CHARLOTTE, Jan. 6, 2000 - The #20 Home Depot Winston Cup driver Tony Stewart has been named to receive the Al Holbert Memorial/Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Driver of the Year Award. Stewart will receive the prestigious award on Sat., Jan. 8 during the EMPA's annual conference in Trevose, Pa.
Stewart will be honored along with Kenny Tremont, winner of the EMPA Northeast Driver of the Year award. Additionally, six drivers including A.J. Foyt, Ken Hickey, the late Dave Strickler, Leigh Earnshaw, Junior Johnson and Will Cagle will be inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame. "What an honor to be named EMPA's Driver of the Year," said Stewart. "This award tops off a tremendous year for the whole team. It may have my name on it, but we were successful this year as a team. Everyone put in a lot of long hours and hard work and it paid off. This award is for the entire Home Depot team.
"I actually tried to get to the EMPA conference last year about this time to give a speech, but the weather had our plane grounded and I missed out on the event," said Stewart. "I hope Mother Nature's on our side this weekend so I can personally accept this award."
In addition to winning the EMPA Driver of the Year Award, Stewart was named the 1999 Winston Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year during the annual NASCAR Banquet in New York City in December.
In 1999, Stewart became the first rookie in the history of NASCAR Winston Cup racing to win three races (Richmond, Phoenix, Homestead) his first year on the circuit. Stewart finished his rookie year fourth in the overall Winston Cup point standings, becoming the first rookie since 1966 to end the season in the top five. In 34 starts, he had three wins, two poles, 12 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes to his credit.