Champion Stewart received his accolades

Champion Stewart received his accolades

New York City, NY-- The "Rushville Rocket," "Smoke," call him what you want, but his new nickname is Champion. Friday night at the Hammerstein Ballroom, Manhattan Center in New York City. Tony Stewart was recognized for his season-long ...

New York City, NY-- The "Rushville Rocket," "Smoke," call him what you want, but his new nickname is Champion. Friday night at the Hammerstein Ballroom, Manhattan Center in New York City. Tony Stewart was recognized for his season-long accomplishments and was awarded with the 2002 Winston Cup championship trophy.

The start: Tony Stewart and Mark Martin lead the field.
Photo by Autostock.

The 31-year-old Stewart and his #20 Home Depot Pontiac complied impressive stats along the way following a season-opening disaster at Daytona after losing an engine on lap two. The 20 crew picked themselves back up and tallied 15 top-fives, 21 top-10s, two Bud Pole Awards and three victories.

Stewart became the 25th driver in history to be crowed champion. His final point fund earnings from RJ Reynolds tobacco company for winning the title came to an impressive $4,305,606.80.

Stewart, who had his fair share of headlines this season regarding his off-track antics with both fans and members of the media, took to the stage for his acceptance speech.

As he began, he pulled a camera from behind the podium and walked over to the edge of the stage where photographers from various media outlets were gathered and began snapping pictures. Stewart said he wanted to see what the big deal was and joked, "Maybe I'll start doing this with you guys next year."

After a week-long media tour with events from the White House to the NMPA annual luncheon, television appearances, visits with the NYPD and FDNY, and countless other activities, Stewart has been keeping busy. "I've been a regular media darling this week," he commented.

Penske's Ryan Newman was awarded with the 2002 Raybestos Rookie of the Year award. With the award he grabbed a $50,000 check from Raybestos along with an oil painting. After competing door to door with Jimmie Johnson all season long, Newman told Johnson, "I look forward to many more years of racing against you," he also added, "I look forward to many more years of racing in Winston Cup."

The entire top-10 drivers in the final standings took to the stage to give recognition to their teams, sponsors, families and fans. The remaining top-10 in the title chase were; Roush Racing's Mark Martin and Kurt Busch in spots two and three; while Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson grabbed the fourth and fifth spots. Rookie of the Year, Penske's Newman finished sixth, followed by his veteran teammate Rusty Wallace in seventh. Matt Kenseth finished eighth in the standings after scoring five victories on the season. Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd round out the top-10.

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Series NASCAR-CUP