2016 NASCAR SPRINT CUP
both love winning and genetically loathe
the alternative. And, in their day, they
couldn’t get enough of taking on different
The big difference is that Foyt
answered to no one and ran midgets,
sprints, sports cars and stock cars
whenever there wasn’t an IndyCar race.
That’s what makes Stewart’s checklist
of cars, tracks and associations so
impressive. In this day of specialized
drivers bound to one discipline by big
contracts and tied to sponsors, “Smoke”
escaped the system whenever he could.
Since starting full-time in Sprint Cup,
he’s raced 11 different types of cars in
33 different organizations, from Florida,
to Canada, to Australia.
He’s won sprint car races in the World
of Outlaws, All-Star Circuit of Champions,
ASCS, UNC, ESS, IRA, Patriot 360 and
SOD 360, plus midget races in POWRi
and at Tulsa’s Chili Bowl.
During his initial Cup championship in
2002 for Joe Gibbs, Stewart put together
one of the most diverse and impressive
seasons ever – winning the Chili Bowl
midget race, a Daytona 500 qualifying
heat, the IROC race at Daytona, a late
model stock car race at Berlin, Wis., a USAC
Tony Stewart left Joe
Gibbs Racing at the
end of the 2008
season to become
the co-owner of
with team founder
His return to the
Chevy fold saw
“Smoke” take his
third Cup title and
SHR’s first in 2011,
thanks to a five-win
rampage in the Chase.
later in 2014, Stewart
earned his first
championship as a
team owner, with
back-to-back wins at
Phoenix and the
(ABOVE) securing it.
THE BOSS MAN
sprint race at Altamont, Ca., a NASCAR
truck race at Richmond, and a USAC
midget/sprint doubleheader in Las Vegas.
That year he also competed in the
ARCA stock car show at DuQuoin, Ill.,
BMARA midgets at Angel Park, Wis.,
ISMA supermodifieds in Ontario, Canada,
USAC Silver Crown at Clermont, Ind.,
Sunoco modifieds at Thompson, Ct.,
USAC midgets at Kokomo, Ind., WISSOTA
late models at Cedar Lake, Wis. and
DIRT 467 modifieds at Lebanon Valley,
Pa., for a total of 70 starts.
It was amazing yet smart that Gibbs
allowed him that kind of freedom,
because it kept Stewart happy and,
obviously, when he started his own Cup
team in 2009 nothing was off-limits.
But the real DNA of a racer is that
“He can drive anything
under the sun on any kind of
race track. I wish he could
have run a Formula 1 race”
(MAIN) Tony Stewart
drove for Joe Gibbs
Racing for 10 seasons,
earning two Cup
33 race wins. (BELOW
LEFT) Two different
eras, but Stewart and
A.J. Foyt have much
in common as racers.