|Occupation:||Race Car Driver|
|Birth Day:||May 20, 1971|
|Birth Place:||Columbus, United States|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He was the national midget series champion in 1994.
Tony Stewart got his first competitive go kart in Westport, Indiana in 1979. In 1980, he won his first championship. 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.
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 (Stewart's record would hold until 2002, when Jimmie Johnson tied the feat by winning three times; 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 Cup season with 3 wins, 12 top five finishes, 21 top ten finishes, 2 poles, a 10.3 average finish, and managed a 4th-place finish in the point standings, making it the highest points finish by a rookie in the modern era (which held until 2006 when his future teammate Denny Hamlin finished 3rd) and only bested by James Hylton, who finished 2nd as a first-timer in 1966. Not surprisingly, he ran away with the Winston Cup Rookie of the Year award.
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.
Prior to the 23rd running of the Brickyard 400, Stewart was inducted into the USAC Hall of Fame in recognition of his sterling United State Auto Club (USAC) career. He was the 1994 USAC National Midget champion; in 1995, Stewart became the first driver ever to claim all three of United States Auto Club National championships in a single season and is one of only six USAC “Triple Crown Champions.” To date, Stewart racing has also won seven USAC Silver Crown Series titles.
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.
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; however the deal fell through when Stewart decided he was not ready for the move.
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.
Stewart started his Sprint Cup career in 1999 with a bang, as he qualified his No. 20 The Home Depot-sponsored Pontiac on the outside pole for the Daytona 500. He showed courage in one of the Gatorade Twin 125s, when he was 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 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: 9th in the 1999 Indianapolis 500 and 4th at Charlotte. However, he only completed 1,090 miles (1,750 km) of the scheduled 1,100, as he finished 4 laps down at Indianapolis.
Stewart showed no signs of a sophomore slump in the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, winning a series-high six races (Martinsville, New Hampshire, Michigan, Homestead, and both Dover races). However, he fell to 6th 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."
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 Stewart retaliated in a post-race incident by spinning Gordon out on pit road. Stewart was fined and placed on NASCAR probation. He got into much bigger trouble in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, where he confronted a Winston Cup official after ignoring a black flag, which he had received for an illegal pass on Dave Blaney. In the same race, he had an incident with a Winston-Salem Journal reporter in which he kicked away a tape recorder. He confronted that same official during the Talladega race 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 do so after his crew chief Greg Zipadelli intervened. Stewart's fines and periods of probation resulting from these incidents have earned him a reputation of having a hot-temper, and he became known as NASCAR's "bad boy".
Stewart has won USAC car owner titles in the Silver Crown division in 2002 and 2003 with J. J. Yeley, in 2004 with Dave Steele and 2010 and 2011 with Levi Jones of Olney, Il. 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, 2009, 2010, and 2011 with Levi Jones of Olney, IL
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.
In January 2004, 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 second in the Gatorade 125. In the Daytona 500, he and Dale Earnhardt Jr. both dominated the race, leading 156 laps overall (98 for Stewart). Stewart was in contention to win it, only to lose the lead to Earnhardt Jr. with 20 laps to go. That would be Stewart's best finish in the Daytona 500.
In November 2004, 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.
Stewart purchased Eldora Speedway located near Rossburg, Ohio in late 2004 from Earl Baltes. 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.
After transitioning to the Cup level, Stewart continued racing in the Busch Series on a part-time basis. On August 16, 2005, Stewart was fined $5,000 and placed on probation until December 31 for hitting Brian Vickers after the completion of the Busch Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen. He was driving a Busch car owned by Kevin Harvick Incorporated at the time.
2005 was one of Stewart's most successful years in the Nextel Cup Series as he won his second Cup 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 a record 3 straight road course wins) and Indianapolis, his hometown track (in 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 November 20, 2005, Stewart won his second 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 to 2010. In victory circle, Stewart had said that he loved winning his 2005 championship better than his 2002 one because his 2005 season was more well-behaved than 2002. At an age of 34, 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.
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.
Following a rough Bud Shootout on February 12, 2006 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, 2006, 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. 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; 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.
On July 1, 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, 2006, 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.
