Before Tony Stewart made his mark in Indy cars and NASCAR, he made a name for himself in the rough-and-tumble world of midget racing. The superstar began driving for Nine Racing in 1995—a record-breaking season, as it was the year Tony was the first ever to win the enviable USAC Triple Crown, earning championships in all three of USAC's major divisions in the same season: National Midget, Sprint, and Silver Crown. What’s more, Tony—1995 USAC National Champion—drove the #9 midget to victory in six events that year. He went on to win three events in 1996, three in 1997, two in 1998, two in 2000, one in 2001 and one in 2002, for a total of 18 victories for the team at tracks like Terre Haute Action Track, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Phoenix International Raceway, Eldora Speedway, and the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Tony, who notched wins in such historic races as Copper World Classic (1997–1998, 2000) and the Turkey Night Grand Prix (2000), was on board full time with Nine Racing for the entire 1995 season, raced part time in 1996, and then ran select races thereafter.
Tony's racing career began at age seven behind the wheel of a kart; his first championship resulted from winning a four-cycle rookie junior class championship at the Columbus Fairgrounds in 1980 when he was eight years old. Two national-level karting championships followed: the 1983 International Karting Federation Grand National championship and the 1987 World Karting Association National championship. By 1989, Tony began the transition from karts to higher-horsepower, open wheel machines. He raced three-quarter midgets before turning his attention to the USAC ranks in 1991.
Tony has four USAC championships, including USAC's Triple Crown win, success that led him to earn a ride in the IndyCar Series. There he won the series championship in 1997, which sowed the seeds of Tony's current success in NASCAR. A slate of 22 NASCAR Busch Series races with Joe Gibbs Racing in 1998 prepared Tony for his assault on the Cup ranks in 1999.
Tony has won some of the biggest races in motorsports. He is a two-time winner of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard (2005 and 2007), three-time winner of the season-opening NASCAR Busch/Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway (2005, 2006 and 2008) and two-time winner of the famed Chili Bowl at Tulsa Expo Raceway (2002 and 2007). He also achieved Rookie of the Year honors in Cup (1999), the Indianapolis 500 (1996), and USAC (1991).
In addition to winning races and championships behind the wheel of race cars, Tony wins races and championships as a car owner. His team, Tony Stewart Racing (TSR), fields two entries in the USAC Midget and Sprint car divisions and two entries in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. His USAC drivers are Levi Jones and Tracy Hines, while his World of Outlaws drivers are Kraig Kinser and two-time and reigning series champion Donny Schatz. Since its formation in November 2000, TSR has earned eight championships—seven in USAC and one in the World of Outlaws.
Tony is also a track owner. He owns Eldora Speedway, a half-mile dirt oval where he frequently raced as an up-and-coming USAC driver, and is part-owner of Paducah International Raceway in Kentucky and Macon Speedway in Illinois. In 2003, he formed the Tony Stewart Foundation, which raises funds that are distributed to three specific groups—children, drivers, and animals.
Tony often returns to his USAC racing roots, and in January 2008 won (for the fifth time) the 10th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne 60-lap USAC midget race inside the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center in Indiana. Tony currently owns a NASCAR Sprint Cup team and drives the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet. He earned 11 championships since he first wheeled a kart in 1978.
Nine Racing Stats
2002: Won USAC National Midget Series Event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Bullring
2001: Won USAC National Midget Series Event at South Boston Speedway
2000: Turkey Night Grand Prix Champion at Irwindale Speedway Copper World Classic Midget Champion at Phoenix International Raceway
1998: Won USAC National Midget Series Event at Charlotte Motor Speedway Copper World Classic Midget Champion at Phoenix International Racewa
1997: Won USAC National Midget Series Event at Beaver Dam Raceway Won USAC National Midget Series Event at Indianapolis Raceway Park Won Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway
1996: Won USAC National Midget Series Event at Indianapolis Raceway Park Won USAC National Midget Series Event at Lakeside Speedway Won USAC National Midget Series Event at Terre Haute Action Track
1995: USAC National Midget Series Champion Won USAC National Midget Series Event at Louisville Motor Speedway Won USAC National Midget Series Event at Eldora Speedway Won USAC National Midget Series Event at Terre Haute Action Track Won USAC National Midget Series Event at Indianapolis Raceway Park Won USAC National Midget Series Event at Lakeside Speedway Won USAC National Midget Series Event at Terre Haute Action Track