as he competed in both the Indy 500 during the day and the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C., at night. He finished in the top 10 at both races; ninth in the 1999 Indianapolis 500 and fourth at Charlotte. However, he only completed 1,090 miles (1,750 km) of the scheduled 1,100, as he finished four laps down at Indianapolis.

2000 season[edit]

Tony Stewart celebrates his 2000 NAPA Autocare 500 win

Stewart showed no signs of a sophomore slump in the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, winning a series-high[7] six races (Martinsville, New Hampshire, Michigan, Homestead and both Dover races). However, he fell to sixth place in the standings because of a handful of DNFs and an increase in the number of competitive drivers, among them his teammate Labonte, who won the Cup championship. Stewart also began to get some bad press for his on-track incidents. The best known of these came at Watkins Glen, when he and Jeff Gordon tangled and crashed. Stewart made his displeasure toward Gordon known in an obscenity-laden tirade. Stewart won the Turkey Night Grand Prix midget car event at Irwindale, California, which he called, “one of his greatest wins ever."[3]

2001 season[edit]

Stewart's 2001 season got off to a frightening start at the Daytona 500, when he was caught up in an 18 car crash on lap 173 on the back straightaway that also collected Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Rusty Wallace, Steve Park, Jason Leffler, Jerry Nadeau, Buckshot Jones, Andy Houston, Ward Burton and more. Stewart took the worst ride, as his car turned backwards after being hit by Ward Burton, was pushed over Robby Gordon, then flipped twice in midair before hooking Bobby Labonte's hood and coming to a stop on the infield. Stewart was transported to Halifax Medical Center afterwards complaining of discomfort in his shoulder. Stewart's crash was greatly overshadowed by Dale Earnhardt's fatal accident on the last lap of the same race. Stewart recovered to win three more races at Richmond, Infineon and Bristol, and, as he'd done before, ran near the front most of the season. Statistically, he had a worse season than 2000, but he was the runner-up to Gordon in the final points standings.

For the second time Stewart ran the Memorial Day Double, in spite of a 17 minute rain delay at Indianapolis. He finished 6th in the Indianapolis 500 and 3rd in the Coca-Cola 600, running all 1,100 miles (1,800 km) of the two races.[8]

The 2001 season was not without controversy. Jeff Gordon pulled a "bump and run" on Stewart to gain a better finishing position at Bristol, and it resulted in Stewart retaliating in a post-race incident by spinning Gordon out on pit road. Stewart was fined and placed on probation by NASCAR. He got into further trouble at Daytona, when he confronted a Winston Cup official after ignoring a black flag. At the same race, he also got into an incident with a reporter, kicking away a tape recorder. He confronted the same NASCAR official at the race in Talladega after he refused to wear a mandated head-and-neck restraint. Stewart was not allowed to practice until he wore one and only managed to practice after his crew chief, Greg Zipadelli intervened. His fines and probation periods resulting from these incidents have earned Stewart a reputation of having a hot-temper, and he became NASCAR's "bad boy".

2002 season[edit]

Stewart started 2002 even more inauspiciously than in the previous season, as his Daytona 500 lasted just two laps due to a blown engine. He went on to win twice early in the season at Atlanta and Richmond but was only seventh in the points standings at the halfway point of the season. The second half of his season was plagued by an altercation with a photographer after the Brickyard 400. NASCAR put Stewart on probation for the rest of the season. He went on to win the very next week at Watkins Glen, and went on a hot streak in the final races, finishing consistently in the top five. At the end of the year, Stewart held off a charging Mark Martin to win his first Winston Cup championship. This was Stewart's last season driving in a Pontiac.

2003 season[edit]

As defending champion, Stewart managed to have a relatively incident-free 2003. Gibbs changed manufacturers, so Stewart and Labonte were now driving Chevrolets instead of Pontiacs. Stewart actually had his worst Cup season (until the 2006 season), but it was still good enough for seventh in the points. He only won twice that season at Pocono and Charlotte but led more laps than he had the previous year and was highly competitive in the final races of the year.

2004 season[edit]

In January, Stewart teamed with Andy Wallace and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in a Boss Motorsports Chevrolet to take fourth in the 24 Hours of Daytona sports car endurance race. The result does not show the trio's performance, however: They had dominated the race until the last two hours, when the suspension cracked. With 15 minutes left in the race and Stewart driving, one of the rear wheels came off, finally ending their run. In addition to placing fourth overall, the trio placed third in the Daytona Prototype class.

Stewart started off on a higher note in the 2004 season as he finished runner-up in his Gatorade 125. In the Daytona 500, Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. dominated the race, leading 156 laps overall (98 by Stewart). Stewart was in contention to win it, but lost the lead to Earnhardt, Jr. with 20 laps remaining. So far, as of 2013, this is Stewart's best finish in the Daytona 500.

The season was highlighted with Stewart's first win coming at Chicagoland. This win was not without controversy as on a mid-race restart, he turned Kasey Kahne into the wall, which eventually led to an altercation between Stewart's and Kahne's pit crews. Stewart scored his second victory at Watkins Glen. Stewart qualified fourth for the first ever Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. However an incident at the first race of The Chase at Loudon dashed hopes of a second series title.

In November, Stewart became the owner of one of the most legendary short tracks in America, Eldora Speedway. Located in New Weston, Ohio, Eldora is a half-mile dirt track known to many as "Auto Racing's Showcase Since 1954." Stewart began racing there in 1991 and continues racing in special events alongside other Sprint Cup drivers and dirt track legends.

2005 season[edit]

Stewart on two wheels before going on to win the 2005 Dodge/Save Mart 350, at Infineon Raceway

2005 was one of Stewart's most successful years in the Nextel Cup, as he won his second title. He won five races, at Infineon, Daytona, New Hampshire, Watkins Glen (which gave him a sweep of the road course races for the year) and the Brickyard 400 at his hometown track (, a race that Stewart said he would give up his championship to win, and took with it the No. 1 seed heading into NASCAR's Chase for the Nextel Cup 10-race playoff.

On August 16 Stewart was fined $5,000 for hitting Brian Vickers's car after the completion of the Busch Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. Stewart was driving a Busch series car owned by Kevin Harvick Incorporated at the time. Stewart also was placed on probation until December 31.

Stewart's 2005 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winning car on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum.