Stewart missed the cut to qualify for the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup by 16 points, becoming the first defending champion to miss the Chase the following year. 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". Stewart won three races in the 2006 Chase (Kansas, Atlanta, and Texas).
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.
The season was not 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.
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. He also won his qualifying race for the Daytona 500.
On March 22, 2007, it was announced that Stewart would be on the cover of the official NASCAR video game NASCAR 08, published by Electronic Arts. This would be the third time this honor was given to Stewart (2001, 2004, 2008).
On June 4, 2007, Stewart and Kurt Busch had another altercation on pit road in the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover. Kurt Busch passed Stewart on the inside and 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 Stewart intentionally crashed Busch since they were bitter rivals over the year and had had contact early in the race. Under the caution, Stewart was on pit road and his crew was surveying the massive damage he received from the crash; when an enraged Busch pulled alongside and gave Stewart a profane gesture to express his feelings over the incident. One of Stewart's pitcrew members jumped out of the way of Busch's car to avoid being hit, while Busch was disqualified. Stewart was put on temporary probation for his part in the feud but was cleared from any further penalties.
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 65 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.
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 make pit stops.
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 left Joe Gibbs Racing. Ryan Newman came to the meeting to make his deal with SHR officially signed earlier in the year.
On July 5, 2008, during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, Stewart started feeling ill and turned his 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. Stewart earned his first and only win of the season in the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega on October 5, 2008 driving for Subway as his sponsor, making it 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.
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 sponsorships 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. To date, he is the most successful driver for Joe Gibbs Racing with 33 wins and 2 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).
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.
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. 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'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.
In the end of the 2008 season, 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 70 cars, now fields the No. 4, 14, 10, and 41 as Stewart-Haas Racing. This decision involved parting ways with long-time crew chief Greg Zipadelli, sponsor The Home Depot, car No. 20, and car owner Joe Gibbs, all of which he had spent 10 years with. Stewart formerly drove the No. 14 owned by Gene and Margaret Haas, which is now driven by Clint Bowyer. He is the owner of the No. 10, driven by Aric Almirola. Additionally, the No. 4 and 41 cars of Kevin Harvick and Cole Custer were newly added by Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. Harvick, in his first year with Stewart-Haas, won the Sprint Cup Championship in 2014. Stewart-Haas Racing switched to Ford in 2017.
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.
On May 9, 2010, it was reported that Stewart would lose Old Spice as a sponsor after 11 years with them.
Stewart won two races in 2010: the Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 and the Pepsi Max 400 at Auto Club Speedway on October 10, 2010.
On October 12, 2010, 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.
In 2011, Stewart returned in the No. 14 Office Depot-sponsored 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..." Stewart and his teammate, 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, 2011, 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.
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. Stewart and Edwards were tied on total points, but Stewart claimed the tiebreaker by having five race wins, all during the Chase, to Edwards's one win. In the process, Stewart became the first driver/owner to win the championship since Alan Kulwicki in 1992.
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.
On February 11, 2012, 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, 2012, Stewart won the rain-shortened Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. On June 3, 2012, Stewart was caught in a 13 car crash on the back leg at Dover and finished the race in 25th place.
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.
On October 2, 2012, Bass Pro Shops announced they would be a co-primary sponsor for Stewart in a selected number of races for the 2013 season.
Prior to August 11, 2013, speculation arose regarding who would replace Stewart on the oval courses, with speculation that the replacement would either be Regan Smith, who drove two races in Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car after Earnhardt was sidelined with a concussion in 2012, or Austin Dillon. It was announced after Watkins Glen that Dillon would drive Stewart's car for Michigan. On August 19, 2013, 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 No. 55 for races Martin was originally intended to drive for MWR in.
Stewart has also won World of Outlaws Sprint Car Championships as an owner with Donny Schatz in 2008–2009, 2012, and 2014–2018. The team was a two car operation with Schatz and Steve Kinser until Kinser’s retirement in 2016. The team currently competes full time in the World of Outlaws with Schatz.
