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I know most on here aren't into Nascar and some of the ones that are have no love for Tony Stewart. Personally, I have a lot of respect for Tony, he is one of the few drivers left that will tell it like it is. I knew he was generous and did a good bit of charity work but I did not realise it was to this extent. I wish we had more like him.

http://www.nascar.com/2008/news/features/07/11/rswan.tstewart.foundation.work/index.html

The other side of Stewart: Reaching to those in need


When his hometown was waist-deep in flood waters, he came with a lifeboat.

After his friend lost a son, his arms provided a comfort that calmed her storm of pain.

And when a young girl battling cancer needed a reprieve from her affliction, he was her escape route.

Born with the heart of a servant, Tony Stewart continues to prove why he is not only one of the most charitable drivers in NASCAR, but also one of the greatest givers among all professional athletes and celebrities of his time.

The two-time Sprint Cup champion and recently announced NASCAR team owner, is listed among the top 30 celebrity donors by the Giving Back Fund of 2006, trailing notables such as Oprah, Tiger Woods, NBA player Carmelo Anthony, golfing legend Arnold Palmer and tennis star Andre Agassi.

But it's not the number of checks he writes, children he saves or charities Stewart has helped through the work of his foundation that grabs headlines, nor is it even top of mind with fans. His candor and sharp tongue, his perceived short-temper and anger-prone mentality is what the Indiana native has become more known for in his decade-long career in NASCAR. This is precisely why Stewart is likely one of the most misunderstood drivers in the garage today, according to those close to him, and more importantly, his mother Pam Boas.

"There are at least two sides to Tony," said Boas, treasurer of the board of directors for the Tony Stewart Foundation. "The one side of him is a lot like [Dale] Earnhardt and A.J. Foyt. They loved having fun with people, but they were always outspoken at the same time."

In Stewart's case, his ability to be outspoken is oftentimes misconstrued as arrogance or disregard, said Boas, but outspoken is synonymous with honest.

"We taught Tony to be honest," his mother said. "We told him if he didn't it would come back to him."

It's no secret that Stewart takes no issue with handing out criticism, be it other drivers on the track, product manufacturers or even the NASCAR sanctioning body. After this season's recent rant about Goodyear tires, his mother called to see if he had gotten in trouble for his harsh words.

"He said no, he hadn't, and I told him, 'You're the one that speaks up and guys then line up behind you so don't stop,'" Boas said. "At some point, you have to say what is real to make a point. He doesn't want to hurt anyone; he's just being honest."

The other side of her son, the side she said unfortunately receives the fewest amount of recognition or press, is the side truest to Stewart's heart and soul. He has a passion for people, as well as animals, and is inherently a giving person by nature.

Floods of charity

Bob Franke has experienced it.

Owner of the downtown Dairy Queen in Stewart's hometown of Columbus, Ind., Franke was the driver's first sponsor at 8 years old when Stewart raced go-karts. Stewart and his father Nelson Stewart built a longtime friendship with Franke after coming in for ice cream most Saturday nights, Franke said. And when Columbus and Bartholomew County was devastated by floods in June, Franke knew Stewart would come to aid his neighbors.

"He is truly a hometown hero," Franke said. "When he saw the devastation he helped out in big ways and even held a cookout for the flood victims without homes to raise their spirits."

It's estimated Stewart's hometown sustained $2.5 million in flood-related damages that displaced hundreds of residents and killed one. The flooding forced the town's 225-bed Columbus Regional Hospital to be evacuated and closed on June 7.

Franke said anyone could've written a check to the Red Cross and called it a day, but Stewart went to the shelter, his North Side Middle School, where hundreds of residents were waiting for the flood waters to recede.

Columbus resident Pam Hurr, passing out meals and snacks to shelter residents, couldn't believe it.

"He was signing the backs of people's shirts; he let me take a picture of him with my camera phone," she recalled. "He did such a good job. Everyone was so depressed, but when he got here he just livened up the room."

After the race at Michigan International Speedway, Stewart pledged his winnings from a fifth-place finish to the American Red Cross.

His home, the same house he grew up in as a boy, was not affected by the floods but at the track, Stewart's heart still broke for the hundreds of victims who lost their homes and even their livelihoods.

"I would switch places in a heartbeat because you see the hurt on their faces and you see it firsthand," he said. "It's people in your community, it's not watching it on TV and watching it halfway across the country and it's happening to somebody else. This is a situation that's happening to people I know. It's kind of like it was with the Victory Junction Gang Camp [in Kansas City]. It was something that was close to home -- we got involved and this is something that is very, very close to us and we're going to get involved."

Stewart took a personal responsibility in the clean-up efforts of his community.

"I know it's not my fault and I know I can't fix everything, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to go down without trying," he said. "I'm going to do whatever we can to help as many people as we can and that's something I'm going to be real passionate about for a long time."

The process of rebuilding parts of the community could take years, Stewart added.

His mother said devotion like this is what gets overlooked by some fans that only see Stewart as a loud-mouthed aggressor on the track.

