Well before the 2005 racing season began, Tony Stewart was in a league of his own.
He had already earned a NASCAR Cup Series championship trophy in 2002, which sat alongside his 1997 IRL IndyCar Series trophy, which was next to a pedestal featuring his four United States Auto Club (USAC) championship rings. He was the first and only driver to have won championships in stock cars, Indy cars and open-wheel Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown cars.
Ever the overachiever, Stewart added to his trophy collection by securing the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship, and in doing so, joined an elite group of 14 drivers who have scored multiple Cup Series titles.
"Being in a group of only 14 guys that have won multiple championships means more than just winning the championship by itself," said Stewart, who joins Jeff Gordon as the only active drivers to have more than one championship. "To be in a group where there’s only 14 of us in the past 50 years or so that have won more than once is a huge, huge honor."
In a season where Stewart earned five wins, scored three poles and tallied a career best 17 top-fives and 25 top-10s, the championship was well-earned. But it was one victory in particular that Stewart puts ahead of his second NASCAR title – his emotional win in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.