Stock Car Racing Tony Stewarts final lap at Brickyard 400
NASCAR: Stewart, Gordon share last-lap memory
Sunday, 24 July 2016
Matt Weaver / Images by LAT, Getty Images for NASCAR
Defending Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch won his second consecutive Brickyard 400 on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but he wasn't the most notable story of the afternoon.
Nor was he the second.
That status belonged to Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, presumptively making their final NASCAR Sprint Cup starts at the track that launched both of their respective careers. Neither legend factored into the finish, but both stole postrace festivities from Busch in every way possible.
After taking the checkered flag, both drivers lined up on the frontstretch and took a celebratory victory lap around the 2.5-mile oval to say goodbye to the fans who arguably adored them more than any other. Stewart finished 11th and Gordon 13th, but both drivers agreed that they wanted to take one more lap.
It was Stewart's idea.
"It was cool," Stewart said of the lap. "I knew when we got the checkered we just didn't want to come in just yet. I wanted to run one more lap and Jeff was around us and before that last green run I told my spotter to go get his spotter and said after this thing is over, we need to go a lap around here together because most likely is the last time we'll both get a chance to do that.
"I couldn't think of a better guy to share that moment with than Jeff."
Gordon thought he had run his final Brickyard 400 last July, but it didn't end the way anyone wanted: a crash and 42nd-place finish. The four-time champion was called out of retirement earlier this week to replace the concussed Dale Earnhardt Jr., and he felt relieved to finish this race on a much more positive note.
It meant even more that he could finish it with Stewart.
"Well, Tony and I have gone through a lot over the years," Gordon said, "But he and I have become really good friends. I was with him when he got hurt earlier this year. And to see what he's done and how tough he is as a competitor – I've always known what a great guy and what a great racecar driver he is – but now I know more about who Tony Stewart the man really is.
"I'm just so proud that I was able to be here and race with him in his final [Brickyard] race."
Gordon brought the prerace drivers meeting to a slight delay on Sunday morning, taking the stage and asking his fellow drivers to recognize and applause Stewart for his contributions to the sport. It was moments like that and after the race that Gordon says will ultimately stick with him.
But with that said, Gordon was especially pleased to finish 13th with a car that qualified 21st, with a driver that hadn't competed since November.
"I enjoyed the moments," Gordon said. "But when we were up in 12th and [crew chief Greg Ives] made an excellent call to come in a little early, we made that car much better. I was having fun at that point. This is a challenging, challenging racetrack. It's really hard to get all four corners right. So there were moments of fun all day. I didn't want to see those restarts. I'm horrible on restarts, so those didn't help us any, but I got a few back on that last one."
Stewart started second and spent much of the first half inside the top 10, but was hit with a speeding penalty on lap 121. This caused him to lose a lap, which put him back in the field and led to picking up damage in a multi-car crash with seven laps to go.
Despite the adversity and relative disappointment, Stewart said this was the most relaxing Brickyard 400 he has ever taken part in.
"This has been the most relaxing Brickyard I've ever had and the most fun I've had at a Brickyard," Stewart said. "It was fun to win this race twice, but it was stressful to do it. For some reason this weekend, Drew Brown and Eddie Jarvis and everybody with us just made my schedule as open as they could to let me enjoy it, and we did.
"We had a lot of fun this weekend from start to finish."
Tony Stewart is only at halftime of his racing career
Curt Cavin , email@example.com
Tony Stewart career highlights
Columbus, Indiana, native Tony Stewart has been a racing fixture, with successful careers in USAC, IndyCar and NASCAR. But there have been challenges, too. Here's a look at significant times in his career. Scott Horner/IndyStar
(Photo: Bob Goshert / For The Star)
Tony Stewart has won season driving championships in USAC, IndyCar and NASCAR, which doesn’t leave much to pursue in U.S. auto racing.
Or does it?
As the most complete Indiana-born driver in history approaches a transition in his career – Stewart is retiring from stock car racing at season’s end – his father said another challenge awaits.
“He wants to win a (World of) Outlaws championship,” Nelson Stewart told IndyStar this week.
Wait. Stop the car. Find reverse. Back up.
“Yeah, he wants to be an Outlaws champion,” Nelson said. “It’s going to take a lot of work because he hasn’t even been in (a winged sprint car) in what, three years? But that’s what he’d like to do.”
If that’s Stewart’s plan – and the winner of three career Outlaw races hasn’t confirmed it – he would be a series part-timer next year with an eye on a title run perhaps as soon as 2018.
When Stewart announced his retirement from NASCAR last fall, he said he wanted to return to his dirt-track roots, and the Outlaws series is certainly that. Stewart owns a bevy of sprint cars; Tony Stewart Racing runs them out of a Brownsburg shop. But running for a season championship would require a significant commitment; the series website shows 94 nights of racing this season.
Stewart’s plans must be considered fluid because he hasn’t yet stepped away from NASCAR. He's committed to 18 more stock car races, including next weekend’s return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, then the fun he's been looking forward to begins.
Stewart told IndyStar last week that there are only a few for-sures on his current to-do list: running a sprint car at the Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals; using one of his midgets to return to Tulsa, Okla., for the Chili Bowl Nationals, a race he’s twice won; and an assortment of late model dirt races.
Stewart wants to broaden his racing horizons, too, starting with a play day with the Haas F1 team owned by Gene Haas, Stewart’s partner in Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart said he has “a light, semi-offer” to compete in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans sports-car race, which intrigues him.
He also mentioned participating in the Goodwood Festival of Speed, an English event of historic cars held each summer. Fellow NASCAR driver Mike Skinner, who has been to the showcase, said Stewart needs to introduce Goodwood to a sprint car, and of course, Stewart has never been one to avoid ruffling the establishment.
“Pull wheelies,” Stewart said, laughing with a hint of seriousness. “Thing is, those cars don’t turn corners worth a damn, so I’ll have to put two right-rear tires on it. We’ll have to do some testing to see if you can actually steer it.”
Stewart has seemingly raced everywhere across the Midwest and through much of New York and Pennsylvania – he’s won races in 28 states and three countries – but there is still more to see, more to do, more tracks to conquer and enjoy.
One he mentioned is up the road at Gas City (Ind.) Speedway, where Stewart has only watched races.
Retiring NASCAR star Tony Stewart of Columbus, Indiana, takes some laps on a dirt track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He likes the possibilities. Clark Wade/IndyStar
Don’t think for a moment that life after NASCAR is just a passing thought for Stewart; he gives it nearly 24/7 imagination. With the millions he’s earned as a stock car driver, his planning isn’t constrained by money. Long gone are the days when his father said it cost “$500 every time we backed out of the driveway” for a race.
In classic Stewart form, he detailed to IndyStar a 1984 GMC box truck that’s ready to roll whenever the urge to race locally hits.
“They made a custom grill for it, redid the whole inside,” he said, proudly. “It’s got a lounge in the first third of the box, two couches ... it’s got a bar and we’ll have tequila and shot glasses.
“In the back, I’m not sure where we got the locker, but it’s awesome – a legit single locker that I can put my helmet and gear in. There’s a big work bench and storage areas.”
Stewart also has an open trailer that he bought in Milwaukee, and that comes with a story, too. Stewart came across it for sale on eBay, and he admits being consumed by the Internet auction for it while on stage during a driver appearance.
“I was doing a Q&A with (broadcaster) Matt Yocum, sitting up there looking at my phone,” he said. “I’m looking to see if I won the auction.
“Triple tire rack, real bad-ass. That will be our Brownstown rig.”
Brownstown Speedway is a quarter-mile dirt track 30 miles straight south of Stewart’s home in Columbus. It stages late model races on Saturday nights.
Stewart also plans to build a TQ midget that might race once or twice a year.
“Everything else is going to have to be pickup rides,” he said. “But offers are coming in because people know we want to go race.”
* * *
Stewart turned 45 in May; his father is 78. Those are important numbers in establishing a potential timeline for the rest of Stewart’s career, which he calls “the next chapter in my life.”
See, Nelson isn’t done racing, either. With a Legends car, he competed in 48 races in 10 states last year. He has scaled back some this year, but the man’s a gasser, too.
“Tony won’t race as long as I have, but he’s been at it longer, too,” Nelson said. “Hell, he’s been racing for 37 years!”
Nelson was 19 when he ran his first race. His longest continuous driving stint was three years in the Sports Car Club of America, a predominantly amateur series, before he gave up driving to help his 7-year-old son get his racing career rolling. Nelson never lost the bug, however, despite working around a wife, two children and a job selling laboratory equipment for hospitals and physician's offices.
Tony’s first race of any kind was at a go-kart track in Westport, Ind., a 20-mile drive east of their Columbus home. Nelson remembers the light poles in the track’s corners, but it wasn’t much of a venue. He took Tony there once, garnering a fourth-place finish.
Father and son were on the go from there, with trips to seemingly every track where a youngster could get four wheels moving. One such track required senior-class drivers and their karts to weigh a combined 350 pounds. Nelson remembers Tony being 12 at the time, and the numbers didn’t add up.
“He couldn’t have weighed an ounce over 85 pounds, and the kart weighed 125 pounds,” Nelson said. “We had to put so much lead weight on that if that thing had gotten upside down, it would have crushed him.”
After Tony won, officials weighed them twice. As soon as the Stewarts seemed in the clear, they hurried out with the $125 prize.
On the way home from a race, Nelson remembers driving past another track. It was dirt and the tires on the car were for asphalt racing.
“We took their money (by winning) on slicks and got the hell out of there,” he said.
Earlier this week, Nelson went through the National Speedway Directory to see how many Indiana tracks his son has raced. The estimate came in at 28. Nelson counted his own tracks, too, totaling 23.
Like father, like son, right?
“I can remember taking go-karts into motel rooms at night and working on them,” Nelson said of the family’s effort to prepare Tony for stardom. “We were just like every other guy out there.
“We went up to New York one time and won on a Saturday, then drove all the way back to Muncie for a Sunday afternoon race. Won that one, too, We did a lot of stupid things back then.”
All of this supports the drive Tony will have long after he shuts off the No. 14 stock car for the final time Nov. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The racing fun is set to continue for years to come.
“I literally look at it like it’s halftime of a ballgame,” Tony said. “This is what the first half was and the direction it took, and this is the second half and it’s a totally different direction and a totally different approach.
“I think the second half of my life is going to be even more exciting than the first half was.”
Follow IndyStar reporter Curt Cavin on Facebook and Twitter: @curtcavin.
Last edited by senor honda; 11-29-2016 at 09:54 AM.
NASCAR: Stewart - My career's reached 'halftime'
Friday, 18 November 2016
RACER Staff / Image by Getty Images for NASCAR
As Tony Stewart goes through his final race weekend at Homestead, the three-time Sprint Cup champion said he hadn't had time to think about his immense legacy. An IndyCar championship. USAC's Triple Crown. An IROC title. The first – and only – driver to win championships in stock cars, Indy cars and open-wheel Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown cars. Wins at the Brickyard, Chili Bowl and seven victories in the season-opening Xfinity race at Daytona. Not on his mind.
But what he's most proud of? That's an easy question.
"I haven't [thought about legacy]. Normally legacy means you're old," he joked. "It's just been fun. It's been a fun 18 years. Not every part of it has been fun and I've made your guys' life hell at certain points during my 18-year run here, but the thing I think at the end of it I've always said what was on my mind whether it was popular or unpopular. I always fought for what I believed in, whether it was safety for other drivers or etiquette that was going on on the racetrack. At the end of the day I can sleep all right knowing that that's why I did it. It wasn't because I was trying to be a jerk. I just always spoke my mind and fought for what I believe in.
"The great thing is I'm not really going anywhere, and in the big picture, what's changing in my big picture, it's not really a huge change because 90 percent of the stuff that I'm already doing I'm still going to continue to do. It's a big part in the racing word, it's a big change, but for me it's not going to be that big of a change.
"I just look at it like it's halftime of a ball game. This is the end of the first half, and then the next season we start the second half, and it's going to be just as much fun if not more fun than this first half was. I'm excited about finishing this chapter, but I'm really excited about starting the next chapter next year."
Unfortunately for Stewart, perhaps the most touching moment of his final Cup weekend was too literal.
"Somebody reached out ... and stole my cell phone out of my pocket," he said. " That's been a hell of a start to the weekend to get your phone stolen. That was probably the biggest thing that was disappointing last night when I realized my phone was stolen was the fact that I was in the process of answering text messages from people. I got a flood of text messages yesterday and I think I'm gonna have a phone by tomorrow so I'm sure when I turn it on it's going to be absolutely crazy.
"It's been neat. People I haven't talked to for a long time, people that are friends that I haven't seen or heard from for a long time reached out this week, and it's been pretty cool."
So will he ever step in a Sprint Cup car again? He said he's been taught a lesson by Jeff Gordon, who was asked to fill in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and wound up "roped into running half the season."
"No, I'm good. This is it," he said. "This is the last one."
Tony Stewart sees the end of his Cup career as a driver like a halftime break
From The MarblesNov 18, 2016, 2:29 PM
HOMESTEAD, Florida —— As he prepares for the final race of his Sprint Cup Series career, Tony Stewart is already looking ahead to his life as an owner.
The three-time Cup Series champion is done as a driver after Sunday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. But much like Jeff Gordon’s transition from the cockpit to the NASCAR broadcast booth after the end of last season, Stewart isn’t disappearing from the scene after retirement. He’ll be around the track a lot as an owner.
“The great thing is I’m not really going anywhere,” Stewart said. “In the big picture what is changing really isn’t in my big picture. It’s not really a huge change because 90 percent of the stuff that I’m already doing I’m still going to continue to do. It’s a big part obviously in the racing world, it’s a big change, but for me it’s not going to be that big of a change.
“I just look at it like it’s half-time of the ball game in all honesty. This is the end of the first half and next season we start the second half and it’s going to be just as much fun if not more fun than this first half was. I’m excited about finishing this chapter, but I’m really excited about starting the next chapter next year.”
It’s a chapter with a new phone, too. Stewart was a bit preoccupied during his news conference pondering the whereabouts of his phone stolen Thursday night. And when he wasn’t discussing how the phone disappeared from his pocket, he was reflective upon an 18-year Cup career that’s included 49 wins.
Tony Stewart says he won’t be coming back as a sub like Jeff Gordon did this year. (Getty)
He said his proudest moment in the series would be his 2005 win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was the Indiana native’s first win at Indianapolis in 10 combined Brickyard 400 and Indianapolis 500 starts.
Second would be his third championship. Stewart won the season-finale at Homestead in 2011 to beat Carl Edwards via tiebreaker. It was a race that helped usher in the current winner-take-all Chase format that currently exists in the Cup Series. Stewart said Friday that one of the 25 helmets he’s getting from drivers as a retirement gift is Edwards’ helmet from that 2011 race.
While Stewart will be hanging around in his new full-time owner role, he said there’s no chance he’ll get back in the cockpit of a Cup Series car. While he’ll be racing all over the country in different types of cars, Stewart pointed to Gordon’s eight-race substitute appearance for Dale Earnhardt Jr. this season as a reason why he won’t be coming out of retirement in NASCAR.
“No, I’m good. This is it. This is the last one. I think I learned my lesson from Jeff,” Stewart said with a chuckle. “Jeff tried to do somebody a favor this year and got roped into running half the season (laughs). Thank you Jeff for teaching me a lesson before I got roped into it. So, no, I’m not planning on that at all. We are going to be busy.”
Stewart is also cool with a subdued sendoff this season, at least compared to the one Gordon got in 2015. Though he’ll always be known as a fiery competitor both on and off the track, Stewart’s retirement tour has been
“I just wanted to be another driver this year,” Stewart said. “It is my last year, but at the same time, if I was totally walking away from the series and never going to be here again, it might be a little different. I am going to be here a lot next year harassing everybody, so I don’t need all that.”
– – – – – – –
Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last edited by senor honda; 11-29-2016 at 10:04 AM.
Published on Nov 21, 2016
CUP: Tony Stewart ends his outstanding NASCAR career at Homestead-Miami Speedway and is excited for his future racing endeavors.
All of Tony Stewart's wins by WhatiFRacing
Published on Nov 20, 2016
3 Budweiser Duel Wins
3 Gatorade Duel Wins
1 No Bull 25 Win
1 Winston Open Win
1 All Star Win
by New World
Published on Apr 26, 2014
'The Rushville Rocket' from Indiana.
Tony Stewart has had an amazing career. Indy Champion, 3-time NASCAR champion, and many other championship wins under his belt, this is the documentary of his amazing career.
Favorite Stewart moments by MrFondestAlex
Uploaded on Nov 20, 2010
Haha you gotta love Tony Stewart. Credits for the videos goes to the respective owners. And thank you Acrokidflyer098 for helping me teach me how to put footages up on youtube.
Favorite Stewart moments 2 by MrFondestAlex
Published on Aug 10, 2012
To celebrate the 500 subs, I made a second video about "My Favorite Tony Stewart Moments" because he's the best NASCAR driver of all time and the funniest. I might start making NASCAR video series like these. Hope you enjoy it rather you like Tony Stewart or not Credit goes to these owners of the videos: jordanhightower, NascarCrash, rowdyeverylap, AndyMarquisLIVE, SlicedSmoke14, NARLtv, Jeff Gluck, BeSweeet, KingCuervo88, assdictator, tjexcite, gibbysgarage, NASCAR.com and ESPN.
Favorite Stewart moments 3 by MrFondestAlex
Published on Jan 18, 2013
It's back! You Tony Stewart fans motivated me to make another one of these and I did! Credits:
Last edited by senor honda; 11-29-2016 at 11:07 AM.
11-29-2016 11:09 AM
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