Beyond his dominance on the NASCAR track, Tony Stewart is well known for his fiery personality. Stewart hasn’t been one to hold fear about concerning speaking his mind and act on emotions. His brash personality once landed him in a troubling situation where he punched a heckler.
Tony Stewart’s NASCAR legacy
During his NASCAR career, Tony Stewart was one of the most dominant drivers.
Stewart spent two decades behind the wheel on the track, where he earned three Cup Serie championships along with 49 Cup Series wins. He also managed to finish inside the top 10 in the point standings 13 times, including five instances inside the top five.
Stewart was a rare breed as a driver as he remains the only person to win championships with both the NASCAR Cup Series and IndyCar Series. His tremendous success on the track earned him a NASCAR Hall of Fame induction in 2020.
However, his fiery personality also landed him in several sticky situations.
An angry Tony Stewart got away with punching a NASCAR heckler in the face
Since stepping into retirement, Tony Stewart has remained around NASCAR in a tremendous capacity.
Stewart has never been one to back down from any situation regardless of the situation. That came about in July 2019 as he was racing in a Sprint Car event in Jackson, Minnesota.
A fan decided to heckle him while he signing autographs following the race. Stewart initially paid the fan no attention, but the badgering led Stewart to confront the person. The NASCAR Hall of Famer landed a punch on the fan before he was separated by people around him during the incident.
According to TMZ, the fan had begun to antagonize Stewart for only completing one lap due to experiencing engine issues. No law enforcement was called to handle the situation as the security at the racetrack took care of the matter from that point forward.
Although it wasn’t a matter that escalated any further, it does speak to Stewart’s personality with his zero-tolerance personality. Many would classify him as possessing a fiery temper, but he handled the heckler with what he thought was best.
Strong reputation remains set in stone
Over the years, Tony Stewart has earned a strong reputation for his brash personality on and off the track.
His driving approach made him one of the most popular and successful drivers during his illustrious career. Stewart holds a strong passion for the sport, which often placed him in tough spots and the middle of controversial moments with other drivers along with fans alike.
It’s part of the push-pull relationship that he has with NASCAR fans, as some hold tremendous admiration for him. Some fans hold an intense hatred toward him because of his temper and choice of words.
It all led to many memorable moments on the track that he now regrets but are a part of who he is as a person.
“Oh god yeah,” Stewart said during an interview on the Dale Jr. Download podcast in February 2019 about regretting any past questionable decisions. “Every Sunday night and Monday morning when Mike Arning is ripping my ass about it and says ‘Now we got to do four days of media to get the sponsor not so PO about it.’ Yeah, there is a lot of times.”
Stewart has his place in NASCAR history, which has plenty of instances that stand out during his driving days and well after it.