Following the Pepsi 400 win, Stewart began climbing the fence separating the fans from the race track after each victory, borrowing IndyCar Series driver Hélio Castroneves' trademark move.[9] After winning the 2009 All-Star race Stewart was quoted as saying "I'm too damn fat to be climbing fences," and recently purchased $17,000 worth of exercise equipment to remedy the problem. It also led to sponsor Home Depot cashing in on Stewart's success with some promotions reminiscent of Stewart's Eldora Speedway drivers. After his second full climb of the fence in Loudon, N.H., they ran a discount on ladders and fencing at the stores with a campaign named, "Hey Tony, we've got ladders", where anyone who presented the advertisement in national newspapers in their stores earned the discount. After his victory in Indianapolis, Home Depot presented fans who presented the advertisement of his Allstate 400 win with a discount on purchasing bricks. He mentioned in a press release from his sponsor, "I plan to keep winning races and helping to drive down the cost of home improvement for The Home Depot customers."

On November 20, Stewart won his second NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship, joining Jeff Gordon as the only active, full-time drivers at the time to have won multiple championships. Jimmie Johnson afterward did so from 2006–2010. In victory circle Stewart had said that he loved winning his 2005 championship better than his 2002 championship because his 2005 season was more well-behaved than 2002.

At an age of 34 years old, this made Stewart one of the youngest drivers to win multiple championships (with Johnson joining this category as he won his five straight titles while in his early 30s) and to date, he is still the only driver to have won championships under both the Chase and non-Chase formats. During the 2005 season, Stewart won a total of $13,578,168, including $6,173,633 for winning the championship, the largest season total in NASCAR history.

2006 season[edit]

Stewart's 2006 season had up and down notes. He had competitive cars and scored early wins at Daytona and Martinsville. However he also had strings of bad luck. He also suffered a shoulder injury due to two heavy crashes in both the Busch and Cup races at Charlotte during the Memorial Day Weekend races (Stewart's Busch car hit the Turn 4 wall so hard it even knocked the rear end off the car). During the Dover race, he was substituted by Ricky Rudd, and in later weeks had to drive in pain.

Additionally he has once again been involved in several on track controversies.

Following a rough Bud Shootout on February 12, Stewart expressed concern to the media about the possibility of aggressive driving resulting in the serious injury or death of a driver. It came during a week in which the racing world remembered the fifth anniversary of Dale Earnhardt's death. Just a few days later, during the Daytona 500, Stewart was involved in a number of incidents with Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth, whom he chased halfway across the track to run into the grass. "He has no room to complain," Stewart said of his brush with Kenseth. "He started it, and I finished it".

On May 20 during NASCAR's All Star Race, Stewart and Kenseth wrecked again. Each driver claimed it was the other one's fault with Stewart saying, "if (Kenseth) thinks it's my fault and I (caused the wreck) he's screwed up in his head." Following the wreck, several media outlets proclaimed the new Stewart-Kenseth rivalry as must-see TV.[10] The so-called rivalry was short-lived as Kenseth and Stewart participated as friends in a joint promotional tour for DeWalt and The Home Depot;[11] Kenseth also appeared in September at Stewart's Eldora Speedway in the NEXTEL PRELUDE with NASCAR drivers, as well as the ARCA Truck Series event there.

In July 2006 Stewart dominated the Pepsi 400 but after a pit stop seemed like an unlikely contender for the win. However Stewart amazed the audience when in the final 10 laps he drove from 14th up to second place, and passed Boris Said to take the lead and win. After the race Stewart said he no longer wanted to climb the catch-fencing at Daytona because of the fans crowding him but he later changed his mind on that thought.

On July 23, Stewart once again was at the center of a media storm. On lap 31 of the Pennsylvania 500, Stewart was accidentally squeezed against the wall by Clint Bowyer. Stewart responded by waving his hand in anger, then purposely hitting Bowyer's car. This contact sent Bowyer spinning down the front stretch where he collided with Carl Edwards. Stewart was promptly held one lap by NASCAR for rough driving. He did however pass leader Ryan Newman to get back on the lead lap and eventually rallied to finish 7th and get back in the top 10 in the point standings. After initially refusing to take responsibility for the incident he apologized the next day.[12]

Stewart missed the cut to qualify for the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup by 16 points,[13] becoming the first defending champion to miss the Chase the following year.[14] He finished poorly at Richmond after wrecking his primary car in practice, and was displaced in the top ten by Kasey Kahne. As a result, he finished the 2006 season 11th in points, his worst thus far in his career, as he had completed each of his seven previous seasons in the top ten in points. Commenting on not being in the 2006 Chase, he says: "It lets us have the ability to take chances and try things ... that we've been wanting to try but just haven't had the luxury to do it. If we were in the Chase we wouldn't have that ability".[15] Stewart won three races in the 2006 Chase (Kansas, Atlanta, and Texas).

The season wasn't totally unkind to Stewart, however. He was a participant in the 30th season of IROC and won 2 of the 4 races (Texas, and the Daytona road course) on his way to capturing the series championship. He won a million dollars for the effort, but made an offer to return his prize money if IROC would hold one of its events at his Eldora Speedway. This offer was not entertained as IROC folded in 2007. In addition, Stewart's three wins in the Chase races gave him five total for the season, tying him with Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick for second most in Nextel Cup behind Kasey Kahne's six.

2007 season[edit]

Stewart races by at Texas Motor Speedway in 2007.

Stewart started the 2007 season by winning his second Chili Bowl Nationals midget car feature. Stewart started off the Daytona Speedweeks with a win in the 2007 Budweiser Shootout. It was his third win in the race. [16] He also won his qualifying race for the Daytona 500.

On lap 152 of the Daytona 500, the rear of Stewart's car slid up the track, and when he tried to cut down the track, he smacked the front of Kurt Busch's car knocking both of them out of the race. Stewart and the Busch brothers (Kurt and Kyle) were the three leaders for the majority of the race.

On March 22, 2007, it was released that Stewart would be on the cover of the official NASCAR video game published by Electronic Arts, NASCAR 08. This would be the third time this honor was given to Stewart (2001, 2004, 2008).

In his first Car of Tomorrow race with the Impala SS, Stewart was dominant at Bristol, leading 257 of 504 laps (green-white-checker finish), before he experienced a fuel pump problem. At the third Car of Tomorrow race at Phoenix, Stewart lead a race high 154 laps, but a late race caution moved Stewart to second, where he finished behind Jeff Gordon. In the following week, Stewart implied the cautions were "bogus" and that NASCAR is rigged like professional wrestling.[17]

On June 4, 2007, Stewart and Kurt Busch had another altercation on pit road in the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover. Busch passed Stewart on the inside. Busch then slid up, which caused contact, sending him into the wall, knocking out Busch, but with Stewart staying in the race. Initially it was thought that Tony intentionally crashed Kurt since they were bitter rivals over the year and that Tony and Kurt had contact early in the race. Under the caution, Stewart was on pit road and his crew was surveying the massive damage he got from the crash; when an enraged Kurt Busch pulled alongside and gave Stewart a profane gesture to express his feelings over the incident. One of Stewart's crewmen had to jump out of the way of Kurt's car to avoid being hit and Kurt was disqualified. Stewart was put on temporary probation for his part in the feud but was cleared from any further penalties.

