Sonoma Raceway honors Tony Stewart, Ernie Irvan
Tony Stewart (Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)
By AMANDA VINCENT
Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway will honor three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship driver and two-time championship car owner Tony Stewart and former Cup driver Ernie Irvan during the upcoming NASCAR race weekend at the track that will culminate in the Sunday running of the Toyota/SaveMart 350 by adding them to the track’s Wall of Fame, located behind the road course’s main grandstand.
Sunday’s race will be Stewart’s 18th and final in the Sprint Cup Series at the track, as he plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2016 season. In his previous 17 starts at the track, Stewart won twice, making him one of only five two-time Sonoma winners in NASCAR Cup-level competition.
“I have a long history at Sonoma and a lot of memories there, and to be inducted into the Wall of Fame is a real honor.” Stewart said. “I’ve always loved the challenge of road-course racing, and I’m proud of all that we’ve accomplished at Sonoma. Hopefully, we can put a third win on the board this weekend.”
Stewart finished in the top-10 nine times in his previous 17 races at Sonoma.
One of those other four two-time winners at Sonoma is Irvan. His win at the track in 1994 set a track record as the largest margin of victory at the track. He finished 9.56 seconds ahead of runner-up Geoff Bodine.
Irvan also put on an impressive show at Sonoma in 1992 when he passed 41 cars, recovering from a penalty, to claim his first win at the track.
In all, Irvan made 10-career starts at Sonoma Raceway, finishing in the top-10 in six of those races.
With their additions to the Wall, Stewart and Irvan will join other former NASCAR drivers Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Ricky Rudd and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick. The Wall of Fame also includes racers from the NHRA, AMA, open-wheel and sports car racing.