NASCAR: The 14 Greatest Moments Of Tony Stewart’s Career

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13. 2002 Winston Cup season

It was an inevitability that Stewart would become a Winston Cup champion. He established himself as a championship contender early in his career, frequently setting records and quickly becoming a household name. Still, the way his 2002 championship run went down made that season one of the craziest in NASCAR history.

He won three times (Atlanta, Richmond, Watkins Glen) and was up near the top of the points all season, with the exception of his last-place effort in the season-opening Daytona 500. He ran well week-in and week-out. But with six DNFs and several altercations with media members, the fact that he held it together long enough to be within shouting distance of the lead when Sterling Marlin stepped out for the rest of the year following a Kansas crash, as well as Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin got into a little pre-race trouble at Talladega in October, says a lot for the strength of his No. 20 team that year.