Tony Stewart captures Fort Wayne auto race
It is nice to know that despite ending Jimmie Johnson's domination of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and winning his third series title this past season, Tony Stewart still hasn't changed his outlook on certain things.
“Those of you who cheered, thank you,” said Stewart after winning his record eighth event at the Rumble in Fort Wayne on Friday night at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center. “Those of you who booed can kiss my ass.”
Yes, it was the same old Stewart on Friday, who outdistanced the competition in the midget feature to earn the victory in a 20-year old Volkswagen-powered Munchkin that was built more than 20 years ago by Roanoke resident Mike Fedorcak. Since 2004, Stewart has stuck with the Munchkin at the Rumble and has won seven times.
“This car is 20 years old, but when it was built it was way, way ahead of its time,” Stewart said. “This is just a car that's fun to drive, it's easy to work on and set up.”
After a two-year absence in which Stewart was overseas doing, what else, racing cars, the Indiana native returned this year to the Rumble and other area events, including racing in Indianapolis last week and looking ahead to the indoor Chili Bowl Midget Nationals.
“The last two years we took a break (from racing locally), but now we are back to our old schedule,” Stewart said. “We are glad to do them again.”
While many of his Sprint Cup colleagues are resting up after a grueling nine-month season, Stewart is celebrating his series championship that saw him win five of the 10 Chase races with not much vacation.
“It's not really (a vacation) because I still have to deal with the media,” said Stewart with a smile. “It's still a good time. There are so many changes at (Stewart-Haas Racing) that we didn't go to Australia this year to race. If you're not going overseas, you better come here and go to Chili Bowl and we're going to do both.”
Stewart was at his team's shop up until last week, and now his vacation is just beginning.
“I'm just barely a week old into my vacation, it is fun,” Stewart said. “(February) comes around quick but it's all worth it when we had the year we ended up with.”