A tribute to ‘Smoke’: Fair track to be dedicated in Stewart’s name

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The local venue where Tony Stewart began racing when he was 8 years old is about to be named after him.

The track at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds will be renamed “Tony Stewart Speedway” in a dedication ceremony at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and Hall-of-Famer is expected to compete in his All Star Circuit of Champions TQ Midgets event that evening.

“Tony has been coming here the last several years and raced, and we thought it would be nice to rename the track after him for all he’s done for us and the community,” Bartholomew County Fair Board President Rick Trimpe said.

“So we brought it before the fair board, and it was unanimous to dedicate the track after Tony.”

Stewart, who turned 50 last month, has donated countless time, money and equipment to help maintain and improve the track over the years.

Since 2013, he has returned to his hometown to compete in the annual TQ Midget race at the fair every year until last year, when the fair was canceled. He did, however, compete in two Tony Stewart’s All Star Circuit of Champions TQ Midgets races last fall at the fairgrounds.

The naming dedication ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the pagoda between the grandstands and midway. Stewart’s name will be covered up on the pagoda until it is unveiled during the ceremony.

Trimpe said he talked to Stewart about renaming the track after him when Stewart was at one of the fairground races last fall.

“He loves it,” Trimpe said. “He was very thrilled. He was kind of misty-eyed about it.”

Following the ceremony, practice will start at 6 p.m., and qualifying will begin at 7 p.m. Heat races and the feature will follow.

Admission to the fair is $5 for parking. Tickets to the racing event are $10 for adults and $5 for kids under 10. Pit passes are $25.

Trimpe said Stewart’s family and members of his Tony Stewart Foundation are planning to attend Tuesday’s event.

“I think it’s going to be a good thing for the community,” Trimpe said. “The little kids can say, ‘I raced on Tony Stewart’s track.’”

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Tony Stewart has won three Cup Series titles (2002, 2005, 2011) and 49 NASCAR Cup Series races from 1999 until he retired from the circuit in 2016. He currently is co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing and the newly-formed Superstar Racing Experience (SRX).

Among Stewart’s other accomplishments and awards:

  • 1994 USAC National Midget Series Champion
  • 1995 USAC Triple Crown Champion
  • 1996 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year
  • 1997 Indy Racing League Champion
  • 1999 Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year
  • 2000 Turkey Night Grand Prix Winner
  • 2001 National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductee
  • 2001, 2002, 2007 Budweiser Shootout Winner
  • 2002, 2007 Chili Bowl Winner
  • 2005, 2007 Brickyard 400 Winner
  • 2005, 2007, 2012 Gatorade Duel Winner
  • 2006 IROC champion
  • 2006, 2008, 2009 Prelude to the Dream Winner
  • 2009 Sprint All-Star Race winner
  • 2016 USAC Hall of Fame inductee
  • 2017 Daytona 500 winner co-owner
  • 2018 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame inductee
  • 2019 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductee
  • 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee

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Today

Military Appreciation Day (anyone with a military ID may park for free

6:30 — 10:30 a.m. Swine check–in, subject to change pending weather conditions

8 a.m. — 4-H Horse & Pony Western Halter & Performance Show

9 a.m. — Lil’ Wranglers Goat Show & 4-H Goat Show – Pavilion; order- Pygmy, dairy, meat

2–10 p.m. — 4-H Community, Family Arts Buildings, Commercial Buildings Open

2–8 p.m. — Midway Opens – Regular tickets until 8 p.m., then wristbands

5–10 p.m. — Lil Hands on the Farm opens

5 p.m. — Pedal Tractor Pull — east of Farm Bureau Building. Registration from 3-5 p.m., $2 entry

5 p.m. — Royalty Athletix, David Boll Theatre

5–6 p.m. — Let’s Bake a Pie Contest entry registration – Family Arts

6 p.m. — Let’s Bake a Pie Contest – Family Arts Building

7 p.m. — Elvis Impersonator, Ron Hobbs – David Boll Theatre

7 p.m. — Blacksmithing Demonstration – Heritage Building

7 p.m. — Full Throttle Monster Trucks – Grandstand

8 p.m. — Midnight Madness Midway – $18 wristbands

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What: Ceremony renaming the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds track in honor of Tony Stewart

When: 5 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Bartholomew County Fairgrounds, 750 W. County Road 200S, at the pagoda between the grandstands and midway

After the ceremony: Practice will start at 6 p.m., and qualifying will begin at 7 p.m. Heat races and the feature will follow.

How much: Admission to the fair is $5 for parking. Tickets to the racing event are $10 for adults and $5 for kids under 10. Pit passes are $25.

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