The Hoosier won Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Cup Series (1999), the Indianapolis 500 (1996) and USAC (1991).“When I started racing competitively when I was about 7 or 8, getting a trophy that was bigger than the other kids’ was all I cared about,” Stewart said. I feel like I’m a very, very fortunate person, so no matter what happens, the goals and everything that happens from here is just icing on the cake.I’ve been very lucky to do the things I’ve done.”“He never let me settle for second,” said Stewart of his dad, who still frequents races whenever his schedule permits.
“He didn’t like it when we ran second, and he knew that I didn’t like it when we ran second.
If he saw that I wasn’t giving 100 percent, then he was on me pretty hard about it.
He pushed me to be better.“He never pressured me to be the best racecar driver in the world, but he did pressure me to be the best racecar driver that I could be. He expected that what I could do was what I could do.
He never said that because this guy over here could do something that I should be able to do it, too. That’s probably why you see so much fire in me today, because he always wanted me to be the best that I could be.”That success led Stewart to earn a ride in the fledgling Indy Car Series.
No driver had ever won the Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown championships – divisions that run three very different types of racecars which compete on both asphalt and dirt – in a single season until Stewart.