Tony Stewart on the Smartest Racing Tip He’s Ever Received

Portrait of race car driver
STREETER LECKA

Tony Stewart, the racing legend (aka “Smoke”) notched the inaugural SRX championship—a series he co-created.

Men’s Journal: Why do we love racing?

Tony Stewart: It’s not the speed. It’s watching racers figure out how to be better or faster than somebody else.

What has racing given you?

One big thing it gives you is a large family. You’re all passionate about something together. You race together. You have fun together. You get frustrated at each other. Just like a big family.

Who were your own heroes?

I was obviously a big A.J. Foyt fan. I enjoyed watching Rick Mears. On the sprint-car side, Steve Kinser, Sammy Swindell, Doug Wolfgang—those are the guys I looked up to.

Tony Stewart on the Smartest Racing Tip He’s Ever Received

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Advice to your younger self?

Honestly, I’d tell myself to do the same thing I did. It wasn’t the easiest path. There were bumps on the road. Last year was kinda the first time I had a chance to sit back and look at my life and career, and I’ve been pretty satisfied with it.

What’s the wisest racing tip you’ve ever gotten?

Sometimes you have to slow down to go faster. It took me a bit of time to understand that one—but when I did, it sure made my life a whole lot easier.

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Do you get challenged on the street to drag races?

No. I do enough stupid stuff without somebody else’s help.

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