Back in January 2020, Tony Stewart was one of the five people who made stock car racing history as an inductee into the 11th class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. For his induction speech, Tony took a brief, emotional trip down memory lane, but in classic Stewart fashion, he also snuck in a well-timed wisecrack about his ex-girlfriends.
During his speech at the Hall of Fame ceremony in Charlotte, North Carolina, the three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion looked back on his earlier years in auto racing, talking about his IndyCar, Midget, and Sprint Car days.
Stewart, who is currently married to NHRA drag racer Leah Pruett, also dished a bit on his personal life and opened up about the people in his life who have influenced him drastically. After thanking his family, he breaks up the heartfelt moment by making a hilarious comment thanking his ex-girlfriends.
WATCH: Tony Stewart’s Hall of Fame Speech
“Since we’re talking about family, since I don’t have one of my own, I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank all the girlfriends who were a part of this journey with me,” Tony joked. “These girlfriends’ short time and sacrifice meant a lot to me.”
The retired NASCAR driver’s remarks made the crowd erupt with laughter. It was the perfect intermission to a greatly executed speech.
Now, the Hall of Fame ceremony was a big night not only for Stewart and the rest of the inductees, but for Joe Gibbs Racing as a whole.
Stewart’s first team was JGR, and he was inducted alongside his former NASCAR team owner, Joe Gibbs, as well as Bobby Labonte, his first teammate as a rookie in the sport.
Stewart also had early ties with the other two inductees: Waddell Wilson, a crew chief and engine builder who was once the team manager for Tony, and Buddy Baker, who was a racer for 33 years before moving into broadcasting.
Stewart’s birth place was in Columbus, Indiana, and he really never took his foot off the gas once he broke into motorsports. He’s the only driver to win a championship in both IndyCar and NASCAR. He’s also the first driver — and only driver — to win the NASCAR title under three different sponsorships: Winston in 2002, Nextel in 2005, and Sprint in 2011. Other racing accolades include induction into the induction into the 2016 USAC Hall of Fame class, the 2018 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame, and the 2022 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.
Even today, he’s still only partially retired and competes in a wide variety of races, all while additionally acting as a co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing and owner of two racing leagues, the All Star Circuit of Champions and the Superstar Racing Experience.
Needless to say, Stewart has earned his stripes as a NASCAR Hall of Famer many times over.
This post was originally published on July 28, 2020.
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