At the All-Star Challenge at Charlotte, he finished 5th behind Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, and Jeff Burton. At the Coca-Cola 600, Stewart finished sixth, after having to come in to pit for fuel.

On July 15, 2007, Stewart led a race high 108 laps and recorded his 30th career NEXTEL Cup win at the USG Sheetrock 400 at Joliet.

On July 29, 2007, after leading a race high 66 of 160 laps, Stewart won the Brickyard 400 again, just 45 minutes from where he grew up. This was his second win in the race at his favorite track. It was not without controversy though; Stewart made the winning pass by accidentally bending the rear of Kevin Harvick's car, causing Harvick to fall back quickly to seventh place by the time the checkers waved. Stewart apologized for the contact in victory lane and during the victory lane interview, Stewart was penalized 25 points and fined $25,000 for violating NASCAR's policy on the use of obscene language during interviews during the race. This was similar to 2004, when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. used an obscenity in a post-race interview at Talladega and was knocked out of the points lead as a result of the penalty.

On August 12, 2007, he won the Centurion Boats at the Glen at Watkins Glen after Jeff Gordon spun his car around after wheel hopping in turn 1 with two laps to go. Carl Edwards briefly challenged Stewart on the final lap, but spun out into a pullover site sealing Stewart's win.

2008 season[edit]

Stewart's Toyota Camry.

Stewart began the 2008 season starting 6th at the Daytona 500, and was only able to come up with a 3rd place finish after being passed on the last lap by Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch. The finish resembled the previous Daytona 500 in 2007 when Stewart's close friend Kevin Harvick passed Mark Martin on the final lap to win the race.

On lap 109 of the UAW-Dodge 400, Stewart cut a tire and slammed into the turn 3 wall. Stewart came out of the car under his own power, but was helped to the ambulance where he was taken to the infield care center. Stewart had complained about a sore foot from a wreck which occurred the day before in the Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas. Stewart was later announced okay and ripped on Goodyear for not bringing quality tires. The next week at the Kobalt Tools 500, Stewart commented that "Goodyear doesn't give a fuck about tire quality."[citation needed]

With 3 laps to go in the 2008 Coca-Cola 600, Stewart cut a tire and saved it from contact with the wall. However, Stewart had to give up the lead to future race winner Kasey Kahne in order to take pits.

In the Best Buy 400 Stewart was involved in another crash with Elliott Sadler in which Sadler was turned by David Gilliland and Sadler's car collected Stewart and 11 other cars including Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Denny Hamlin. Stewart said, "I take 100 percent responsibility – it's my fault for being anywhere close to Elliott. If I'm within half a lap of him, I expect that to happen. It's my fault – I'm the one that hit him. When I hit him it caused all the guys behind us to wreck, so it's my fault."

In July 2008, Stewart made a deal with car owner Gene Haas into a co-owning partnership in a racing organization called Stewart-Haas Racing for 2009 when he resigned from Joe Gibbs Racing. Ryan Newman came to the meeting to make his deal with SHR signed earlier in the year, official.

On July 5, during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, Stewart began feeling ill and turned the car over to former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate J. J. Yeley, who took the car to a 20th place finish after getting involved in two wrecks in the last 5 laps. [18] Stewart earned his first and only win of the season in the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega on October 5 driving for sponsor Subway as his last win with Joe Gibbs Racing. On the final lap Stewart was passed by Regan Smith the rookie of Dale Earnhardt Inc who beat Stewart to the line. NASCAR declared that Smith had made an illegal pass under the yellow line, and awarded the victory to Stewart.[19]

After the Ford 400, Stewart attended a tearful farewell meeting with Joe Gibbs Racing and gave his car and team to rookie Joey Logano who replaced him for JGR.

Stewart Haas Racing (2009–present)[edit]

2009 season[edit]

Stewart pits his No. 14 Impala in the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Stewart pits his No. 14 Impala in the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

On July 8, 2008, it was reported that Stewart was released from the last year of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, primarily because JGR had switched from Chevrolet to Toyota, and Stewart was vocal about his loyalty to Chevrolet (which sponsors his USAC Midget, Sprint Car, and Silver Crown teams). Stewart announced he would move to Haas CNC Racing to drive a Haas Chevrolet, with sponsorship from Office Depot (relocating from the No. 99 Roush Fenway team) and Old Spice. Stewart took half ownership of the team which was renamed Stewart-Haas Racing, and Stewart became the highest paid NASCAR driver. Stewart's car at Haas has the number 14 as homage to his hero A.J. Foyt.[20] To date, he is the most successful driver for Joe Gibbs Racing with 33 wins and two championships (2002 and 2005).

On August 15, 2008, fellow Indiana native Ryan Newman signed a multi-year contract to drive the second car for Stewart-Haas Racing, originally to be designated No. 4 but changed to his USAC No. 39, with sponsorship from the U.S. Army (relocating from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing).

As the most recent series champion not among the Top 35 in owners' points, Stewart was first in line for past champions' provisionals for the first five races of 2009. He completed those races without needing to use the provisional, ending up well inside the Top 10 in points. Stewart won his first race as a driver/owner in the non-championship NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race XXV, winning more than $1,000,000, his first win in the event in 10 attempts. He followed that victory with his first points race win as a driver/owner at Pocono in the Pocono 500 on June 7, 2009, the first owner-driver in the Cup series to win a race since Ricky Rudd in 1998.[21] Stewart also won the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona after a controversial finish when he wrecked Kyle Busch to do so. In a similar fashion to the spring race at Talladega that year, Busch passed Stewart on the final lap but in the final turn Stewart went underneath Busch who tried to block but with 100 feet left from the checkers the two made contact resulting in Stewart sending Busch into the wall, and Busch wrecked across the line in the final lead position while Kasey Kahne submarined under his car. Stewart, undamaged charged for the win to great applause from the fans. In victory lane Stewart, when asked about the upset finish with Busch, said with a disappointed tone, "Well...I kind of knew I needed to get there and Busch needed to get there...I do not like winning the races in that fashion...I wanted to see Kyle also have a good day...but it is just disappointing to win the way I did tonight because Kyle Busch was in front all day and then wrecking him is not the way I like to win these things. But I thank my sponsors Office Depot, Burger King, Coca-Cola... but it is not the way I wanted to win."

Stewart's season overall was his best showing since his rookie year, with another win coming at Watkins Glen International. Stewart qualified for the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup as he finished the first 26 races as points leader. He fell to second in points following reseeding when Mark Martin, who won more races than Stewart, moved ahead of him. On October 5, 2009, Stewart won the Price Chopper 400 and moved to fourth in the standings, ending the season in sixth place.

