PLYMOUTH, Wis. – Back in his dirt track days Tony Stewart earned the nickname “Smoke” for his hard charging driving style, known first for slipping the right rear tire during dirt races and then for blowing his engine often during his 1997 championship in the Indy Racing League.
During his NASCAR career, Stewart once was told by team owner Joe Gibbs that he could no longer compete in races outside of his Sprint Cup obligations. Stewart worked around this by entering a USAC National Midget Series race under the pseudonym “Smoke Johnson” with the crowd at the track none the wiser.
After winning the feature, “Smoke Johnson” got out of his car and revealed himself to the crowd under his real name.
Even with the success of three NASCAR Sprint Cup titles, “Smoke” likes to return to his roots, sling some clay … and win races.
Fans will have an opportunity to see Stewart compete with his Chevrolet Performance No. 14 machine in the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series portion of the program during the Tony Stewart Sprintacular this Saturday night, at the Plymouth Dirt Track located at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds.
An accomplished dirt racer, Stewart became the first driver to win USAC’s version of the Triple Crown, earning championships in all three of USAC’s major divisions, National Midget, Sprint, and Silver Crown, in 1995. To this day he continues to race dirt tracks across American as often as possible.