Tony Stewart wins prestigious Myers Brothers award
Tony Stewart thought he was making a whirlwind trip to Las Vegas
to play the role of supportive team owner.
After missing the final 15 weeks of the season with a broken leg
suffered in a sprint car accident in August, the three-time NASCAR
champion had no official reason to attend Thursday’s annual Myers
Brothers awards ceremony.
So as the ceremony was winding down, Stewart began to alert his
pilots it was almost time to make the trip back to North
Instead, he heard National Motorsports Press Association
President Kenny Bruce describing Stewart in his introduction of the
2013 recipient of the prestigious Myers Brothers Award for
contributions to the sport. He made the long walk to the front of
the ballroom without the use of a cane as the audience of industry
participants rose to give Stewart a standing ovation.
Stewart needed assistance climbing the stairs, but it was the
only help he required as he collected his surprise award and warned
his competitors he’ll be ready for the season-opening Daytona 500
”It was hard sitting on the sidelines watching, but it gave me
a different perspective that I haven’t seen in years of what we all
do each week,” Stewart said in his speech. ”It was a lot of fun
to sit there on the side and watch you guys do what we do.
”But take this as your warning: I gave you guys (15) weeks off
without me. I’ll be ready for Daytona and be back kicking your
(butts) again, so you guys enjoy it.”
The Myers Brothers award was given to Stewart for his role as
owner of Eldora Speedway, the half-mile dirt track that hosted the
first national NASCAR race on dirt in 43 years when the Truck
Series raced there in July.
”It was a lot of fun for us,” Stewart said about the Eldora
event. ”I’m aging in dog years now. It takes a lot of time and
effort. You probably won’t ever hear me give too many of the
promoters in NASCAR a hard time anymore because I know what it’s
”To host an event takes a lot of time and effort and work and
it takes a great staff to do that. I am very fortunate and blessed
to have a good staff at Eldora and just very surprised by this
(award). . This is very humbling, to be perfectly honest.”
The Myers Brothers Award has been given annually since 1958.
It’s the second straight year that a current Sprint Cup Series
competitor has won; four-time champion Jeff Gordon received the
honor last season.
”I don’t know of anyone more passionate about what they do than
Tony Stewart,” NMPA president Kenny Bruce said. ”Before an injury
sidelined him during the second half of the season, he was on pace
to compete in more than 100 races in 2013. Tony eats, sleeps, lives
and breathes racing and he understands the importance of the local
weekend shows better than most. It’s where he came from, and he’s
never forgotten that or those who made it possible.”
Stewart joked winning the award a year after Gordon meant the
two drivers ”are getting old.”
”This sport means a lot to me,” Stewart said. ”It’s not what
our purpose is; it’s what our passion is. There’s no hidden
agendas, there’s nothing other than passion and desire to do what
we do. I was so excited when (NASCAR) asked me about doing the
truck race, and to be a part of that and to be a part of history
”That wasn’t the driving force behind it. But when you have
time like we have with this injury, and you get time to sit back
and think about things, you realize what it means in the big
picture. It’s just neat to be able to do what we do.”
He also joked about receiving an award that is selected by the
motorsports press association.
”We’ve always had the love-hate relationship. There’s more love
than hate – there’s just a few that we hate,” joked Stewart, who
has had more than his fair share of battles with the media. He
added that winning an award decided on people around him weekly
”means more to me than any awards voted on by fans.”