2010 season[edit]

Stewart pits during the 2010 Pepsi Max 400

On April 16, 2010, Stewart won his first Sprint Cup pole position in five years at Texas Motor Speedway, with a lap speed of 191.327 mph. The race was the 400th in the Sprint Cup for Stewart, and was his first starting from the pole since October 2005 at Martinsville Speedway.[22]

On May 9, it was reported that Stewart would lose Old Spice as a sponsor after 11 years with them.[23]

Stewart won two races in 2010, the Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5 and the Pepsi Max 400 at Auto Club Speedway on October 10.

In September at Loudon, Stewart lead part of the final stages trying to hold off Clint Bowyer for RCR who dominated the race; when the white flag waved the fans saw that Stewart was out of gas; Bowyer passed him and won both the white flag and the checkers. Stewart finished 24th, and waved to Bowyer to congratulate him as he slowly crossed the line to finish. After the race Stewart said when interviewed "My feelings are not happy that's for sure but we had a strong race; I thank Office Depot, Coca-Cola, and my sponsors... congratulations to Clint Bowyer and the helping hands, they deserved that one. I think I ran myself out of fuel; my team apologized and said "sorry for running you out of fuel", I think I ran myself out of fuel."

On October 12, Mobil 1 announced a sponsorship deal with Stewart-Haas Racing to sponsor Stewart's car, starting in 2011. It would be the primary sponsor for 11 races, while Office Depot would be the primary sponsor for the rest of the season. Mobil 1 would also sponsor Stewart in the Budweiser Shootout and the All-Star Race.

2011 season[edit]

In 2011, Stewart returned in the No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet. Following a crash intentionally caused by Stewart on Brian Vickers at Infineon Raceway in June 2011, Vickers intentionally wrecked Stewart as payback. In an interview when asked about the crashes, Stewart said, "It was payback, but, you know, I dumped him first, and I dumped him because he was blocking..."[24] Stewart and his teammate, Ryan Newman, started the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 first and second, and they finished it where they started as Newman won that race. By the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400, Stewart said in a post-race interview that his team was running so poorly that he was "wasting one of those top 12 spots." Entering the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup portion of the schedule winless, Stewart won the opening race of the Chase at the Chicagoland Speedway and jumped up seven spots in the points, securing second place and extending his streak of consecutive years with a win to 13. Stewart made it two for two in the Chase after Clint Bowyer ran out of fuel in the closing laps of the Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Stewart took the win and the points lead after New Hampshire. At Talladega, Stewart struggled to lead a lap, and eventually did so; with assistance from Ryan Newman, Paul Menard, and Joey Logano, he led an additional 29 laps and captured the two-point bonus for leading the most laps. On October 30, at Martinsville Speedway, Stewart won the Tums Fast Relief 500, leading three times for 14 laps and moving into championship contention in second place in the points standings.

Stewart during the 2012 Kobalt Tools 400

The next week, Stewart led 173 laps en route to winning the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, bringing him to within three points of championship points leader Carl Edwards with two races to go in the 2011 season. On November 20, 2011, Stewart won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship by winning the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway while Edwards finished second.[25] Stewart and Edwards were tied on total points, but Stewart claimed the tiebreaker by having five race wins to Edwards's one.[26] In the process, Stewart became the first driver/owner to win the championship since Alan Kulwicki in 1992.

2012 season[edit]

Before the season Stewart welcomed new drivers retired Indycar driver Danica Patrick and driver David Reutimann to drive partly for Stewart-Haas Racing as part of a partnership with Tommy Baldwin Racing who provided parts of the cars.

On February 11, Stewart led the final stages of the Budweiser Shootout by passing Marcos Ambrose on the final lap, but was passed in a desperate charge to the finish line by Kyle Busch who beat him to the line in what was said the closest finish in Budweiser Shootout history (It would have been 2011 with Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin but Hamlin was black-flagged for being below the yellow line). Stewart won the 1st duel of the Gatorade Duels at Daytona, when his new driver Danica Patrick hit the wall hard on the backstretch on the final lap, which brought out the caution. Stewart started 3rd in the Daytona 500 and ran well throughout the race, but was caught up in a late race crash on lap 196 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. On March 11, Stewart won the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway beating Jimmie Johnson. It was his 45th career win, and brought his streak of consecutive Cup seasons with a win to 14.

On March 25, Stewart won the rain-shortened Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. On June 3, Stewart was caught in a 13 car crash on the back leg at Dover and finished the race in 25th place.

Tony Stewart led 18 laps at the 2012 Quicken Loans 400 and finished second behind Dale Earnhardt Jr.. Stewart however caused controversy and got ripped by the fans and medias for saying in a media conference that Earnhardt winning "Is not a national holiday." and taunting the Earnhardt nation for celebrating the 4th anniversary of Earnhardt's last win in 2008.

At Sonoma, Stewart moved quickly from the top 20, to third in the final laps of the Toyota Save Mart 350, and ended up second to Clint Bowyer by passing Kurt Busch on the final turn on the final lap. On July 7, Stewart was able to hold off Matt Kenseth to win his fourth Coke Zero 400 as a wreck ensued behind him. The win was a surprise one, as Stewart had been forced to start 42nd due to his car failing pre-qualifying inspection.

In August at Bristol in the 2012 Irwin Tools Night Race, when battling for the lead on lap 333, Stewart and Matt Kenseth tangled and brought out a caution. This was soon after Ryan Newman was wrecked by Juan Pablo Montoya in an accident which collected Jeff Burton. When a furious Stewart climbed out of his wrecked car he waited for Kenseth to exit pit road. When Kenseth was leaving the pits, in Stewart fashion, he tossed his helmet at Kenseth's hood and then gestured applause at the fans. This was followed shortly thereafter by his student driver Danica Patrick wagging a finger at Regan Smith after he turned her into the inside wall many laps later.

In September at Atlanta, team spokesman Mike Arning announced that Office Depot will not be Stewart's sponsor in 2013.[27]

On October 2, Bass Pro Shops announced they would be a co-primary sponsor for Stewart in a selected number of races for the 2013 season.[28]

At the Talladega race in the fall, Stewart was leading on the final lap but underestimated the speed of a closing Michael Waltrip. On turn 4, Waltrip got a run, and tapped Stewart from behind, causing Stewart to spin and Waltrip to spin into the pack, causing a Big One that involved 23 cars, the largest crash of the season to date. Stewart flipped over, hitting the roofs of several other cars, including Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer, before landing upright. On November 9, it was announced that Kevin Harvick would be joining Stewart's team starting in 2014.

