Tony Stewart among all time greats

jaqua19

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My recent comments in the JJ retirement thread inspired this post. I can't believe how Tony's placement among the greats has been forgotten due to his heavy decline.

This is the guy many of you considered the best driver in NASCAR for almost a decade. 3x champ, won titles for 2 different teams. Has had the second best 10 or so year stretch out of any driver from 2000s-now to now. Took the reigns away from Jeff Gordon. Won two titles During the JJ era. During these last 20 years, Tony Stewart for 10-13 years performed at a level higher than anyone with the exception of Jimmie Johnson. NO ONE ELSE who has raced between 1999-2019 has had a better 10-13 year stretch than Stewart. Tony's best 13 years are superior to modern day all time greats' like Harvick and Busch.

Does Tony Stewart make your all time top 10?

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Snappy D

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My recent comments in the JJ retirement thread inspired this post. I can't believe how Tony's placement among the greats has been forgotten due to his heavy decline.

This is the guy many of you considered the best driver in NASCAR for almost a decade. 3x champ, won titles for 2 different teams. Has had the second best 10 or so year stretch out of any driver from 2000s-now to now. Took the reigns away from Jeff Gordon. Won two titles During the JJ era. During these last 20 years, Tony Stewart for 10-13 years performed at a level higher than anyone with the exception of Jimmie Johnson. NO ONE ELSE who has raced between 1999-2019 has had a better 10-13 year stretch than Stewart. Tony's best 13 years are superior to modern day all time greats' like Harvick and Busch.

Does Tony Stewart make your all time top 10?

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What did Tony exactly take from Jeff Gordon? They were pretty spot on in wins but Jeff has almost 40 more top 5’s and Top 10’s from 1999 in Tony’s rookie year to Jeff’s last year in 2015. Is your statement really that much of a slam dunk?
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Greg

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My recent comments in the JJ retirement thread inspired this post. I can't believe how Tony's placement among the greats has been forgotten due to his heavy decline.

This is the guy many of you considered the best driver in NASCAR for almost a decade. 3x champ, won titles for 2 different teams. Has had the second best 10 or so year stretch out of any driver from 2000s-now to now. Took the reigns away from Jeff Gordon. Won two titles During the JJ era. During these last 20 years, Tony Stewart for 10-13 years performed at a level higher than anyone with the exception of Jimmie Johnson. NO ONE ELSE who has raced between 1999-2019 has had a better 10-13 year stretch than Stewart. Tony's best 13 years are superior to modern day all time greats' like Harvick and Busch.

Does Tony Stewart make your all time top 10?

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Yes but barely (this is all subjective).
I would put the trio of Johnson, Pearson, and Petty as equal among the top 3.
Then I would list the next group as Bobby Allison, Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, and Cale Yarborough.
(All above are listed in no particular order aside from the two groups).

Stewart would be next on my list or 8th at best and I would probably add in a few to that group as well if I wasn't at work.
Again just my opinion.
 

jaqua19

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What did Tony exactly take from Jeff Gordon? They were pretty spot on in wins but Jeff has almost 40 more top 5’s and Top 10’s from 1999 in Tony’s rookie year to Jeff’s last year in 2015. Is your statement really that much of a slam dunk?
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Going through some old threads here around 2002-2003, there was a thread discussing who the best driver in NASCAR was. The consensus here was that it was Tony Stewart. Forgetting the stats, Tony Stewart came into NASCAR in Jeff Gordon's prime, won two titles against him, and essentially challenged Gordon as the best driver in the sport while Gordon was still in his prime. Gordon won more races, more top 10s etc, but my point is, Stewart made it a convo, won a lot, and won more titles head to head. So in a way, yeah, kind of.

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jaqua19

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Yes but barely (this is all subjective).
I would put the trio of Johnson, Pearson, and Petty as equal among the top 3.
Then I would list the next group as Bobby Allison, Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, and Cale Yarborough.
(All above are listed in no particular order aside from the two groups).

Stewart would be next on my list or 8th at best and I would probably add in a few to that group as well if I wasn't at work.
Again just my opinion.
Totally agree with everything said. You are missing Dale though. I would put Gordon in between that top group and DW/Yarborough group though. I think Kyle Busch will end up in that spot their. FWIW, my top 10 as is looks like this.

1.Johnson
2. Dale
3. Gordon
4.Petty
5. Pearson
6. DW
7. Yarborough
8. Allison
9. Stewart
10. Kyle Busch off the top of my head


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StandOnIt

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Three time Nascar Champion, Indycar champion, IROC champ, won USAC National Midget, Sprint Car and Silver Crown championships, becoming the first driver to win the “Triple Crown”. Still racing still winning, Yeah I have no problem putting him in the top10 easy, probably top 10 world wide.

