When Tony Stewart enters the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame as the 22nd member of the elite racing fraternity, he will have earned it both on and off the track at No Limits, Texas.
Stewart, by virtue of his two NASCAR Cup Series wins, four pole awards (two in INDYCAR, two in NASCAR), and more than 1,000 laps led at TMS (fourth all-time), as well as his three NASCAR Cup Series championships and one Indy Racing League title, was a shoo-in to have his name and face emblazoned on one of the pedestals that line the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. Equally as impressive, what he’s done at Texas Motor Speedway off the track likely warrants its own induction.
Since 2008, Stewart has come to TMS each year to host the Smoke Show fantasy driving camp. Fans donate their hard-earned money to Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter for the chance to ride along with and learn from the driver they call Smoke. The up close and personal nature of the event has made it a favorite through the years, and Stewart’s presence has been the most obvious reason why the event has raised more than $1.7 million for children in Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant Counties.
Aside from his charitable endeavors at Texas Motor Speedway, Stewart lends his name to the TMS Dirt Track each year for the Tony Stewart Presents the Vankor Texas Sprint Car Nationals American Sprint Car Series (ASCS) race. The race features a handful of the bigger names in NASCAR each year, the stars of the nationally touring ASCS, and of course, Stewart himself.
"It does mean a lot to me," Stewart said of his induction. "It’s nothing you think about as a driver. It’s not your aspiration while you’re driving to be in the Hall of Fame. When you’re a driver all you want to do is win big races and win championships, and to still have that opportunity and still be able to race and compete at the same time as we’re joining the Hall of Fame is pretty cool."
Stewart promised his acceptance speech will be of the off-the-cuff variety.
"I haven’t been thinking about speeches or anything," Stewart laughed, taking a break from working to fix the asphalt roads around his Indiana home. "It’ll be like a normal NASCAR banquet speech. It’ll probably get done the night before we go into the Hall of Fame."
The partnerships and success Stewart has been a part of at Texas Motor Speedway ensures his induction into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame on Saturday, November 2 in an 11:30 a.m. luncheon ceremony in The Grand Ballroom of The Speedway Club. Other honorees include 12-time open wheel champion owner Chip Ganassi, five-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, reigning NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick, and the late Dallas Morning News reporter Gerry Fraley.
The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame ceremony serves as a major fundraiser for Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter. Ticket prices are $85 and include a catered meal.
Scott Dixon is being honored as the 2018 Racer of the Year after dominating last year’s DXC Technology 600. Dixon led the final 119 laps for his third win at TMS and 43rd of his career, moving him into third all-time in INDYCAR wins. Dixon’s win moved him into first in the IndyCar Series standings, and he never looked back, winning the fifth championship of his illustrious career.
Dixon’s team owner, Chip Ganassi, receives the Bruton Smith Legend Award for his success, innovation, and positive example across multiple levels of motorsports. Ganassi is the only owner in history to boast wins in the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Rolex 24, 24 Hours of Le Mans, and 12 Hours of Sebring. His drivers have won eight INDYCAR and four CART championships.
2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick is the Sportsmanship Award recipient. Reddick was a factor throughout the 2018 O’Reilly Auto Parts 300, taking the lead on Lap 7, then retaking it with just seven to go. On the final lap, Cole Custer got into his door down the backstretch, nearly wrecking them both. Custer ran away for the win and Reddick finished secondin the third-closest Xfinity Series finish in track history. Afterward, a disappointed Reddick said, "It’s how it goes. It’s worked in my favor. It’s worked against me." He still pointed his way into the Championship Four and made the most of the opportunity, winning the championship.
The late Dallas Morning News reporter Gerry Fraley is the posthumous recipient of the Excellence in Motorsports Journalism award. Fraley, a longtime baseball writer for the DMN, added the motorsports beat to his illustrious career and took off running. His straight-shooter style and direct line of questioning resonated with drivers and earned him the immediate respect he’d already gained throughout the journalism community.
For more information or to purchase tickets to the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame luncheon, call Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas at (817) 215-8421 or visit www.speedwaycharities.org/texas.
The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame ceremony, traditionally held during Texas Motor Speedway’s spring NASCAR Weekend, will revert back that tradition in 2020.
The November NASCAR Playoffs weekend opens with Tony Stewart Presents the Vankor Texas Sprint Car Nationals ASCS races on Thursday, Oct. 31, and Friday, Nov. 1 on the TMS Dirt Track. The action continues on the asphalt Saturday, Nov. 2 with the NASCAR Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 and concludes Sunday, Nov. 3 with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500.
For more information or to purchase tickets to the AAA Texas 500 doubleheader weekend, please visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com or call the speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500.
— Texas Motor Speedway —