Born as Anthony Wayne Stewart on May 20, 1971 in Columbus, Indiana, to Pam Boas and Nelson Stewart, he also has a sister called Natalie. Tony is a race car driver, car owner and entrepreneur in NASCAR's Sprint Cup. In his illustrious career, he has managed to win championships in the Indycar Series, the Nextel Cup, the Winston Cup, USAC and the IROC Series.
Besides racing, he also runs the Tony Stewart Foundation, which his mother is actively involved in. His sister contributes a great deal towards the initiatives of the Tony Stewart Fan Club. In 1997, Tony bought his childhood house and moved back to Columbus, the only place which he calls home. He also owns a race track called 'Cedar Lake Speedway' in Wisconsin. In 2003, he appeared in the music video The Road I'm On by 3 Doors Down.
Tony Stewart grew up racing go karts and found success early on, winning a World Karting Association Championship in 1987. Until 1991, he continued racing three-quarter midgets, after which he shifted to the United States Auto Club (USAC) Series with the help of his friend and karting sponsor Mark Dismore. In 1991 itself he was selected as the USAC Rookie of the Year. He also won the Hut Hundred in 1993 and bagged the National Midget Series Championship in 1994.
1995 was an excellent year for Tony Stewart. He bagged the Triple Crown in the USAC version when he won the championship in all three major divisions - National Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown. He also managed to win the Hut Hundred and 4-Crown Nationals. He made his NASCAR Busch Series debut in 1996, driving for car owner Harry Rainer. However, he wasn't very successful at the start and just managed a best of 16th place in nine races.
In 1997 too he had a poor start to the Indy Racing League and failed to finish his 1st three races. Later, he bounced back well and finished 2nd at Phoenix. Finally, Tony achieved his 1st career win at Pikes Peak. He then went on to win the series championship and managed to beat the all-season leader, Davey Hamilton to the title. He also went on to win the Copper Classic in 1997 and 1998.
Stewart then started racing for Joe Gibbs, the Washington Redskins' NFL Hall of Fame head coach. He managed to finish most races, and always ranked in the top 10 in all the races that he managed to complete. Joe Gibbs was so impressed with Stewart that he signed him up to drive majority of the Busch schedule - this along with his full-time IRL race schedule! This double racing and increased schedule did not affect Tony's performance at all. He won the IRL Championship twice and finished 3rd once. In the Busch racing, he had five top-5 finishes.
Currently, Stewart drives the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet Impala SS for his own team called Stewart-Haas Racing, managed by crew chief Darian Grubb. In the NASCAR Nationwide Series, he also drives part-time for Hendrick Motorsports in the #80 Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet Impala SS. Stewart drove the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Car under the supervision of crew chief Greg Zipadelli, while Home Depot was the primary sponsor. This ten-year stint with the same team, sponsor, and crew chief is a NASCAR record. Presently, Stewart is the owner/driver of Stewart-Haas Racing.
Tony had a lot of trouble controlling his short temper. His fellow competitors described his driving style as over-aggressive. He has also been known to hit other drivers, be it on the race track or the pit lanes. In 2002, he was accused of hitting a photographer and pushing a fan, due to which he had to spend time on probation. Lately, he has learned to control his anger - something which landed him into trouble earlier on numerous occasions.
As far as the IndyCar Series competition is concerned, he was an active racer there from 1996 to 2001. During this period, he was associated with teams like Chip Ganassi Racing, Tri-Star Racing, and Team Menard. In 23 starts, he managed 8 pole positions and 3 wins. Moving on to NASCAR, in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, he never managed to start any race on pole position, but did manage 2 wins and 5 top ten finishes. In the NASCAR Nationwide Series, he bagged 6 pole positions, and chalked up 10 wins and 39 top ten finishes. And lastly, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, his record is phenomenal, with 12 pole positions, 41 race wins, and 247 top ten finishes. These figures are only going to go upwards as he still continues to race as we speak.
Tony Stewart's career in car racing has been a long and illustrious one. His over-aggressiveness (disliked by a few) could be one of the reasons for his success on the race track. And there are quite a few people around the world who see him as their idol.