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Snappy D

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Going through some old threads here around 2002-2003, there was a thread discussing who the best driver in NASCAR was. The consensus here was that it was Tony Stewart. Forgetting the stats, Tony Stewart came into NASCAR in Jeff Gordon's prime, won two titles against him, and essentially challenged Gordon as the best driver in the sport while Gordon was still in his prime. Gordon won more races, more top 10s etc, but my point is, Stewart made it a convo, won a lot, and won more titles head to head. So in a way, yeah, kind of.

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I don’t think your wrong, and Tony’s overall body of work outside of NASCAR has to be taken in consideration. And he’s still going, which I find awesome. I’d give the edge to Jeff but you’re right in a way Tony is most definitely in that convo and a great case can be made for him he was the driver of his generation instead of Jeff. IMO Tony is probably the 3rd best driver pure talent wise (Michael Schumacher, Jeff. Juan Montoya, Alex Zanardi, Busch Bros, Fernando Alonso are in that convo ) I’d ever seen. I still wish Tony was racing Cup...I think if it wasn’t for the leg injury, the incident him hitting someone, and the long Cup schedule he’d be racing into his 50’s a true throwback.
 
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aunty dive

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Tony Stewart is a tough customer.

He got back in a sprint car after being grievously injured by a broken driveshaft flailing around at 8,000 rpm the last time he got in one.

Successful in every form of the sport he attempted. I think we’re fortunate to have him still hanging around turning laps.
 

bigspud

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the only driver-owner in nascar i truly despise.
he should be wiped from the record books.
collusion is not greatness.
 

hidesert cowboy

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Tony was the best I have ever seen when if he got in position to sniff a win to find something extra and with sheer Will get the victory. That was his strong suit. Even in a car that wasn’t that awesome, get him in position to win, no one better
 

Joker

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Tony was never the best driver in the field at any point, but he damn well was second or third most of his career. If that isn't an all-time great career, I don't know what is.
 

jaqua19

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Yeah truly remarkable. I believe killing that guy really affected his drive in racing though. He really stepped out of the spotlight after that
I thought Tony was gonna win 60 cup races. The fact that he never got to 50 seems silly.

Tony has won championships in every professional racing series he's participated in.

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StandOnIt

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Yeah truly remarkable. I believe killing that guy really affected his drive in racing though. He really stepped out of the spotlight after that
I don't think so, he's in the spotlight plenty. This is only last year

2019

· Voted into NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2020, along with Joe Gibbs, Bobby Labonte, Waddell Wilson and Buddy Baker, on May 22.

· Inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Class of 2019 March 13 in Daytona Beach, Fla.

· Inducted into North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame Class of 2019 Sept. 23 in Mooresville.

· Won All-Star Circuit of Champions 410 Winged Sprint Car feature Feb. 2 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. Started from the pole and led all 30 laps.

· Won United Sprint Car Series (USCS) Outlaw Thunder Tour feature Feb. 22 at Southern Raceway in Milton, Fla.

· Won USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour feature April 27 at I-75 Raceway in Niota, Tenn. Started from the pole and led all 30 laps.

· Won Great Lakes Super Sprints (GLSS) feature May 10 at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Mich.

· Won Ohio Valley Sprint Car Association (OVSCA) feature May 18 at Atomic Speedway in Chillicothe, Ohio. Started from the outside of row one and led all 25 laps.

· Won USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour feature May 26 at Old No. 1 Speedway in Harrisburg, Ark.

· Won USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour feature May 27 at Lexington (Tenn.) 104 Speedway.

· Won United Midget Racing Association (UMRA) King of the TQ Midget Racing Series feature July 4 at Rush County Fairgrounds in Rushville, Ind.

· Won UMRA King of the TQ Midget Racing Series feature July 9 at Bartholomew (Ind.) County 4-H Fairgrounds.

· Won All-Star Circuit of Champions 410 Winged Sprint Car feature July 28 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa.

· Won Interstate Racing Association (IRA) Outlaw Sprint Series 410 Winged Sprint Car feature Aug. 31 at the Plymouth (Wis.) Dirt Track.

· Won UMRA King of the TQ Midget Racing Series feature Sept. 2 at Rush County Fairgrounds in Rushville, Ind.

· Won USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour feature Oct. 18 at Chatham (La.) Speedway.


