Stewart Wins Title

20nov05.jpg

When Tony Stewart earned his second NASCAR championship on November 20th, he capped a season defined by one word: focus. This victory meant far more than his 2002 triumph, with the Bad Boy behavior that dogged that title run. “I put the team through a lot of hell ever since I’ve been with them but they never gave up on me,” said Stewart. By the time he reached Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he held just a 52-point lead over Jimmie Johnson. But by the end of the day, Stewart was the one soaked in celebration.

After five triumphs in seven races, Stewart seemed untouchable. Even the private curse of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — denying him wins in both stock and Indy cars — was finally broken in August when he took a victory at the Brickyard. He remained a point leader for 13 of the final 14 weeks and rose from 10th to 1st in standings, falling short only one week in the remainder of the season. A clean run on Sunday gave him 35 points over Greg Biffle, who took the checkered for the second straight year.

Achieving a second championship required a new way of thinking, and Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs knew when it was time to refocus. Son of team owner and Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, J.D. put together an intervention for Stewart’s mood swings. It was an off-season face-to-face with the crew, and as J.D. later said, “Those guys didn’t hold back.” Stewart had built a reputation for respecting his crew family, and hearing their concerns gave him a new perspective that carried him to his second title.

Along with the mental focus that put him among the 14 drivers in NASCAR history with more than one championship, Stewart honed every aspect of his 2005 season. That included his gear. He chose the Oakley Race Glove because it was engineered to exceed all testing standards for fire protection and safety while providing the ultimate in feel-through tactile response. It utilizes Oakley O CarbonX® heat/flame shielding, just like his racing footwear. Stewart took advantage of Formula One FIA approved Oakley Racing Shoes because they outperform all NFPA 2112 standards for flame resistant garments while letting him feel every millimeter of pedal.

Stewart’s new focus meant hitting 2005 with the best technologies available. Nothing was overlooked, right down to the shades he wore on the track. He chose Oakley eyewear for the High Definition Optics® that gave him unbeatable clarity. And it was clarity of vision that made him one of the greatest drivers of his time.

Author

Staff Writer

Date

November 20, 2005