Tony Stewart needs no introduction. One of the all-time greats of US motor sport, his talent, passion, and dedication to racing has been rewarded with a lifetime of achievements that span beyond just race wins. trWith a championship-winning career spanning midgets, sprint cars, IndyCar, and Nascar, he also co-owns the Stewart-Haas Racing Nascar team, and owns Eldora Speedway, Ohio.
Starting his racing career in go-karts at the age of eight, it is unlikely that he realized just what heights he’d reach, beginning with a hugely successful stint racing in the world of United States Auto Club (USAC) — including four championships and the USAC Triple Crown, an unprecedented achievement at the time. In USAC, the top three divisions are Midget, Sprint, and Silver Crown, and in 1995, Tony redefined USAC success by winning all three classes in one season.
His obvious racing talent meant it didn’t take long for him to advance his career, switching disciplines entirely to pursue a masterclass effort in the IndyCar Series, claiming the championship in 1997. This followed into a Nascar career in what was, at the time, the Busch Grand National Series — a career that persisted for two decades, the last 18 of which were spent racing in the Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series.
With three Nascar Cup Series championships to his name, and myriad other accolades, Tony has recently retired from Nascar racing to focus on running the Stewart-Haas Racing team that he co-owns with Gene Haas. However, he has forged himself a legacy as one of motor racing’s all-time greats, and his passion for open-wheel dirt track racing is as strong as ever.
It’s this passion that will be bringing him to New Zealand, to compete in the Porter Hire International Sprint Car Series in early December this year. The Series opens at Vodafone Speedway Western Springs on Saturday, December 9, then heads south to Robertson Holden Speedway for the mid-week round before returning for the final round at Western Springs on Saturday, December 16.
Tony will be piloting his own 900-horsepower J&J sprint car which is being shipped in late October to ensure it arrives here in time, and Jimmy Carr will be travelling with Tony to ensure the car is up to the task.
“This has taken months to put this deal together,” said Greg Mosen, Promoter. “Tony has an extremely busy schedule, so getting this together is going to be great for the profile of Speedway here in New Zealand.”