· Won both portions of the “Rumble in Fort Wayne” United States Auto Club (USAC) Midget double-feature Dec. 27-28 at the 1/10th-mile Allen County (Ind.) War Memorial Coliseum to collect his record 10th and 11th wins, respectively, in the event. It was the third time Stewart swept the two-night affair and, in collecting his 10th win on Dec. 27, Stewart broke the record for most indoor midget wins all-time in North America, a mark previously held by the late Rich Vogler.
 

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his final win in nascar was a very true display of his career.
 

Speedbowl14

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I think to really appreciate Stewart as a driver one must look at his entire resume and not just his accomplishments in NASCAR.

Exactly. He is "one of the best" to ever sit in a stock car...and an Indycar...and a midget...and a sprint car. He's not the GOAT in any of these classes but he sure as hell did amazing in everything he's driven.

He should be compared similarly to his childhood icon, AJ Foyt.
 

jaqua19

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Tony was never the best driver in the field at any point, but he damn well was second or third most of his career. If that isn't an all-time great career, I don't know what is.
And he did it while winning 3 titles. I do think Tony was the best driver in the field from 2000-2005.

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dirtfan

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He is an all-time great - too bad it's at being a sociopath.
I feel that respect is due for anyone being called the goat. Unfortunately, I have zero respect for Tony.
 

Spotter22

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Tony Stewart is a tough customer.

He got back in a sprint car after being grievously injured by a broken driveshaft flailing around at 8,000 rpm the last time he got in one.

Successful in every form of the sport he attempted. I think we’re fortunate to have him still hanging around turning laps.
Lets not forget his track prep! ;)
 

FLRacingFan

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Top 10 Cup driver all-time. Top 3 or 4 in Cup production over the last quarter century or so. Always found his IRL career to be a bit overrated but that's a product of the circumstances at the time, not really anything he could do about it. Overall, his resume speaks for itself...dirt, pavement, ovals, road courses. Not much he hasn't been able to succeed at with a steering wheel.
 

Greg

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The GOAT discussions are fun, probably impossible to ever get it 100% accurate due to countless variables.

Anyone that can get consensus vote as one of the Top Ten has to be incredibly great and someone that deserves the respect.

Really anyone that accomplishes anything in racing deserves the respect. It is an incredible tough thing to do, the snark that a mid packer gets reveals a lot of ignorance.
 

Speedbowl14

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The GOAT discussions are fun, probably impossible to ever get it 100% accurate due to countless variables.

Anyone that can get consensus vote as one of the Top Ten has to be incredibly great and someone that deserves the respect.

Really anyone that accomplishes anything in racing deserves the respect. It is an incredible tough thing to do, the snark that a mid packer gets reveals a lot of ignorance.
I completely agree. Unfortunately with the buy-a-ride drivers I can't say this is true for ALL the drivers anymore...but take anyone that finishes in the top 35 in a NASCAR Cup race, put them in a car at your hometrack on the local level, and they'll run circles around the field.

Ryan Preece may be a mid-pack driver in Cup but he was one of the kings at Stafford on a weekly basis when the talent pool was ridiculous. He's won championships on the Whelen Modified Tour, Stafford, and Thompson.
 

Larsonfan1995

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I completely agree. Unfortunately with the buy-a-ride drivers I can't say this is true for ALL the drivers anymore...but take anyone that finishes in the top 35 in a NASCAR Cup race, put them in a car at your hometrack on the local level, and they'll run circles around the field.

Ryan Preece may be a mid-pack driver in Cup but he was one of the kings at Stafford on a weekly basis when the talent pool was ridiculous. He's won championships on the Whelen Modified Tour, Stafford, and Thompson.
You should specify pavement home track, cause my local dirt big block modified drivers would have Preece lapped in an 8 lap heat race.
 

Truex_rox

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I'd say anybody who displays such versatility in driving one vehicle to the next without any hiccups and a ton of rewards would certainly go down as an all-time great.
 

StandOnIt

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Class of 2020. The story of Stewart in 2011 snatching the championship away from Edwards the last race of the season.

 

jaqua19

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Class of 2020. The story of Stewart in 2011 snatching the championship away from Edwards the last race of the season.

:/ that one was very hard. I was a younger jaqua, but I remember punching a wall. Carl is one of the few drivers from the 2000s who was good enough to win multiple titles. The fact that in all three of his title runs he was beat by the two best drivers of this generations makes it easier to swallow. Under different circumstances, Carl would be a 2x champion.

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