Stewart would finish ninth in points, with two top fives and four top tens in the Chase, for a final season total of three wins, 12 top five and 16 top ten finishes overall.

2013 season[edit]

Stewart during practice for the 2013 NRA 500

In early 2013, reports said that Stewart was offered a chance by Roger Penske to race in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 in a Penske car. Stewart declined and said he was not ready to try the big race yet, due to his focus in stock cars.[29]

Statistically, 2013 was Stewart's second-worst season to date.

In the Nationwide Series, Stewart renewed his RCR deal to drive the #33 Oreos/Ritz Chevrolet. He won the opening Nationwide Series event at Daytona, overtaking Regan Smith on the last lap, but Stewart's win was over-shadowed by worry because Smith had been turned, and in the resulting melee, Kyle Larson had flown into the catchfence, completely slicing off the front part of his car and injuring 28 spectators in the grandstands. The next day in the Daytona 500, Stewart's day ended on lap 35 when he was caught up an early crash with Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne, finishing 41st. He rebounded slightly with an eighth place finish at Phoenix and an 11th place finish in Las Vegas. At Bristol, Stewart blew his tire on lap 3 and also cut a brake line; he came back out but was over 20 laps down; unable to contend for victory.

At Fontana, Stewart ran well for most of the day, leading laps and running on an alternate pit cycle, and nearly contended for the win. However, due to a late-race incident when Joey Logano blocked him on the last restart, Stewart ended up in 22nd place at the bottom of the lead lap. After the race, an angered Stewart confronted Logano, who had just wrecked his car after battling with Denny Hamlin hard into the last turn, on pit road in a scuffle involving both teams' crews.[30]

At Richmond, Stewart looked to be in contention for the win as he was 5th on a green-white-checkered finish, but in a fashion similar to his confrontation with Logano at Fontana; after a poor restart he lost a few positions. On the last lap Kurt Busch tapped his bumper, moving Stewart out of the 2nd groove all the way up to the top of the race track subsequently losing about 5 positions coming home 18th while Busch took a 9th place finish. Stewart showed his displeasure with Busch after the race had finished, rubbing with him on the race track leading to a shoving match between the two when slowing down after the race ended. Down near the haulers the two turned the attention given to race winner Kevin Harvick; to them when they had a verbal confrontation, again Stewart showing Busch his displeasure with his aggressive move. It was the first time since 2008 that the two got together in a feud.

At Talladega, Stewart was caught up in a 15 car wreck on lap 43 and ended up finishing 27th, 5 laps down. His teammates Danica Patrick and Ryan Newman were caught up in a later wreck on lap 182, with Newman's car being crushed when Kurt Busch flipped over and landed on top of it.

Stewart's 2013 season start was considered his worst start to a Sprint Cup season yet. As of Richmond, he had only one top 10 finish (Phoenix). The rest of his finishing positions had been in the upper 10's or lower 20's. After Richmond, Stewart was 22nd in the points standings with 207 points, 136 behind Jimmie Johnson. However, he showed signs of a rebound in the following weeks, scoring a solid 7th place finish at the Coca-Cola 600 while avoiding several wrecks.

The following week at Dover, Stewart went a lap down early but got back on the lead lap with a beneficiary. In the last 20 laps, after Johnson was penalized for jumping the last restart, Stewart overtook Juan Pablo Montoya and held him off over the last three laps to score his sole Sprint Cup win of 2013. The win propelled him up 4 positions to 16th, into a Wildcard spot. This also gave Stewart a streak of 15 straight seasons with at least one race win. He followed this up with a fourth place finish at Pocono and a fifth place at Michigan. His momentum was killed briefly by a 28th place run at Sonoma and a 20th place finish at Kentucky, but Stewart then rebounded to a second place finish at the Coke Zero 400.

At New Hampshire, Stewart led 84 laps and was overtaken by Brian Vickers with 14 laps to go. A caution that led to a green-white-checkered finish ultimately ruined Stewart's chances of winning, as he ran out of fuel after the restart while Vickers took the win. Stewart then rebounded with a fourth place run at Indianapolis and a ninth place run at Pocono.

2013 leg injury[edit]

The day after the Pocono race, on August 5, while leading a sprint car race at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Stewart was involved in a multi-car crash when a lapped car spun in front of him. The hit was hard enough that Stewart broke both the tibia and fibula bones in his lower right leg. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where surgery was performed on his broken leg.[31][32] A second surgery was performed on August 8, in which a metal rod was inserted into the tibia.[33] The injuries were bad enough that Stewart's streak of 521 consecutive Sprint Cup starts, dating back to the 1999 Daytona 500, ended. A replacement driver for the August 11 race at Watkins Glen International was not immediately named,[34] though it was eventually announced that road veteran Max Papis would fill in for Watkins Glen.[35] Stewart was eventually released from the hospital on August 11.[36]

Prior to August 11, speculation arose regarding who would replace Stewart on the oval courses, with speculation that the replacement would either be Regan Smith,[37] who drove two races in Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s car after Earnhardt was sidelined with a concussion in 2012,[38] or Austin Dillon. It was announced after Watkins Glen that Dillon would drive Stewart's car for Michigan.[39] On August 19, Stewart was ruled out for the remainder of the season. Mark Martin was released from his contract with Michael Waltrip Racing and signed on to drive Stewart's car for the remaining thirteen races of the year, with the exception of Talladega, where Dillon drove the car. Brian Vickers and Elliott Sadler would drive the #55 for races Martin was originally intended to drive for MWR in.[40]

2014 season[edit]

Before the season it was announced that Stewart had been medically cleared to race. Stewart mentioned during Pre-Season Thunder that his leg would be about 65% healed going into Daytona.[41] Stewart ran the Sprint Unlimited, but was collected in a nine-car crash. This was something that Stewart had dreaded, but exited his race car under his own power, and without any pain. Stewart entered the Daytona 500 in his backup car, starting from the rear of the field. After the 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay, the race resumed, but just shy of half way, Stewart's fuel pickup began to fail. He and his crew took his race car behind the wall, got the problem fixed, and finished the race 27 laps down.

The next week at Phoenix went particularly well for Stewart. After running in the top 10 most of the day, a late string of cautions set up restart after restart. Stewart opted to come down to pit road to be serviced each time the caution was thrown, subsequently losing track position. On the last and final restart, Stewart had 4 fresh tires and was starting 19th. He gained 3 positions, from 19th to 16th, where he finished. Stewart gained 12 spots in the standings, from 32nd to 20th.[42]

At Las Vegas, Stewart struggled with the handling of his car and finished 33rd, four laps down.

