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He became the leading contender for the series' championship after a bad slump knocked points leader Davey Hamilton out of first place.Despite an average end to his season, finishing 7th, 14th, and 11th, and five DNFs, Stewart did just enough to beat Hamilton for the IRL title.His season was a disappointment as he finished last in the Indy 500 because of an engine failure.On the Busch side, he finished in the top-five five times in 22 starts.The double duty did not affect his performance in either series.
He moved up to the United Midget Racing Association (UMRA) where he raced TQ (three quarter) midgets until 1991, when he again moved up this time to the United States Auto Club (USAC) series with help from one of his karting sponsors and friend Mark Dismore.
As he had done the previous year, he raced a handful of Busch Series races in 1998.
This time, he was racing for Joe Gibbs, NFL Hall of Fame head coach of the Washington Redskins, who was having major success with Bobby Labonte in the Winston Cup Series.
Stewart was born in Columbus, Indiana, on May 20, 1971, attended Columbus North High School and graduated in 1989.
Stewart has an younger sister Natalie who has two children: Emma and Will. His father Nelson Stewart is still single but his mother Pamela Marshall remarried when Tony was still in high school.