Tony Stewart his life On ESPN "The Life". BROOKLYN, Mich., (June 16, 2002) - On Tues., June 18 at 8:30 p.m. EDT, NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Tony Stewart will become the first race car driver solely featured on ESPN "The Life." Stewart,...
Tony Stewart his life On ESPN "The Life".
BROOKLYN, Mich., (June 16, 2002) - On Tues., June 18 at 8:30 p.m. EDT, NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Tony Stewart will become the first race car driver solely featured on ESPN "The Life."
Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Pontiac, granted the four-man television crew unprecedented access to the goings-on of his life May 15-19. In those days surrounding The Winston at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, the crew showcased Stewart at home, at the track and at various appearances.
"The Life" is part of ESPN's original programming, taking viewers inside the lives of a thumbnail of sport's most celebrated and intriguing athletes. Some of the athletes profiled this season are Allen Iverson of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, Paul Pierce of the NBA's Boston Celtics, Brian Urlacher of the NFL's Chicago Bears, Jeff Garcia of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, Ray Lewis of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens, Landon Donovan of the men's U.S. World Cup Soccer Team and the entire Boston Red Sox organization.
"The guys from 'The Life' were very professional and very considerate, but they were also real people who I just felt comfortable with," said Stewart. "It felt good knowing they wanted me to be a part of their show."
It was that comfort level that allowed producer Derek Hasting and his crew to film sides of Stewart that the general public has rarely seen.
"Derek and those guys were very up front with me from the moment I met them," said Stewart. "They made it clear that they weren't around to stir trouble and that any time I needed the camera to be turned off, it was off. After a couple of hours, it was like they weren't even there. I was able to be myself. It was, for a change, very relaxing."
Footage of Stewart was taken beginning with him landing at Concord (N.C.) Regional Airport May 15 as he returned from a short vacation in Indiana, to a Home Depot store appearance that night, to a round of media interviews at his home the next day, to qualifying and racing at Charlotte, culminating with a birthday party at his Lake Norman home.
Other prominent figures of Stewart's Winston Cup career appearing on "The Life" are crew chief Greg Zipadelli, team owner Joe Gibbs, teammate Bobby Labonte and NASCAR's Jim Hunter. Pam Boas and Nelson Stewart, Tony's mother and father, and his sister, Natalie, are also featured, as well as Willie Boles, Stewart's USAC Sprint Car sponsor in 1995 - the year Stewart became the only driver to win the USAC Triple Crown in a single season.
It took 42 tapes, each containing 30 minutes of air time, to log the 21 hours of footage - an ESPN "The Life" record for most tape shot. However, only 22 minutes of footage will make the final cut, allowing "The Life" to fit into its 30-minute time slot.
ESPN "The Life" will re-air Fri., June 28 at 12:30 a.m. EDT on ESPN, Sat., June 29 at 3 a.m. EDT on ESPN, Tues., July 2 at 1:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN2 and Sun., July 28 at 1 p.m. EDT on ESPN.