Each year media giant ESPN hosts the ESPY Awards (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly), which recognize individual and team athletic achievement and other sports-related performance. Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Stewart has been nominated in two categories -- Best Driver and Best Championship Performance.
Other nominees for Best Driver honors include four-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti, Formula 1 champion Sebastien Vettel and National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) champion Del Worsham.
“An ESPY is a prestigious award,” said track president Matthew Becherer. “Having one of NASCAR’s best represented is a testament to the teamwork and dedication needed to compete in NASCAR. Last year, Jimmie Johnson won the ESPY for ‘Best Male Athlete’ and I think that Tony will be tough to beat, given his gritty performance throughout the NASCAR Chase For The Sprint Cup Series Championship culminating with a dramatic victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway.”
Stewart’s come-from-behind win is worthy of a Best Championship Performance selection. All five of Stewart's 2011 victories came during NASCAR's postseason, including a scintillating victory in the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November. For the first time in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history, the championship ended in a draw. After passing 118 cars during the race, Stewart ended up tied with Carl Edwards in points at 2,403, but won the tiebreaker based on the number of victories, which included his season-ending win at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The Ford 400 marked the first time since 1975 the eventual champion came from behind to win the championship by winning the final race of the season. Stewart's third championship puts him alongside NASCAR legends Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip, who each are three-time champions. Stewart’s season titles came in 2002, 2005, and 2011.
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