At Bristol, Stewart missed the second round of knockout qualifying and started 37th. However, with a fast racecar, he was able to make his way up the field and finish fourth, his first top five finish since the previous year's Brickyard 400. Stewart was the highest finishing Chevrolet in the race.

Stewart qualified 10th at Auto Club. After a spin early in the race, Stewart was running 12th at the last caution, coming off of pit road 2nd and lining up 4th for the green-white-checkered finish behind Paul Menard, his own driver Kurt Busch, and Landon Cassill. On the final restart, Stewart and Busch battled for the win, only to be passed up by Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson. Stewart finished fifth after being passed by Matt Kenseth, his second top 5 in a row.

Stewart had a strong run at Pocono. He qualified in the top five and ran in there nearly the whole race. When he was preparing to go for the win however his shot at the win ended after he got penalized for speeding on pit road. When Stewart was asked about what happened he said "It was a 100% driver error. Last week I cried over a 6th place finish and I just threw this one away. 100% driver error. My fault."

At Michigan Stewart ran in the top five. Late in the race Stewart tangled with rookie Kyle Larson when Larson threw a block. Stewart replied by bumping Larson under yellow and side-swiping him. The next week Stewart said "He'll learn not to block me. One way or another he'll learn like I did at his age."

After the Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy in mid-August, Stewart skipped Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol. He was subbed by Regan Smith and Jeff Burton for those races. Despite having missed three races and thus losing too many points to recover lost points in the final 2 races, NASCAR granted him a waiver allowing him to still be eligible for the Chase if he won in the final two 'regular season' events, which he failed to do, causing him to miss the Chase for the third time in his career.[43]

After a string of bad finishes, Stewart managed a fourth-place finish at Martinsville after being passed with two laps to go by Dale Earnhardt Jr. At Texas the next week, he managed a solid eleventh-place finish.

At the end of the October Charlotte race, Stewart was hit on pit road by Brad Keselowski, and retaliated by reversing into him.[44] Stewart was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until November 12.[45]

Tony Stewart led some laps at Martinsville and came oh-so close to winning the race. On a final GWC-finish, he pulled out in front of Dale Earnhardt Jr. but having older tires, got over-taken by Earnhardt on the final lap. Stewart finished 4th but stated that after what he went through from August to then, finishing 4th felt like a win to him.

Stewart finished the year with a last-place finish at Homestead-Miami, ending his 15-year winning streak. This also makes 2014 his worst year statistically. He did, however, win the Owner's Championship when Kevin Harvick won the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. In an interview the day before the race, Stewart blamed his subpar year on the new rules package, saying it did not complement his driving style. He also dismissed countless claims that his poor showing had anything to do with his 2013 leg injury.

Return to sprint cars[edit]

In July 2014, Stewart returned to sprint car racing in his #14 sprint car; the very car that broke his leg in 2013. When asked why he returned, Stewart said he loved racing sprint cars too much to leave. Stewart silenced his critics by dominating and winning a sprint car race at Tri-City Motor Speedway in a huge comeback story. After the race Stewart said:

It was a confidence boost for me. When you haven't won and haven't been necessarily a contender, you start questioning what is it in the equation that you're missing. Is it something that you're doing or not doing as a driver? To be able to win and have two good runs like that in a car that I haven't been in for almost a full year now, that was a huge confidence boost.

Death of Kevin Ward Jr.[edit]

On August 9, 2014, Stewart competed in a sprint car race (not a NASCAR sanctioned event) at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, a dirt track in Canandaigua, New York. About halfway through the race, Stewart's car ran down the car driven by 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr., Ward's car hit the wall and spun out, and a yellow caution flag was displayed. Ward got out of his car and walked onto the track, as Stewart continued around the half-mile course. As Stewart's car approached on its next lap, Ward began pointing and gesturing towards Stewart. One car swerved to avoid Ward, and he was struck by Stewart's car and severely injured.[46] Ward died a short time later,[47] due to "massive blunt trauma".[48]

The incident took place the night before Stewart was scheduled to compete at nearby Watkins Glen International in the Cheez-It 355 for the Cup Series. Regan Smith was tapped temporarily to replace Stewart in that race.[49]

Stewart later released a statement: "There aren't words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It's a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I've decided not to participate in today's race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and everyone affected by this tragedy."[50]

The day after the incident, Philip Povero, sheriff of Ontario County, New York, told reporters, "At this very moment, there are no facts in hand that would substantiate or support a criminal charge, or indicate criminal intent on the part of any individual."[51]

On August 15, NASCAR announced a rule change that requires that drivers involved in an accident who are unable to drive their car back to pit road or the garage are to remain in their car until emergency crews arrive, except in an emergency situation (such as a fire or smoke from a blown engine).[52]

For the August 17 race at Michigan and the following race at Bristol, Stewart was replaced by Jeff Burton, who had lost his ride with Michael Waltrip Racing to Brett Moffitt.[53][54] He returned at Atlanta, and was granted a waiver to maintain Chase eligibility despite missing three races (current Chase rules state that a driver must attempt to qualify for every race in order to be eligible). However, he failed to win at Atlanta or Richmond and thus was unable to qualify for the Chase.

Stewart gave a tearful interview when he returned to Atlanta, stating:

"This is been one of the toughest tragedies I've ever had to deal with, both professionally and personally. This is something that will definitely affect my life forever. This is a sadness and a pain I hope no one ever has to experience in their life. That being said, I know that the pain and the mourning that Kevin Ward's family and friends are experiencing is something that I can't possibly imagine. I want Kevin's father, Kevin Sr., his mother Pam and his sisters Christi, Kayla and Katelyn to know that every day I'm thinking about and praying for them.

"The racing community is a large family. As you guys know and everyone's saddened with this tragedy. I want to thank all my friends and family for their support through this tough, emotional time. And the support from the NASCAR community, my partners, all of our employees has been overwhelming. I've taken the last couple weeks off out of respect for Kevin and his family and also to cope with the accident in my own way. It's given me the time to think about life and how easy it is to take it for granted. I miss my team, my teammates, and the other drivers very much and I miss being back in the race car. I think that being back in the car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult time."

On September 24, a grand jury declined to indict Stewart on charges of manslaughter in the second degree and criminally negligent homicide. Following the decision, District Attorney Michael Tantillo stated that videos of Stewart's driving did not demonstrate any aberrational driving and that Ward was under the influence of marijuana with levels high enough to impair judgment.[55]

Despite Stewart's repeated apologies, Ward's wrote a letter vowing to "make all remedies for Kevin.", implying a possible civil lawsuit. When Ward's family was informed that he had been high on marijuana, Kevin Ward Sr. stated in a letter that has made viral in the internet:

"Tell me how a man the size of Kevin can make a sprint car turn to the right on impact. Tell me how a lap before (the incident) everything was fine, but the following lap was poor lighting. Tell me how a NASCAR star totally forgot what caution means. Maybe he should get a different headset so he is able to hear on the radio that the car in caution is up high, so go low. Or was he low until he rounded the corner and saw Kevin Jr. standing up for himself?"'

