In 1994 and 1995, he won the USAC National Midget Series Championship, and in 1995, he won the USAC Silver Crown Series. In the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, he won six races. In 2002, Tony was elected "Hoosier Auto Racing Fans Driver of the Year." In 2003, he became the only person to win the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400, and the All-Star Race in the same year. He has also won the prestigious World Series of Poker Main Event twice, in 2004 and 2005.
Tony Stewart's first NASCAR race was in 2001 at the age of 28. He started last in the 10-driver field but came from behind to take the lead on lap 41 and never looked back as he beat out Jeff Gordon for his first victory. This would turn out to be just a preview of things to come for Tony as he went on to win 6 more races that season - including two more victories at Dover and Martinsville - to finish second in the points standings to Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Stewart has not finished outside the top five since then and has had three other runners-up finishes. He has also been involved in several controversies during his career, most notably when he was accused of causing the death of Kevin Ward, an elderly spectator who was killed when a piece of debris flew up into the stands at the 2001 Daytona 500.
Stewart has won championships in Indy, midget, sprint, and USAC Silver Crown cars during his racing career. He is the only driver in history to have won the IndyCar and NASCAR championships.
|Born||Anthony Wayne Stewart May 20, 1971 Columbus, Indiana|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight||180 lb (82 kg)|
From 1999 until 2008, he drove the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing vehicle, which was crewed by Greg Zipadelli and was sponsored by The Home Depot. Stewart won two Cup Series victories while racing for car owner Joe Gibbs in 2002 and 2005. ...
|Weight||180 lb (82 kg)|
Gordon, on the other hand, won the Winston Cup twice in a row in 1997 and 1998. He was the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 in 1997. After winning the Southern 500 at Darlington that year, he became the first driver since Bill Elliott in 1985 to win the Winston Million. Two years later, he became the first driver since Richard Petty in 1973-74 to win the championship in their rookie season.
He is one of only three drivers (the others being Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson) to win the championship before age 30. The other two wins came before Gordon turned 30.
His success helped make stock car racing popular again after it suffered through a slump following its role in the 1996 Olympics. In 1999, there were almost as many people watching NASCAR races online as there were attending them in person. That's when Ned Gay started the "Go to Bed Angry" campaign, which encouraged fans to stay awake during races to determine how they felt after seeing who the winner was.
The next day, everyone wanted to know if the winner of the race was able to go to bed happy.
In 2004, NASCAR banned its drivers from smoking marijuana because it affects judgment and attention span. In 2005, Gordon tested positive for marijuana use and was suspended for eight races. However, he fought the suspension and it was reduced to six races.