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Biofile Tony Stewart Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status:  Former NASCAR Cup Series and Daytona 500 Champion. Currently a Fox Network racing analyst.

DOB:  May 20, 1971 Birthplace:  Columbus, Indiana

Racing Inspirations:  “Rick Mears. Steve Kinser. AJ Foyt and Dale Earnhardt.”

Hobbies/Interests:  “I’m very big into the remote control car industry. That’s a big hobby of mine.  Pool. Bowling. Boating. Fishing. Scuba diving.”

Nicknames:  “Smoke’s been my nickname for probably twelve years now.”

Favorite Movies:  “I’ve always liked Maverick. Six Pack is one of my favorite racing movies. The new IMAX movie was awesome. I don’t get a chance to watch as many movies as I’d like.”

Musical Tastes:  “A little bit of everything, believe it or not. I’m not much into the classical music. And I’m not much into rap. But I pretty much dabble in a little bit of everything outside of that.”

Favorite TV Shows:  “Mainly comedies. It doesn’t matter which show, as long as it’s a comedy show, I can sit down and watch for hours.”

Early Racing Memory:  “My first racing memory was actually my first race that I can when I was eight in Westport, Indiana. And I can remember my father (Nelson), before I went out for practice, it had rained in the afternoon there and there was a water puddle off the fourth turn at the go-kart track that day. And he told me to stay away from that. And every lap of the old film that they have of it, you see me get closer and closer and closer to it. Then, finally, I run through it [smiles]. So that’s my first racing memory.”

Pre-Race Feeling:  “Just very focused on what we’re doing. I’ve been racing for 25 years now. So by the time I got to this level – I would love to say I’m really nervous before a race – but just more focused on the job at hand.”

Favorite Meal:  “Either chili or pasta.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:  “Chocolate.”

Greatest Sports Moment:  “Probably a combination of winning the Winston Cup championship (2002), my IRL championship (’97) and winning the USAC Triple Crown in ’95.”

Most Painful Moment:  “The inaugural IRL race at Las Vegas in ’96. I had four fractures – collarbone, shoulder blade, pelvis and back of my left hip.”

First Job:  “I worked in the school auditorium. I worked lights and sound.”

First Car:  “A ’79 Plymouth Volare – white with a blue vinyl top. I’m lovin’ this deal [chuckles]. These are the best questions I’ve been asked all day.”

Closest Racing Friends:  “Bobby Labonte. Danny Lasoski. That’s probably the two closest.”

Funniest Racer Encountered:  “Probably Kevin Olsen is the funniest guy in auto racing.”

Toughest Competitors Encountered:  “In Nextel Cup it’s probably guys like Dale Earnhardt Jr., you know, Jeff Gordon, the list can go on and on in NASCAR. Outside NASCAR – Steve Kinser, old school Mario Andretti and AJ Foyt. They were all very tough.”

Childhood Dream:  “To drive race cars. I didn’t care what type of race cars. I just wanted to be a race car driver.”

Favorite Vacation Spot:  “I’m still looking for it [laughs]. I’m just learning how to take vacations. So we’re looking for vacation spots. Probably right now Australia is my favorite.”

Funny Racing Memory:  “[Smiles] that normally happens about every  other week. There’s something new that comes up all the time. That’s the one thing that I try to do with my racing is having fun with it. So there’s always something funny going on with it.”

Favorite Athletes To Watch:   “I like watching the Williams sisters play tennis. I like watching Tiger Woods play golf when he’s on. (Boxing?) Anybody that beats Mike Tyson [smiles]. (Baseball?) Probably Mark McGwire. (NFL?) The guy I probably admire most in football is Peyton Manning.”

People Qualities Most Admired:  “Honesty and humor.”

Career Accomplishments: Won racing titles in Indy, Midget, Sprint, USAC Silver Crown cars and is the only driver in history to win a championship in both IndyCar (1997) and NASCAR (2002, 2005, 2011); Won 2017 Daytona 500.

About Mark Malinowski

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