Five days after the tragedy itself, Ward's aunt Wendi Ward wrote a letter of reply to the turn of events:

“I feel numb, I look into the eyes of family and see a deep hurt that should not be there, my heart has pounded out of my chest for hours, thanks for thinking of our family Tony Stewart when you decided to be a dick. My nephew was one of a kind, a true race car driver, a piss head and a sweetie all in one, a young man who will be truly missed by many! Aunt Wendi loves you budster, forever in our hearts.”

A couple days after the announcement of his exoneration by Ontario County (N.Y.) District Attorney Michael Tantillo, Stewart told The Associated Press, that

"I know 100 percent in my heart and in my mind that I did not do anything wrong. This was 100 percent an accident."

Rolex 24 at Daytona[edit]

Stewart has raced in a few sports car races, including the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

  • 2002: Competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona on 2/2-2/3 for the Crawford factory team with co-drivers Jan Lammers and Johnny Mowlem.
  • 2004: Competed for the second time in the Rolex 24 at Daytona on 1/31-2/1 for Howard-Boss Motorsports with co-drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Andy Wallace. Team led 355 of 526 laps and had a commanding five-lap advantage before mechanical problems less than 20 minutes short of the finish ended their shot at victory and placed them a disappointing fourth.
  • 2005: Competed for the third time in the Rolex 24 at Daytona on 2/5-2/6 for Howard-Boss Motorsports with co-drivers Jan Lammars and Andy Wallace. Team was leading with less than two hours remaining when a broken gearbox dropped them off the lead lap. Crew was able to make repairs so that the trio could rejoin the race, whereupon they finished third. It was Stewart's first podium finish in the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona.
  • 2006: Competed for the fourth time in the Rolex 24 at Daytona on 1/28-1/29 for Howard-Boss Motorsports with co-drivers Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace. Team finished 30th after suffering mechanical problems throughout the event.
  • 2007: Competed for the fifth time in the Rolex 24 at Daytona on 1/27-1/28 for Howard-Boss Motorsports with co-drivers Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace. Team finished 48th after mechanical trouble hampered the trio throughout the event.

Other racing series[edit]

Stewart frequently makes appearances on dirt tracks, appearing regularly at an ARCA race on dirt and at many prominent midget car events, USAC's Turkey Night Grand Prix, and the indoor Chili Bowl Midget Nationals.

Along with Matt Kenseth, he has appeared at Madison International Speedway, a non-NASCAR half-mile track located in Wisconsin on Highway 138 between the cities of Oregon, WI and Stoughton, WI.

Stewart races 410 and 360 Dirt Sprint Cars about 50 times a year throughout the United States and Canada. On July 27, 2011, Stewart won his first ever World of Outlaws race at Ohsweken Speedway. As of October 7, 2014, Stewart has three career World of Outlaws main event victories. Stewart competes with the World of Outlaws, All-Stars, and IRA Sprint Car series when traveling between NASCAR races and on off weekends.

United States Secretary of Defense and grand marshal Donald Rumsfeld (left) and Stewart share a laugh before the 2005 Pepsi 400

Racing team owner[edit]

Stewart is the owner of various open-wheel short track racing cars, most of them being sponsored by Chevrolet since 2007. He also owns and drives dirt super late models.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (2009)[edit]

In the end of 2008 Stewart was given a 50% stake in Haas CNC Racing which became Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. Haas CNC Racing, previously fielded the No. 66 and No. 70 cars, now fields the numbers 14, 10, 41, and 4 as Stewart-Haas Racing. This decision involved parting ways with long-time crew chief Greg Zipadelli, sponsor The Home Depot, car number 20, and owner Joe Gibbs, with all of which he had spent 10 years. He drives the No. 14 Chevrolet SS owned by Gene and Margaret Haas. He is the owner of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS, which is driven by Danica Patrick. Newly added by Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 are the 41 car of Kurt Busch and the 4 car of Kevin Harvick. Harvick won the Sprint Cup Championship in 2014 - his first year with SHR.

United States Auto Club[edit]

Stewart has won USAC car owner titles in the Silver Crown division in 2002 and 2003 with J. J. Yeley, and in 2004 with Dave Steele. He also collected owner titles in USAC's National Sprint Car Series with Yeley in 2003 and Jay Drake in 2004. He also won an owner title in the USAC National Sprint Car Series in 2006 with Josh Wise and in 2007 and 2009 with Levi Jones of Olney, IL

Stewart's USAC midget and sprint cars carry No. 20 and No. 21, while his Silver Crown car carries #22.

Other entities[edit]

Stewart owns a dirt late model Chevrolet Impala that carries No. 14 which he races frequently. Stewart has also won a World of Outlaws Sprint Car Championship as an owner with Donny Schatz in 2008. The team is now a 2 car operation with Schatz and Steve Kinser. He is also the owner of Custom Works, a company that manufactures radio controlled oval track cars, and has had a degree of success as a r/c racer himself.

Stewart is also the driving force behind the Sprint-sponsored "Prelude to the Dream" which features drivers from various sports driving late model dirt cars at Eldora Speedway. Since 2005 the "Dream" has showcased a who's who in NASCAR and NHRA, featuring such drivers as Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Pedregon and others. The inaugural race was won by Kenny Wallace, followed by Carl Edwards in 2006. As of late the race has been nicknamed "The Smoke Show" due to Stewart winning back to back to back since 2007. The events have raised over 4 million dollars for various NASCAR and driver charities including The Victory Junction Gang Camp.