"There's so much more to him," Boas said. "If you just spend 30 minutes with him you'd see a different man. At the track he has a job to do; the track is his office and he is passionate about what he is doing. Unfortunately, some people just don't understand that. He gets a bad rap for being short with people or the media but he's there to do a job. I'm just so proud that he works so hard on both sides."



It's his charitable side that requires almost as much time that is needed on the track.

The driver has several programs and projects, his top fundraiser being the Prelude to the Dream when he brings a number of Sprint Cup drivers to Eldora Speedway, the dirt track he owns in Rossburg, Ohio, for an exhibition race. The proceeds go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

Stewart also builds playgrounds for his sponsor Home Depot, has auctioned off his own prized items for charity -- championship rings, helmets, driver suits -- and has even endured bodily harm. At the start of the season, Stewart agreed to have his infamously hairy back waxed on his radio show Tony Stewart Live. The stunt raised $125,000 for the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

Since the inception of the Tony Stewart Foundation in 2003, the organization has donated an estimated $6.25 million to charities of Stewart's choice.

But if you include the number of times the openhanded driver is taking money from his own wallet or writing checks from his personal account, the total could be somewhere in the $8 to $10 million range, said Joni Thompson, executive director of the Tony Stewart Foundation.

"Tony is extraordinarily generous and it's hard for him to say no sometimes," Thompson said. "Last January, I received a thank you letter from a food bank in Texas for over $18,000. I thought, 'I didn't authorize this check, Pam did you?' 'Oh no,' she said, 'Tony wrote the check himself down there for some event he saw a need for and because it made sense.'"

Examples like this abound. His generosity toward the Petty family's Victory Junction Gang Camp is what Stewart prides most and what younger drivers around him aspire to replicate.

Located in Randleman, N.C., Victory Junction serves as a year-round camp for children ages 7-15 with varying life-threatening illnesses.

On three different occasions, Stewart's foundation has cut $1 million checks to the camp, a gift Stewart was recognized for by the Giving Back Fund as No. 20 on a list of the 30 largest personal public donations to a charity in 2006.

Most would agree Stewart's compassion was a healing comfort to Kyle and Pattie Petty when the racing couple lost their son Adam Petty to an on-track crash in 2000. The driver's throttle stuck on his racecar during a practice session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Pattie had never been to the track that took her son's life, and likely wouldn't have had Stewart not pledged $1 million in 2006 to the family's camp, a haven created in memory of her son Adam. For an attempt at closure, Stewart thought it best that Pattie make the trip to New Hampshire, and the donation was the catalyst. Out of respect for Stewart, Pattie went to accept the donation and was a nervous wreck; shaking until Stewart squeezed her so tightly that her trembling stopped.

"I knew that was Tony's goal -- get me to New Hampshire to help Kyle. He was going to give the million dollars to camp anyway. He felt like if he could get me there I'd deal with it, and then Kyle would be able to move forward and deal with it," Pattie Petty later said. "I've always loved [Tony] -- he was always my best friend. But now I just don't like to be very far away from him. I feel better, and I feel calmer, and I deal with life better when he's close by."

In his tenure as a driver and a humanitarian, countless stories are told of Stewart's ability to impact the lives of those who are less fortunate than him.

The example that is most vivid in his mother's mind is when her son granted the wish of a dying girl: 17-year-old Nicole Childs, who suffered from an incurable cancer. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Nicole was to meet her hero for a brief introduction at Michigan International Speedway in the summer of 2000.

"But he just took that little gal everywhere he went that day," Boas said. "She had no hair under her ball cap and still was the cutest kid. On their way to his drivers' meeting, she was walking right next to him and some fans rushed Tony to get something signed ..."

The girl was knocked to the ground and Stewart was appalled, she added.

"Oh my gosh that was not going to do!" Boas continued. "He scooped her up and took her on into the drivers' meeting. It fractured him that someone would not be thoughtful of her."

Stewart won the race that weekend and stayed in touch with Nicole until her death.


He called me one day at the office and said, 'Mom, you got to send some money to this humane shelter.' He had seen on the news where they had picked up a dog along the road that needed rehabilitated or needed surgery. So he got an address and I sent the money and it more than covered the animal's expenses.

PAM BOAZ

What began as somewhat of a small organization, The Tony Stewart Foundation, donating $400,000 in its first year, is now a considerable source of funding for several charities across the nation.

"Obviously you know for many years before we came along in this sport other athletes had foundations and it's always something that made sense, especially with our passion for kids and animals," Stewart said. "It seemed like the right time. We always knew we wanted to do it when we got to this level and as time went on it became clearer."

His mother recalled the particular moment that made it clear in her mind as well as Stewart's that a foundation was needed as her son had been donating to various charities since first coming to NASCAR in 1999.

The year was 2002 and Stewart was in Florida.

"He called me one day at the office and said, 'Mom, you got to send some money to this humane shelter.' He had seen on the news where they had picked up a dog along the road that needed rehabilitated or needed surgery. So he got an address and I sent the money and it more than covered the animal's expenses," Boas said. "That's where it started. At some point we had to get the proper channels going. If we did for everyone and everybody's request, Tony would've had to drive two cars every weekend."

