NASCAR Hall of Fame driver/owner Tony Stewart is one of the 25 new additions to NASCAR’s Greatest Drivers list in celebration of the sport’s 75th anniversary, the sanctioning body announced on Sunday evening.
Stewart, the three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, was surprised with the news during the pre-race broadcast for Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, Sirius XM NASCAR).
“It’s a huge honor,” Stewart said after receiving the news from Bristol native and NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton. “I mean, can you think of all the drivers in 75 years that have competed in the NASCAR Cup Series? It’s truly an honor just to be a part of that category in that group of people. There’s a lot of drivers in there that I’ve looked up to for a long time and still look up to.”
Naming the 75 Greatest Drivers is a continuation of the popular program established in 1998 recognizing the 50 Greatest Drivers for NASCAR’s golden anniversary. The 50 Greatest Drivers form the foundation of the 75 Greatest Drivers — there will be 25 new names added to the list first established 25 years ago.
The 2020 Hall of Fame inductee was a fan favorite during his time driving the No. 20 for Joe Gibbs Racing and later when he branched out as a driver/owner for his co-owned operation with Gene Haas in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing entry.
From his three-win, Rookie of the Year campaign in 1999 all the way to his final season in 2016, Stewart was a winner. The Indiana native amassed 49 Cup Series victories, including winning the prestigious Brickyard 400 at his home track of Indianapolis Motor Speedway twice.
Stewart won his first Cup championship in 2002 driving for JGR, quickly following that up with another one in 2005. He tacked on a third one for good measure in 2011 driving for SHR, winning five of the 10 playoff races to claim the title via tiebreaker over Carl Edwards in one of the most memorable championship pursuits in history.
As an owner, Stewart-Haas Racing has 69 wins to date, including the 2017 Daytona 500, and Kevin Harvick added the team’s second championship in 2014.