Wilmot Raceway hosts IRA Outlaw sprints, mini-sprints, street stocks, modifieds, bandit 4′s and other track events, May through September.
And now it gets to add something new to its resume: “Smoke” Tony Stewart will race in the IRA portion of the Friday, Aug. 16 races during the Kenosha County Fair, aboard his Chevrolet Performance No. 14 sprinter.
The 3-time NASCAR Champion will be flying to Wilmot after qualifying his Sprint Cup car at Michigan International Speedway that afternoon.
Admission for this event will be $5 with paid admission to the Kenosha County Fair. Active Military with ID are free with fair admission and children 11 and under are also free.
Stewart, 42, was born and raised in Columbus, Ind., where he lives today. He is the driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolete in the NASACAR Spring Cup Serives has scored 12 championships since he first wheeled a go-kart in 1978 at a Westport, Ind., racetrack.
His most widely known titles are the three he scored in NASCAR’s pinnacle series. The three-time Sprint Cup Series champion earned his first crown in 2002 by beating veteran racer Mark Martin by 38 points and a second in 2005 when he bested Greg Biffle by 35 points.
His third title was earned in 2011 after winning the season finale at Homestead Speedway to edge Carl Edwards on a tiebreaker (most wins). It was the first championship for a driver/owner since 1992 when Alan Kulwicki accomplished the feat.
In 2009 Stewart became the first driver/owner to win a Sprint Cup race since Ricky Rudd was victorious in 1998. Stewart found victory lane five times during the season including the prestigious Sprint All-Star Race and the million dollar purse that accompanied it.
Championships begat championships for Stewart, as the Columbus, Ind.-native came to NASCAR in 1999 by way of the IRL IndyCar Series, where he was the series champion in 1997. And before he made his mark in Indy cars, Stewart made a name for himself in the rough-and-tumble world of the United States Auto Club (USAC). He has four USAC championships, including what at the time was an unprecedented win of USAC’s “Triple Crown.”
USAC’s top-three national touring divisions are Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown. After winning the Midget title in 1994 and finishing 10th and sixth in the Sprint and Silver Crown divisions, respectively, Stewart went out and set a new standard of excellence in 1995 by winning all three divisions. No driver had ever won the Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown championships – divisions that run three very different types of race cars which compete on both asphalt and dirt – in a single season until Stewart came along.
He is the first and only driver to have won championships in stock cars, Indy cars and open-wheel Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown cars. And his three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships made him one of just 9 drivers who have scored three or more Cup titles.
Along the way, Stewart has won some of the biggest races in motorsports. He is a two-time winner of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard (2005 and 2007), a six-time winner of the season-opening NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011) and a two-time winner of the famed Chili Bowl, an all-star Midget race at the Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Raceway (2002 and 2007). He’s also notched wins in such famed USAC races as the Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway (2000), the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway (2000) and the 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio (1995).
He also won rookie of the year honors in Sprint Cup (1999), the Indianapolis 500 (1996) and USAC (1991).
According to his official biography, Stewart’s racing career began at age seven behind the wheel of a go-kart, with his father, Nelson, serving as car owner and crew chief.
“He never let me settle for second,” said Stewart of his dad, who still frequents races whenever his schedule permits. “He didn’t like it when we ran second, and he knew that I didn’t like it when we ran second. If he saw that I wasn’t giving 100 percent, then he was on me pretty hard about it. He pushed me to be better.
The Wilmot Raceway has the big IRA/All-Star Sprint Challenge which puts IRA’s best against the likes of national stars like Dale Blaney and Tim Shaffer on Saturday, July 20, followed by the third annual Tommy Homan Memorial on July 27.
Log on to www.wilmotraceway.com for more information.