Tony Stewart One-of-a-Kind Driver, One-of-a-Kind Track

Tony Stewart knows what it’s like to stand out in a crowd. With a racing career that started at age seven, he’s been standing out for the majority of his 37-year racing career.

Stewart’s versatility and the diversity of his resume have established him as a champion many times over, from the rough-and-tumble open-wheel ranks of USAC to the wheeled bullets of IndyCar to the steel chariots of NASCAR.

His three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships make him one of only three drivers actively competing in the series with multiple titles, following Jeff Gordon with four championships and Jimmie Johnson with six. Of those drivers, Stewart is the only one to have earned a championship while simultaneously in the roles as driver and owner.

That distinction is just one example of the uniqueness that has always set Stewart apart from his peers. Exuding what can only be described as trademark casualness, Stewart walks to the beat of his own drum, all while expanding his racing portfolio and growing his legend. He’s a throwback and, for lack of a better explanation, just one-of-a-kind.

That individuality has suited Stewart’s efforts when it comes to competing at Pocono Raceway, the one-of-a-kind venue in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Designed by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rodger Ward, Pocono is unlike any other track in the world, and it’s a throwback to IndyCar venues of old. Its three different corners are each modeled after a different track. Turn one, which is banked at 14 degrees, is modeled after the now-closed Trenton (N.J.) Speedway. Turn two, banked at eight degrees, is a nod to the turns at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And turn three, banked at six degrees, is modeled after the corners at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. It all adds up to a 2.5-mile triangle that is one of the more challenging tracks on the Sprint Cup schedule.

While the aptly nicknamed “Tricky Triangle” has proven troublesome for some, it has seemingly been tailor-made for Stewart, who embraced its quirky confines early in his NASCAR career and returns for his 34th career Sprint Cup start at the track on Sunday in the Windows 10 400.

After finishing sixth in his Pocono debut during his rookie campaign in 1999, Stewart scored top-10 finishes in seven of his next eight Pocono starts, including a win during the track’s spring race in 2003. Stewart returned to Pocono’s victory lane in 2009 during his inaugural season as driver and owner of Stewart-Haas Racing.

Complementing the pair of wins are two poles, eight top-threes, 12 top-fives, 22 top-10s and a total of 183 laps led in 33 career Sprint Cup starts. Mirroring Stewart’s measured consistency has been his reliability on the track, as he has completed 5,962 of the 6,147 laps available to him for a lap completion rate of 97 percent. On only two occasions has Stewart failed to finish a race at Pocono.

Stewart’s strength in numbers at Pocono resonates with Rush Truck Centers, the premier service solutions provider to the commercial vehicle industry and the United States’ largest network of truck and bus dealerships. It’s why the subsidiary of Rush Enterprises, Inc., will adorn the hood of Stewart’s No. 14 Chevy at Pocono. With more than 120 dealership locations in 20 states, all of which are strategically located in high-traffic areas or near major highways, Rush Truck Centers operate as one-stop vehicle centers offering an integrated approach to the needs of its customers – from sales of new and used vehicles to aftermarket parts, service and body shop operations plus financing, insurance, leasing and rental.

The one-stop vehicle center is paired with the one-of-kind driver at a one-of-a-kind track, giving Stewart the opportunity to rekindle his winning ways and once again stand out from the crowd.


Speedway Digest Staff

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