Congrats to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, who turns 41 today.
Arguably America's most versatile driver of the modern era, the driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet in Sprint Cup has scored 12 championships since he first wheeled a go-kart in 1978 at a Westport, Ind., racetrack. Along with his three Sprint Cup crowns – the last making him the first owner-driver to win since Alan Kulwicki in 1992 – “Smoke” has proven himself in everything from sprint cars to Indy cars to sports cars.
The Columbus, Ind. native came to NASCAR in 1999 by way of the Indy Racing League, where he took the title in 1997. And before he made his mark in Indy cars, Stewart made a name for himself in the rough-and-tumble world of the United States Auto Club. He has four USAC championships, including what at the time was an unprecedented win of USAC's “Triple Crown.”
Add to that a smattering of strong showings in Grand-Am's Rolex Series and a title in the final season of the International Race of Champions (IROC) in 2006, and it's clear that Stewart is in a league of his own. RACER readers clearly agree, having voted overwhelmingly to name him our Mobil 1 Racer of the Year for 2012.