Boas said her son's innate giving ability comes from his family, especially his father, Nelson. Although his father's once-cantankerous personality is also a trait Stewart admits he inherited.

Nevertheless, in November 1970, Boas was pregnant with Stewart when his father was in a terrible accident south of Greenwood, Ind. Nelson was trying to help someone who had driven their car off into a ravine.

"He climbed a fence to the driver's side and was at an angle," Boas said. "As he was trying to help the driver, he got right to the door handle and the car blew up and he was badly burned, over 41 percent of his body. That's where Tony gets it. It's just a mentality for some."

Nelson had a short fuse that often was ignited early in his son's racing career, but still the man was considered a good neighbor by everyone's standards in Columbus.

"He never hesitated to help and neither does Tony," Boas said.

Even with animals. Stewart is also a philanthropic for anything with fur or four legs. After the floods this summer, a doe on his nearly 400-acre property in Bartholomew County drowned and left behind a four-day-old fawn. Stewart became the proud father and bottle-fed the animal to good health. He also has about 120 deer on his property, all well-fed and provided with ample amounts of salt licks.

He's had just about every animal possible, from a monkey and iguana to a Chihuahua and now two Tonkinese cats -- the breed has little dander and is just about the only cat Stewart's allergies can tolerate.

His love for the animals, as well as his family and community, is all reflected in his body of work through his foundation.

It's a foundation that will continue to calm storms, ease pain and create havens for many years to come.
 

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Yeah I read that yesterday. I knew he was a big charity guy, but never heard just how big. He get's alot of shit from people who don't know anything but the way he's portrayed. He's a first-class person in my book. Keep it up Tony!
 

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I have always liked Tony for his "tell it like it is" attitude....



Like Monty, Tony is so misunderstood....





Vanilla
 

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I would like to see him doing a little straightline stuff myself.
He wouldn't have the money to do what he does, If was in the srait line business.:(

You don't see the "pro's" in NHRA throwing money around like he does. And if they do, it's made somewhere else.;)
 

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He wouldn't have the money to do what he does, If was in the srait line business.:(

You don't see the "pro's" in NHRA throwing money around like he does. And if they do, it's made somewhere else.;)
most cup drivers are around one million per year. the top guys are around four to five million per year. the key to them making more is in the endorsements and appearances.

so you are telling my john force isnt making a couple million per year? its not the nascar series fault that nhra runs a half-ass racing series. they can do tv or appearances just like all other forms of racing.

ive met tony in person several times and the guy is as cool as it gets. he just is a diehard like the rest of us and only happy when he is winning. he is just like dale and aj wrapped up into one.
 

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He's a good driver, good person. Ya don't hear ole Bushey Bro's doing anything like that. Guess it's hard to donate to Vegas? NASCAR is tuning their operation towards an audance that loves these "pretty boys" like "Jimmy the Johnson"
 

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He's a good driver, good person. Ya don't hear ole Bushey Bro's doing anything like that. Guess it's hard to donate to Vegas? NASCAR is tuning their operation towards an audance that loves these "pretty boys" like "Jimmy the Johnson"
Did you hear of stories like this 8-10 years ago when Tony was getting started in NASCAR? I dont think so. Just because you arent hearing them about the busch brothers doesnt mean they arent helping out.
 

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most cup drivers are around one million per year. the top guys are around four to five million per year. the key to them making more is in the endorsements and appearances.

so you are telling my john force isnt making a couple million per year? its not the nascar series fault that nhra runs a half-ass racing series. they can do tv or appearances just like all other forms of racing.

ive met tony in person several times and the guy is as cool as it gets. he just is a diehard like the rest of us and only happy when he is winning. he is just like dale and aj wrapped up into one.
John force is, but the rest of them surely arent. The top couple guys, yea, but the percent of NASCAR drivers making more money is surely higher then NHRA drivers.
 

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so you are telling my john force isnt making a couple million per year? its not the nascar series fault that nhra runs a half-ass racing series. they can do tv or appearances just like all other forms of racing.
Force is one of the few, most in NHRA that got money already had it or make it somewhere else. The only way in Drag racing to make a million is to start with several million.

Force dumps spends his money in building his racing empire. He buyys multiple knowledgable "crew chiefs" and buids mutiple cars for his team with the best equpment/testing he can aford.

Not to say he does not do good things but JFR comes before anything or anybody... He is a good guy but I dont see him a "great giving" kinda guy. JMO
 

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Stewart also owns custom works rc cars. Everyyear he puts on a dirt oval championship race. Tony shows up thursday and races all weekend. He is also one of the front runners at the race which is amazing since he only races rc cars only once a year and it shows his talent. The coolest part is when hes there hes one of the normal guys who you can walk up to and carry a conversation with.
 

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Did you hear of stories like this 8-10 years ago when Tony was getting started in NASCAR? I dont think so. Just because you arent hearing them about the busch brothers doesnt mean they arent helping out.
You could be right?? I just don't like the Busch Bro's, I just miss the old school type of stock car racing.
 
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