Tony Stewart is a top NASCAR driver who has had numerous racing championship victories over the course of his auto racing career. Stewart has competed in sprint cars, stock cars and Indy cars. A fine racer and caring individual, Tony Stewart is known by fans as “Smoke”, “Tony the Tiger”, “The Columbus Comet” and “The Rushville Rocket”.
Anthony Wayne Stewart, better known as Tony Stewart, was born in Columbus, Indiana on 20 May 1971. As a youngster, Stewart was an avid racer, and at 7 years of age he began go-kart racing and accomplished much. In 1987 Tony Stewart won the World Karting Championship. He competed in three-quarter midgets, but advanced to the USAC (United States Auto Club) series in 1991. 1995 saw Stewart winning the Triple Crown which included winning the titles of National Midget, Silver Crown and Sprint. He was the first driver to do so. He participated in the IRL for 2 years and was named Rookie of the Year in 1996.
Finally in 1999 Tony Stewart entered the world of NASCAR with Joe Gibbs Racing, soon proving his talent in the driver’s seat. At his first race, the Daytona 500, he managed to qualify in second place. His entire rookie season was masterful, with 3 victories and 2 second-place finishes. All through his NASCAR career, Stewart has participated in Midget racing when possible. In 2001 he became an inductee of the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
Tony Stewart is keen to race any machine, at any place and anytime, and having won several championships in IRL, NASCAR, USAC and go-karts, Tony Stewart is a power to be reckoned with.
Tony Stewart is not only a top race car driver, but also a humanitarian of sorts. He has established the Tony Stewart Foundation which, by means of fundraising projects and community involvement, contributes to charitable organizations. Over and above racing and charity work, Stewart hosted a radio show called Tony Stewart Live between 2007 and 2008.
Located in Sparta, Kentucky, the Kentucky Speedway has played host to some of America’s most popular racing events, including the NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, IRL IndyCar Series, IRL Firestone Indy Lights, and the ARCA RE/MAX Series. It is a 1.5 mile tri-oval track measuring 70 feet wide with 12 foot shoulders and turns banked at 14 degrees. The grandstands have a seating capacity of more than 60,000 with a 2,000 seat Bluegrass Club and plenty of camping spaces and facilities to accommodate the crowds of racing enthusiasts attracted to the track by its program of events.
Some of the “firsts” recorded for the Kentucky Speedway include the first race on June 16, 2000, being the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series “Kentucky 150”. The attendance at the event was 36,210 and the winner was Bill Bigley Jr., with an average speed of 111.747 mph in his #28 Peerless Woodworking/Nevamar Decorative Services Chevrolet. The purse was set at $95,050. The first pole sitter at this inaugural event was Brian Smith in his #20 Juba Glass Chevrolet Monte Carlo, with a qualifying time of 150.038 mph. The first winning crew chief was Bill Bigley, Sr.
In May 2008, Speedway Motorsports bought Kentucky Speedway from Jerry Carroll, with the deal finalized in October of that year. Its been reported that the new owners aim to secure a place in the NASCAR Sprint Series, but as at the end of 2009 this had not yet become a reality. Nonetheless, Kentucky Speedway continues to host the other events mentioned at the outset, offering auto racing enthusiasts a world-class venue to enjoy their favorite fast-paced sport.
The now very popular Richmond International Raceway started life as a little track known as ‘Strawberry Hill’. It was first used as a racetrack venue in 1946 when Ted Horn drove his champ car to victory on the 0.5-mile dirt track that came to be known as ‘Strawberry Hill Speedway’. These races were usually held once a year on the third Saturday of April. In the period that followed between 1953 and 2000, the track had three name changes and four configuration changes. The surface was changed from dirt to asphalt and lights were added to the facility in 1991. Ever since then, all races have been held ‘under the lights’ – something which helps make Richmond International Raceway somewhat unique.
Today the Richmond International Raceway is known for hosting some of the best NASCAR and IndyCar Series racing. The raceway features a D-shaped, 0.75 mile (1.2 km) asphalt track and is part of the 800-acre, multi-purpose Richmond Raceway Complex. Although the track is fairly short, it’s layout allows for excellent side-by-side racing and drivers are able to reach speeds similar to that of a superspeedway. This means that only the most skilled drivers can make their way to first place and there is plenty of action during the course of the average race. The Richmond International Raceway currently hosts the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the Busch Series, the Indy Racing League, the United States Auto Club Silver Crown and National Sprint Car Series. The last 30 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races have been sold out and the track is known for producing some of the best racing in the sport.
In the past, Richmond International Raceway has been known as the ‘Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds’, the ‘Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds’, the ‘Virginia State Fairgrounds’ and the ‘Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway’. From these various names it is easy to tell that the Raceway complex is not only used to host racing events. It is also used to host a number of agricultural shows, expositions, sports and crafts shows and seasonal fairs. This means that the raceway complex is almost always busy with some major event but the most popular of these are the races.
The Indy Racing League, or IRL, is a sanctioning body for open-wheel auto racing in America. Best known for the popular Indianapolis 500, the IRL endorses the IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and, as of 2010, the U.S. F2000 National Championship.
Tony George was responsible for the establishment of the IRL back in 1994, with racing beginning in 1996. George’s goal was to found a lower-cost alternative to CART, which was only accessible to wealthy teams who could afford the expensive technology. As of 2008 Champ Car racing (previously CART) was merged into the IRL.
IndyCar vehicles look similar to open-wheeled formula racing cars, featuring wings and large airboxes. The cars have strict specifications, with all cars using the same parts. Every three years, the chassis and engine manufacturers are reviewed. Originally built just for oval racing, the new generation of IndyCar machines are made to deal with road racing too.
The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, or Indy 500, takes place each Memorial Day weekend at America’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway. One of the oldest motorsport races, the Indy 500 draws large crowds each year. It is an event avid racing fans would not want to miss. Winners of the Indianapolis 500 have included Dario Franchitti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Rick Mears, Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sam Hornish, Jr. Scott Dixon, and others.
Watkins Glen International is situated near Watkins Glen, New York. Over the years Watkins Glen has been host to a variety of different races, including a lot of the IMSA series, SCCA series, Formula One, NASCAR and Indycar.
Watkins Glen Schedule is made up of a couple of SCCA National races, quite a number of SCCA regionals take part on the track throughout the year as well as many Club Dates put on by BMW Car Club of America and Porsche Club of America. Pro races only make up a small percentage of the Watkins schedule.
In 1948 road racing was introduced to Watkins Glen through Cameron Argetsinger, an Ohio resident but who often stayed at his father’s summerhouse on the Seneca Lake. Argersinger was one of the early members of the SCCA, he proposed to the Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce an amateur Road Race to be called “Watkins Glen Grand Prix.” The proposal was happily accepted, and soon Argetsinger had arranged a 6.6 mile course, which used dirt, gravel and paved roads. He also had to arrange for permission to close one New York City track and any roads needed.
The first race to ever take place there was held mid-day on the second of October 1948. All competitors had to complete a 4 lap-qualifying race with a standing start. That day 15 cars took part and completed the 8 laps or 52.8 mile Grand Prix with ten finishing the entire race. Frank Griswold from Wayne, Pennsylvania won the race. The following year Miles Collier won the Grand Prix, just beating Briggs Cunningham. The 1950 Grand Prix saw its first fatal tragedy when Sam Collier was killed, from that day on his brother Miles never took part in a race again. That was not the only incident; another car left the track, injuring two spectators and a fireman.
The Watkins Glen International speedway was changed a couple of times over the years. Due to tragic events occurring again in 1952 a law was put in place preventing any racing on state highways and that led to the circuit being moved to the town of Dix. The fourth course that was completed is the one we still have today and is similar in outline to the third course.