Racetrack owner[edit]

Stewart purchased Eldora Speedway located near Rossburg, Ohio in late 2004 from Earl Baltes.[56] Stewart is currently a co-owner of Paducah International Raceway near Paducah, Kentucky. He also co-owns Macon Speedway in Macon, Illinois along with Kenny Schrader, Kenny Wallace and Bob Sargent.[57]

Tony Stewart Foundation[edit]

Founded in 2003 by Stewart, the principal purposes of the Tony Stewart Foundation are to raise and donate funds to help care for chronically ill children, drivers injured in motorsports activities, and to support other charitable organizations in the protection of various animal species. The Tony Stewart Foundation will raise and donate funds to charitable interests, specifically those that support the aforementioned groups.[58]

TV and radio[edit]

  • Stewart hosted a two-hour weekly radio show, titled Tony Stewart Live, broadcast on Sirius Satellite Radio.[59] Stewart co-hosted the show with Matt Yocum, and took listener calls. The show ran 2007–2008.[citation needed]
  • In 2007, Stewart appeared in commercials for Subway with their spokesman, Jared Fogle. Stewart worked at McDonald's while attending Columbus North High School. Former coworkers said he was a great worker—when he showed up.[citation needed]
  • Appeared with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the music video for 3 Doors Down's song "The Road I'm On".[60]
  • Appeared in a 2008 Toyota commercial where the cars of Toyota Sprint Cup drivers, including Stewart's, are driven by kids with remote controls. When his kid driver spins his car out of control, he crawls out, yelling to his crew chief, "Zippy, run for your life!" Stewart then throws his helmet at his car, a homage to his habit of throwing helmets and other racing gear in anger.[citation needed]
  • Stewart appears in commercials as a member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family of drivers and a Coca-Cola vending machine with Stewart's picture on it sits in Columbus North High School to this day.[citation needed]
  • In 2010, Stewart appeared in the commercial for the Burger King Steak House XT, which he endorsed. This video entered the Top 10 of the Ad Age / Visible Measures Top Viral Ad Chart on August 12, 2010.[61]
  • Appeared as host in the 2003 production of NASCAR Images Adrenaline Vol 1.[citation needed]
  • On February 14, 2012, Stewart guest-starred on the ABC series Last Man Standing.[citation needed]
  • In 2013 and 2014, Stewart appeared as himself in a special series of McLaren's cartoon, Tooned, in partnership with Mobil 1.[citation needed]

Video games[edit]

Motorsports career results[edit]

IndyCar[edit]

IndyCar results[edit]

Indy 500 results[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team
1996 Lola Menard-Buick 1st 24th Menard
1997 G-Force Oldsmobile 2nd 5th Menard
1998 Dallara Oldsmobile 4th 33rd Menard
1999 Dallara Oldsmobile 24th 9th Tri-Star
2001 G-Force Oldsmobile 7th 6th Ganassi

IRL statistics[edit]

Year Races Wins Poles Top 5 Top 10 DNF Finish Start Winnings Season Rank Team(s)
1996 3/3 0 1 1 0 2 12.3 4.0 $349,303 8th Team Menard
1997 10/10 1 4 4 6 5 8.8 3.4 $1,090,450 1st Team Menard
1998 11/11 2 3 5 6 4 11.1 4.5 $1,002,850 3rd Team Menard
1999 1/10 0 0 0 1 0 9.0 24.0 $186,670 33rd Tri-Star Racing
2001 1/13 0 0 0 1 0 6.0 7.0 $218,850 39th Chip Ganassi Racing
Totals 26 3 8 10 15 11 10.1 4.8 $2,848,123

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Craftsman Truck Series[edit]

* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

References[edit]

  1. ^ Associated Press "SPORTS BRIEFING | AUTO RACING; Stewart Joins Haas Team", The New York Times, July 11, 2008. Retrieved June 22, 2009.
  2. ^ Craggs, Tommy. "Quick in His Seat", The New York Times, March 2, 2008. Retrieved June 22, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Biography at the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame
  4. ^ Schnatz, Pete (October 5, 1996). "A Nascar Newcomer Will Keep The Indy 500 In His Sights". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, PA. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  5. ^ Thomas, Michael (April 1, 1999). "Race Car Driver Tony Stewart". Circle Track. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  6. ^ a b Caraviello, David (January 20, 2014). "TOP 10 ROOKIE CAMPAIGNS AT NASCAR'S HIGHEST LEVEL". NASCAR. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  7. ^ Shapiro, Mark (July 13, 2001). "The field of hopefuls". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 4, 2014. 
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  14. ^ Defending NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski could miss Chase
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  23. ^ The Associated Press (May 9, 2010). "Stewart losing a sponsor in Old Spice after season – May 9, 2010". Nascar.Com. Retrieved November 26, 2011. 
  24. ^ #14 Tony "Smoke" Stewart Spins Out At Sonoma – June 26, 2011. (Interview). June 28, 2011. Retrieved November 22, 2011. 
  25. ^ Ryan, Nate (November 20, 2011). "Tony Stewart storms to Sprint Cup title with win in finale". USA Today. Retrieved November 21, 2011. 
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  28. ^ Ryan, Nate (October 5, 2012). "Tony Stewart lands Bass Pro Shops sponsorship". USA Today. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  29. ^ Newton, David (January 22, 2013). "Tony Stewart eyes future ride". ESPN. Retrieved 2013-03-27. 
  30. ^ "Roger Penske backs Joey Logano, says Tony Stewart blocks too". Sporting News. March 25, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-25. 
  31. ^ "Stewart breaks leg in sprint race". Fox News. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
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  33. ^ Fryer, Jenna (2013-08-08). "Tony Stewart undergoes 2nd surgery on broken leg". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
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  35. ^ DiZinno, Tony (2013-08-06). "Max Papis to replace Stewart at Watkins Glen". NBC Sports. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  36. ^ Associated Press (2013-08-11). "Smoke released from hospital; resting at home". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  37. ^ Cain, Holly (2013-08-10). "Smith would welcome ride in No. 14". NASCAR. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  38. ^ Pockrass, Bob. "Dale Earnhardt Jr. update: Regan Smith gets golden opportunity at Hendrick Motorsports". Sporting News. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
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  61. ^ Top Viral Ad Chart
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External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Buzz Calkins
Scott Sharp
Indy Racing League Champion
1997
Succeeded by
Kenny Bräck
Preceded by
Jeff Gordon
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Champion
2002
Succeeded by
Matt Kenseth
Preceded by
Kurt Busch
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion
2005
Succeeded by
Jimmie Johnson
Preceded by
Jimmie Johnson
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion
2011
Succeeded by
Brad Keselowski
Preceded by
Mark Martin
IROC Champion
IROC XXX (2006)
Succeeded by
Final
Achievements
Preceded by
Christian Fittipaldi
Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year
1996
Succeeded by
Jeff Ward
Preceded by
Kenny Irwin, Jr.
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year
1999
Succeeded by
Matt Kenseth
Preceded by
Kenny Wallace
Prelude to the Dream Winner
2006
Succeeded by
Carl Edwards
Preceded by
Carl Edwards
Prelude to the Dream Winner
2008, 2009
Succeeded by
Jimmie Johnson
Preceded by
Germany Michael Schumacher
Germany Michael Schumacher
United States Jimmie Johnson
Best Driver ESPY Award
2003
2006
2012
Succeeded by
United States Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
United States Jeff Gordon
United States Ryan Hunter-Reay
Preceded by
Jeff Gordon
Jimmie Johnson
Brickyard 400 winner
2005
2007
Succeeded by
Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson