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Life Lock 400 at The Chicagoland Speedway 2009
Photos (Above) By Dan Peters
Tony Stewart talks to the media about the win last week at DaytonaPhoto By Dan Peters________________________________________
2009 Office Depot Chevrolet Impala SS
Tony Stewart poses with the No. 14 Chevrolet, the car he will drive this season for Stewart-Haas Racing.
On Wednesday, the third day NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Lowe's Motor Speedway, media went to Stewart-Haas Racing in Kannapolis, N.C., and spoke with team owner and driver Tony Stewart. It was announced on Wednesday that Burger King had signed a multiyear sponsorship with Stewart-Haas Racing.
Stewart-Haas Racing's owner and driver Tony Stewart (center) speaks with the media as team members (left to right) Director of Competition Bobby Hutchens, crew chief Darian Grubb, driver Ryan Newman, and crew chief Tony Gibson, on the third day of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour
Tony Stewart was fined $10,000 Monday for what the U.S. Auto Club deemed unsportsmanlike conduct during a midget race last week at O'Reilly Raceway Park.
Tony Stewart Racing also was placed on probation for the remainder of the USAC season.
Stewart reportedly knocked a radio headset off the head of one USAC official and shoved another following a ruling Thursday involving Stewart's car, driven by Tracy Hines.
Hines scraped the wall and pitted for a tire change, but his car was not deemed ready to re-enter the race in time to rejoin the field for the restart.
"While we respect the passion of our teams in the spirit of competition, we regret this incident occurred and are dedicated to averting a recurrence in the future,'' Jason Smith, vice president of racing operations for USAC, said in a statement.
The statement also included an apology by Stewart.
"Obviously, I handled this particular situation the wrong way, and if I had to do it over again, it never would've happened,'' he said.
Stewart also volunteered to pay for new radios and uniforms for USAC officials.
"While what took place at ORP last week was unfortunate, we applaud Tony's commitment to bettering USAC and for providing additional equipment officials use week in and week out,'' said Kevin Miller, chief executive and president of USAC.
Tony Stewart races the #20 Nationwide Series car for the final time at Chicagoland Speedway on July 11, 2008
Photo By Dan Peters
Tony Stewart, who announced Wednesday that he will leave Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the season, announces the formation of Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart will be part owner of the new team and be one of its two drivers in 2009.
Color Him Gone.. Stewart to leave Gibbs Racing after this season
Joe Gibbs Racing announced Wednesday it has agreed to release Stewart, a two-time Cup Series champion, from the final year of his contract. In turn, Stewart is purchasing what is believed to be a 50 percent stake in Haas CNC Racing and will drive for the team in 2009.
"I cannot thank Joe and J.D. Gibbs enough for the opportunity they gave me and for the support they've given me throughout my entire NASCAR career," Stewart said in a team statement. "I've learned so much from them and have a tremendous amount of respect for what they've built.”
"I've modeled my USAC and World of Outlaws teams the same way they built their NASCAR team, and I made it a point to find good people to run those programs. If I've learned anything from my time at Joe Gibbs Racing, it's that Joe Gibbs' saying of, 'You win with people,' is incredibly true. They always surrounded me with not just good people, but great people, and the results speak for themselves.
Greg Zipadelli, whose 10-year tenure as crew chief for Tony Stewart is the longest running driver-crew chief relationship in NASCAR, talks to the media about how the team will move on without Stewart next season.
"We've had a lot of success with Tony in our 12 years here at Joe Gibbs Racing," said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. "While this moment is bittersweet, we're parting on good terms and we know that each of us has benefited greatly from the other.
"We grew to two teams in the Sprint Cup Series with Tony and The Home Depot in 1999, and two championships and 32 wins followed. While our time together is coming to an end, we know there's still a lot of racing left this season and we plan to make the most of it. On behalf of everyone at JGR, we're proud of everything we've accomplished together with Tony and we wish him the best in pursuing his dream of NASCAR team ownership."
Tony “Smoke” Stewart was linked to Haas CNC Racing as early as Talladega weekend in April. At that time he said, "A wise person told me it never cost a dime to listen, so right now we're all ears."
Stewart ran five races for JGR in 1997 in what is now known as the Nationwide Series while competing full-time in the IRL IndyCar Series. After winning the IndyCar Series championship in 1997, Stewart upped his Nationwide Series schedule with JGR to 22 races in 1998 in preparation for his rookie season in the Cup Series in 1999.
With a then rookie-record three Cup wins, Stewart collected Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors and finished an impressive fourth in points. After finishing second in Cup points in 2001, Stewart scored his first championship in 2002 by 38 points over Martin. He followed that championship with another title run in 2005 when he beat Biffle for the crown by 35 points.
Stewart's parting from JGR at the conclusion of the 2008 season will end the longest active driver/crew chief relationship in the Sprint Cup garage. Greg Zipadelli will remain as crew chief of the No. 20 Toyota in 2009.
"We've accomplished so much in our 10 years together on the track, and off the track, he's been like a big brother to me. It's a friendship I cherish and expect to continue, even while he stays at Joe Gibbs Racing and I move on," Stewart said.
"No matter what, Tony and I will remain close friends," Zipadelli said. "I know when it comes to the No. 20 team, things will obviously be a lot different next year, but I remain as committed as ever this year to winning races with Tony and securing our spot in the Chase to contend for a third championship."
Stewart currently is 12th in the standings, just two points ahead of Harvick.
"We can still win races and compete for a championship and go out on top. For 2008, that's my number one goal," said Stewart, who will also compete for JGR in the two Nationwide races still remaining on his original, nine-race series schedule -- Friday at Chicagoland and Aug. 16 at Michigan.
Speculation is that Nationwide rookie sensation Joey Logano will move into the No. 20 car vacated by Stewart. However, sources confirmed to NASCAR.COM that no decision has been made on who will replace Stewart on the team after this season.
"The 20 car has been one of the all-time great partnerships in NASCAR for the last decade with the combination of Tony, Zippy, The Home Depot and Joe Gibbs Racing," team owner Joe Gibbs said. "While we are losing one piece of the puzzle, we think the No. 20 team will remain strong for many years to come."
There is no word on Haas CNC's current stable – including Scott Riggs in the No. 66 and the No. 70, which has had several drivers this season.
Stay Tuned …
2007 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
Spider Men !!! Tony Stewart and his crew climb the fence at the Brickyard
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
Stewart started his Winston Cup career in 1999 with a bang, as he qualified his #20 Home Depot Pontiac in second place in his first Cup race, the Daytona 500. He showed courage in one of the Gatorade Twin 125 races, when involved in a great battle with Dale Earnhardt for the win. The Intimidator came out on top, but Stewart had nonetheless impressed quite a few people with his performance. In the 500 itself, 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 10. He only failed to finish a race once, and even then, he was credited with 9th place. He won a pair of pole positions at short tracks, and set a series record for victories by a rookie with three. He finished his first year an unprecedented 4th in points, the highest points finish by a rookie in the modern era (until 2006 when rookie, and current 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.
Stewart also attempted to race 1,100 miles 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. His attempt at "The Double" was fairly successful. He finished in the top 10 at both races; ninth in the 1999 Indy 500 and fourth at Lowe's Motor Speedway. However, he only completed 1,090 miles of the scheduled 1,100.
Stewart showed no signs of a sophomore slump in Winston Cup in 2000, winning six races. However, he "slipped" 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. Tony 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."
Tony's 2001 season got off to a frightening start, as he was involved in a spectacular crash in the Daytona 500 where his car violently flipped over several times. He walked away unscathed, recovered to win three more races 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 for the Cup championship.
The 2001 season was not without controversy, however. Jeff Gordon pulled a "bump and run" on Stewart to gain a better finishing position in a race in 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 refusing to wear a mandated head-and-neck restraint. Stewart was not allowed to practice until wearing 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".
Tony 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 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.
As defending champion, Stewart managed to have a relatively incident-free 2003. Driving a Chevrolet instead of his previous Pontiac (Gibbs switched between manufacturers), 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 but led more laps than he had the previous year and was highly competitive in the final races of the year.
The 2004 season was highlighted by first victory coming at Chicagoland as well as his second victory at Watkins Glen International. Stewart qualified fourth for the first ever Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. However an incident at the first race of The Chase at New Hampshire International Speedway 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 Nextel Cup drivers and dirt track legends.
In 2004, Stewart teamed with Englishman Andy Wallace and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in a Boss Motorsports Chevrolet to take fourth in the 24 Hours of Daytona sports car 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 with Stewart at the wheel, 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.
2005 was one of Stewart's most successful years in the Nextel Cup. He won five races, including the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard, 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 the car of Brian Vickers, 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. In an apparently unrelated incident, Kyle Busch was fined $10,000 and placed on identical probation for ramming Anthony Lazzaro's car after the Sirius Satellite Radio race, also at Watkins Glen.
Following his second win of the season, Stewart began climbing the fence separating the fans from the race track after each victory, used by IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves. Tony 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 to have won multiple championships. He also is one of the youngest drivers to win multiple championships. He was praised by fellow competitors, notably NASCAR veteran Mark Martin who proclaimed Stewart as the greatest NASCAR driver of his era. 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 also went through training to become a deputy sheriff in Alabama.
Stewart's 2006 season was very much up and down. 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 during the middle of the season and drove in pain for several weeks. 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 the death of legend Dale Earnhardt, who died on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Just a few days after Stewart's comments to the media, during the 48th running of the Daytona 500, he was involved in a number of incidents with Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth, who 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.The so-called rivalry was short-lived as Kenseth and Stewart participated as friends in a joint promotional tour for DeWalt and 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 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 fellow driver 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.
Tony Stewart missed the cut to qualify for the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup by 16 points. 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).
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.
His 2007 racing season started out with Stewart winning his second Chili Bowl Nationals midget car feature. Tony 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. Stewart dominated and had the car to beat. It looked like Tony was going to be the first NASCAR driver to win the Bud Shootout, a Gatorade Duel, and the Daytona 500 in the same Speedweeks, but on lap 152, luck went south as Tony was knocked out of the race when Kurt Busch bumped Stewart's left rear bumper. This also caused Busch to be knocked out of the race. Tony 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 Tony will be on the cover of NASCAR 2008 for the third time (2001, 2004, 2008).
In his first Car of Tomorrow race with the Impala SS, Stewart was dominant at Bristol Motor Speedway, leading 257 of 504 laps (green-white-checkered finish). But a fuel pump problem spoiled his shot at the win. At the third Car of Tomorrow race located at Phoenix International Raceway Stewart was again the man to beat leading a race high 154 laps, but a late race caution moved Stewart to second, where he finished behind Jeff Gordon. In the week following the caution Stewart implied the cautions were "bogus" and that NASCAR is rigged like professional wrestling.
At the All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway, he finished 5th behind Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, and Jeff Burton. At the Coca-Cola 600, Stewart finished sixth, after losing the fuel gamble and having to come in to pit for gas.
On July 29, 2007, after leading a race high 66 of 160 laps, Stewart won the "Allstate 400 at the Brickyard" race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, just 45 minutes from where he grew up. During the victory lane interview, Stewart used the word "bullshit" in his interview. He was penalized 25 points and fined $25,000. This comes after he was criticized by ESPN for saying that he had a case of Schlitz that he "fully intended to see the bottom of the cardboard box tonight. ESPN analyst (Woody Paige) had previously stated Stewart wasn't a good role model.
On August 12, 2007, he won the Centurion Boats at the Glen at Watkins Glen International after Jeff Gordon spun his car around after wheel hopping in turn 1 with two laps to go
He 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.
Stewart is the owner of a World of Outlaws sprint car driven by Paul McMahan. 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. His current driver lineup in USAC consists of Josh Wise in the midget and sprint cars and Levi Jones in the sprint car and national midget Series. 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. He appeared on the 2007 hit show "Drake and Josh", where he helped Drake steal the principals car and ram it into a school bus.
NASCAR driver Tony Stewart purchased Eldora Speedway speedway located near Rossburg, Ohio in late 2004 from Earl Baltes. Tony Stewart is currently a co-owner of Paducah International Raceway in Paducah, KY. He also co-owns Macon Speedway in Macon, Il along with Kenny Schrader, Kenny Wallace and Bob Sargent.
Tony Stewart Wins Geico 400 Chicagoland Speedway
September 19, 2011
Victory Lane Photos By Mark Rotor
Race Day Photos (Below) By Dan Peters
2011 Tony Stewart NASCAR Nationwide Series Chevrolet Impala #4 (NASCAR)
Tony Stewart won the season opening Nationwide race in a thriller at Daytona in the #4 Car
Photo Gallery from 2010 Brickyard 400 at Indianapoils
STEWART COULD ADD MORE FIRSTS TO MAGICAL SEASON AT BRICKYARD
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, June 8, 2009 Tony Stewarts sensational season of firsts could continue July 24-26 at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, and a victory at IMS could help him achieve the most significant first a season championship as an owner-driver in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in nearly 20 years.
For Complete Story..
Tony Stewart relaxes on top of his pit box after being replaced by J.J. Yeley on Lap 72. Yeley was on standby for Stewart, who was feeling under the weather.
Tony Stewart Finally wins at Talladega Superspeedway..
Tony Stewart celebrates with Britney Brewster in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway
Tony Stewart is congratulated by Morgan Shepherd, who finished 13th in the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway
Tony Stewart's No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing crew services his car. Stewart led the most laps (81) in the Aaron's 312
After Tony Stewart led the first six laps of the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, Brad Keselowski took the lead from Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. worked together during the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. But in the end, Earnhardt Jr. got shuffled back from second to sixth.
TONY STEWART AT DAYTONA
Stewart Makes Daytona Debut With Toyota
Toyota Has Eight Of The Top 10 Times in Tuesday Morning Session of NASCAR Preseason Thunder
New Car, Same Tony-Zippy Combo Last year ended a run of four straight top-10 finishes for Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Toyota) at the Daytona 500 a string that included a second-place showing in 2004. This week, Stewart arrived in Daytona with a new car as Joe Gibbs Racing has switched over from Chevrolet to Toyota.
One thing that hasnt changed, though, is Stewarts relationship with crew chief Greg Zipadelli. The two have been together for Stewarts entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career and have the longest partnership in the garage.
Weve done this off and on for 38 weeks a year for nine straight years, Stewart said. We have the same passion and desire to win, and when you have that and when you have a combination like that, you work really hard to protect it. I think Zippy and I are now in that position where we dont see each other doing something away from each other.
Pit Stops Toyotas started with eight of the top 10 times in the Monday morning session, and followed up with a similar showing in the Monday afternoon session. Dave Blaney (No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota) posted a top speed of 185.445 mph (48.532 seconds) to lead eight Toyotas in the top nine times, and 11 of the top 13. Earnhardt Jr. was second fastest Monday afternoon at 185.426 mph (48.537 seconds).
Earnhardt topped the speed charts Tuesday morning at 185.820 mph (48.434 seconds), followed by Waltrip at 185.357 (48.555) and Brian Vickers (No. 83 Red Bull Toyota) at 184.638 (48.744).
Tony Stewart at Daytona,
Anthony Wayne Stewart (born May 20, 1971) is an auto racing driver who was born in Columbus, Indiana. He has won championships in sprint cars, Indy cars, and stock cars. He currently drives the #20 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCARSprint Cup series and is sponsored by The Home Depot. He also drives in the NASCAR Busch Series part-time in multiple cars, most notably, the #33 Old Spice Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS for Kevin Harvick Inc.
Born in Columbus, Indiana, on May 20, 1971 Stewart grew up racing go karts and was successful very early, winning the World Karting Championship in 1987. He raced three-quarter midgets until 1991, when he moved up 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, fifth in 1993 after winning the Hut Hundred,  and was the National Midget series champion in 1994.
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. The highlights of the year were winning the Hut Hundred and 4-Crown Nationals.
When he wasn't racing Indy Cars, he raced stock cars. In 1996, Tony made his NASCARBusch Series debut, driving for car owner Harry Rainer. In nine races, however, he had only a best finish of 16th place. He had more success in a one-time ride in the Craftsman Truck Series, where he finished 10th.
Tony was poised to improve his Indy Racing League (IRL) standing in 1997, but struggled with finishing at times. He failed to finish the first three races of a ten race schedule, but recovered to finish second at Phoenix. At that year's Indy 500, Stewart had a good enough car to win his first IRL race, leading 64 laps. However, he trailed off near the end of the race and settled for 5th. Tony 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. 
As he had done the previous year, he raced a handful of Busch Series races. This time, he was racing for Joe Gibbs, NFL Hall of Fame head coach of the Washington Redskins who was having a lot of success with driver Bobby Labonte in Winston Cup. 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 something of a disappointment, especially 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 extremely 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 Tony that he was moved into Cup for the 1999 season. With that move, Stewart ended his three year career as a full time IRL driver after having continued difficulty fitting into the car.
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