From the time Tony Stewart was eight years old he has been a champion. Stewart won his first championship in 1980. Three years later it wasn’t a local fair ground championship but the International Karting Federation Grand National Championship title that was his. In 1987 Stewart won the World Karting Association National Championship. Tony moved from go-karts to three-quarter midgets and in 1991 moved on to USAC winning Rookie of the Year. Three years later Tony Stewart won the 1994 USAC Championship title. In 1995 Tony Stewart became the first driver to win the USAC Triple Crown; National Midget, Sprint, and Silver Crown titles. In 1996 Stewart moved to the IRL and was once again crowned Rookie of the Year. True to form, Stewart went on to win the IRL Championship the following year.
In 1998, Tony Stewart hooked up with Joe Gibb’s Racing and ran 22 Busch Grand National races and by 1999 he was ready for the Winston Cup. In true Tony Stewart fashion he burst onto the Winston Cup scene with three wins his first season. He finished in the top-ten 19 times and earned enough points in his rookie year to finish the season in fourth place and be named Rookie of the Year. He also became the first driver to race in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day placing ninth and sixth respectively.
Stewart’s 2000 season gave him six trips to victory lane, including a win from the pole in the NAPA AutoCare 500. He finished in sixth place in the points standings. In 2001 Tony Stewart had three victories including a road course win at Infineon Raceway. Starting in 36 races, Stewart finished in the top-ten 21 times, including 15 top-five’s and was Winston Cup Champion runner up.
For Tony Stewart, the 2002 Winston Cup season is his crowning achievement. With three victories and 12 additional top-five finishes, Stewart won the Championship title he is most proud of, the Winston Cup Championship.
For Stewart the 2003 season was a bit more relaxing. Having won the championship and proving to himself that he could do it he could now have a little more fun doing what he loves which is racing. Not that winning made Stewart or the Home Depot team soft, they still want to win but they no longer had to wonder when their championship would come. Stewart had 18 top-ten finishes including two wins in the 2003 season and a seventh place finish in the points race.
Stewart heads into the 2004 Nextel Cup season with 17 career victories, a Winston Cup Championship title and a determination that will make him competitive for years to come.