Tony Stewart was announced Thursday as the 2013 National Motorsports Press Association's Myers Brothers Award recipient for outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing.
The honor was announced during the annual Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon as part of NASCAR Champion's Week at the Wynn Las Vegas.
Stewart, a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, helped to organize and promote NASCAR's first national series race on dirt since 1970, hosting the first Mudsummer Classic in July for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The event was run before a capacity crowd at Stewart's Eldora Speedway in Ohio and drew rave reviews from drivers, fans and officials.
Stewart's passion for racing extends beyond his ownership stake in Stewart-Haas Racing, his powerhouse team which will expand to four full-time Sprint Cup cars in 2014. Besides the half-mile dirt oval at Eldora, Stewart is also part-owner of local tracks in Macon, Illinois, and Paducah, Kentucky.
Stewart is also a frequent competitor at the local level, especially in the open-wheeled sprint cars from his earliest days in racing. A crash in early August left Stewart with a severely broken leg, cutting short both his season in NASCAR's big leagues and his grass-roots endeavors.
"I don't know of anyone more passionate about what they do than Tony Stewart," NMPA president Kenny Bruce said. "Before an injury sidelined him during the second half of the season, he was on pace to compete in more than 100 races in 2013. Tony eats, sleeps, lives and breathes racing and he understands the importance of the local weekend shows better than most. It's where he came from, and he's never forgotten that or those who made it possible."
The Myers Brothers Award has been given annually since 1958. It's the second straight year that a current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor has won, on the heels of four-time champion Jeff Gordon receiving the honor in 2012.