In 2013, Stewart renewed his RCR deal to drive the No. 33 Oreos/Ritz Chevrolet. He won the opening Nationwide Series event at Daytona, overtaking Regan Smith on the last lap, but his win was overshadowed by worry because Smith had been turned and in the resulting crash, Kyle Larson had flown into the catchfence, completely slicing off the front part of his car and injuring 28 spectators in the grandstands (2 critically). 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; this would allow him finish 41st. He rebounded slightly with an 8th-place finish at Phoenix and an 11th-place finish in Las Vegas. At Bristol, Stewart blew his tire on lap 3 and cut a brake line; he came back out over 20 laps down, unable to contend for victory.
In September at Atlanta, team spokesman Mike Arning announced that Office Depot will not be Stewart's sponsor in 2013.
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.
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, which was at 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 day after the Pocono race, on August 5, 2013, 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. A second surgery was performed on August 8, 2013 in which a metal rod was inserted into the tibia. 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, though it was eventually announced that road veteran Max Papis would fill in for Watkins Glen. Stewart was eventually released from the hospital on August 11.
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.
On February 15, 2014, Stewart returned to sprint car racing in his No. 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:
On August 9, 2014, Stewart competed in an evening sprint car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Canandaigua, New York. About halfway through the race, Stewart bumped Kevin Ward Jr., causing Ward to lose control and spin out, into the wall. A full course yellow caution flag was displayed. Instead of waiting for race officials, an indignant Ward exited his vehicle and walked onto the track, gesticulating in defiance as Stewart approached. As Stewart approached under full course caution he hit Ward, impacting him with his right rear tire. Mortally injured when the right rear tire of Stewart's car struck him, Ward was flung 25 feet (7.6 m) across the track to his death. Ward was transported by paramedics to Thompson Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival, due to "massive blunt trauma".
On August 15, 2014, NASCAR announced a rule change requiring that drivers who are involved in an accident and are unable to drive their cars back to pit road or the garage must remain in their vehicles until emergency crews arrive, except in an emergency situation (such as a fire or smoke caused by a blown engine).
On September 24, 2014, 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 cannabis with levels high enough to impair judgment.
Stewart did not do as well in the 2015 season as hoped, as he failed to score a win for the second year in a row and missed the Chase. He even failed to finish higher than 6th-place for the first time in his career. He showed signs of a comeback after qualifying runs of 4th at Indianapolis, 5th at Pocono, 3rd at Watkins Glen, and 5th at Michigan. Bad calls by crew chief Chad Johnston, the aero package not complementing Stewart's driving style, and a string of bad luck further contributed to his woes.
On September 27, 2015, Bob Pockrass reported that Stewart announced plans to retire from racing at the conclusion of the 2016 season. Stewart formally made an announcement on September 30, 2015 confirming this and announcing that Clint Bowyer would replace him in the No. 14 in 2017.
In January 2015, Stewart purchased the All Star Circuit of Champions from Guy Webb. The purchase was Stewart's first foray into owning an entire racing series. In a separate agreement, Stewart announced that he had reached an agreement with the owners of the Renegade Sprint Series to merge with the All Star Circuit of Champions for the 2015 season under the All Star name.
On January 31, 2016, Stewart injured his back while riding a dune buggy outside of San Diego with fellow driver Greg Biffle. Four days later, Stewart-Haas Racing announced he had suffered a burst fracture in his lumbar vertebra, which would prevent him from competing in the Daytona 500. Stewart was replaced by Brian Vickers and Ty Dillon. Stewart missed the first eight races of the season. On April 24, 2016, Stewart returned to racing in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond, where he finished 19th. Before the Richmond race, NASCAR granted Stewart a waiver from the rule saying that a driver must attempt every race to be eligible for the Chase. If Stewart won a race and finished in the top 30 in the standings by the autumn Richmond race, he would qualify for the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
After a few years of going through the process of the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Ward family, it was announced in April 2018, that the suit had been settled out-of-court, just a few weeks before the trial was scheduled to begin. The terms of the settlement were confidential.
In 2020, Stewart planned to make his return to the now-Xfinity Series for the Pennzoil 150 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course, but plans were called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, Tony Stewart is 50 years, 6 months and 18 days old. Tony Stewart will celebrate 51st birthday on a Friday 20th of May 2022.
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