Tony Stewart, the 2002 Winston Cup champion, was born May 20, 1971 in Columbus, Indiana and quickly started racing. In 1983, at the age of 12 Stewart won the first of many of his championships, the International Karting Federation Grand National. In 1987, he won the World Karting Association National championship.

1989 was a transition year as he moved up to a higher horsepower machine in the Three-Quarter Midgets and moved up to the USAC, United Sates Auto Club and in 1991 won Rookie-of-the-Year. In 1994, Stewart won his first USAC championship with 5 wins in the National Midget category. Tony would put his name in the history books in 1995 by wining the USAC Triple Crown by wining National Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown all in the same year. This is something that was never done before and has not been accomplished since.

In 1996, Tony made his move to the "big leagues" when he joined the Indy Racing League and won Rookie-of-the-Year honors there as well. At the Indianapolis 500, Stewart set the record for fastest lap for a rookie by qualifying with the pole position. This was also the first time he pulled double duty by racing in the 500 and also the Coca-Cola 500 for a total of 1,090 miles in one day.

In 1997, Stewart won the IRL championship and also started racing in the Nascar Busch Series with Joe Gibs Racing and in 1999, he started racing on the Winston Cup circuit and finished fourth in the point race. In 2002, he finally won the point race over Mark Martin.

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