NASCAR’S MOST WANTED…

Michelle Hoskin

December 8th, 2014

Michelle@racegear.com

Last week we wanted to know who your “least” favorite driver was and why, this week it’s the polar opposite. Typically it is easier to describe a bad occurrence in your life because it stands out and usually makes a huge negative impression on you, can the same be said for a good impression…YOU be the judge: Who is your favorite driver and why? We LOVE details (and so do they)!

I know say that this was rigged because of the overwhelming amount of responses to the ‘winning’ driver, but it wasn’t; and Yes, I admit, I am a huge Smoke fan and have followed him since his early early years… The question was posed to various Facebook groups – NOT just a certain individuals-geared groups. It was posted to several NASCAR themed groups, various select driver groups, and also to Twitter. The other humorous part is the fact that no one argued about the overwhelming response we got from last weeks “winner” – Brad Keselowski!

With an overwhelming response, Tony Stewart was definitely the ‘winner’ in this week’s pole.

Tony Stewart:

I found NASCAR in a strange way in 1999, and the first thing I saw was this rookie, with the most gorgeous eyes, and he was keeping up with, and even beating seasoned pros! He had an “I don’t care what you say, I want to win” attitude and he let nothing get in his way. Now, even though I don’t get to see him race as it’s just too expensive to buy the channel the race is shown on here in England, This Brit is a Tony fan till I die!!”

“Of course Tony Stewart. Been a fan since 1999. I love his drive and his passion for racing. His attitude is a lot like mine he’s honest and up front about his feelings. That boy could put wheels on a bathtub and win in it.”, “ I think many people are going to mirror Sheila’s feelings on that. One of the things I love most about Tony is that he’s very well-spoken. Even though he doesn’t hold back, he obviously projects a level of intelligence that’s lost on most interviews with other drivers.”

“In 1996 my daughter went to work for Tony Stewart as his business manager. She was a senior in college working on a PR degree and wanted to work in the racing industry. Over the next year and a half I went to races all over the country with them! It was a blast but even better I got to know what a great person Tony is. There was a lot of stress because he was running Indy Car, and USAC and the Busch series. His calendar was crazy with races and also appearances but he was and is a great guy with a huge heart. He did and does so much good. I am a true believer in to whom much is given much is expected. Not that Tony was GIVEN but he is blessed with money and fame and he spreads that around. He helps fellow racers in need, animals, kids through Riley and Victory Junction. as well as helping young racers move up in their careers. He is living the true American dream and embodies the true American spirit!”

“My favorite driver is Tony Stewart. I love his determination to win no matter what it takes. I also admire his frankness, he is going to tell you what he thinks and not sugar coat it. I love his love of animals and his huge heart. Unfortunately, I have not had the privilege to meet him but it definitely is high on my bucket list.”

“I have one present driver, That would be Tony Stewart. Why:  he is caring to all things he shows respect for most and the rest don’t deserve it. He can drive a car like he was holding a baby and he’s pretty darn cute himself. My other driver is someone who left this world to soon, Davey Allison was working his way to becoming a legend he had racing in his blood and treated everyone equal. I have never met either one but I know I will get to watch them both race in Heaven someday.”

“It’s Tony Stewart. I do like other drivers, but when asked, it’s Tony. His straight forward, tactfully non-sugar coated attitude, on & off track demeanor is what keeps me drawn in. Yes! I did get to meet him. It was at Home Depot in Independence MO, a few years ago. Sweetest smile, personable & eyes just dancing. One of my daughter’s was with me. While getting his autograph, she asked for him to write his (car) number also. His reply??? Oh honey, I’ll have to take you out to dinner first, before I can give you my number. We laughed so hard. Great guy.”

“Met Tony at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He signed my hat & t-shirt. That’s the year before he bought into Stewart/Haas. Truly a nice guy.”

“Tony Stewart, I have not met him in person, but love him on the track and off the track. He is very giving, people always see his tough, no nonsense attitude but the fail to see his giving loving heart and how he helps others. The foundation I work for has been a recipient of his grants and they are always very excited and look forward to what we are doing, not many people take the time to do that.”

“My favorite driver is Tony Stewart. I love his determination to win no matter what it takes. I also admire his frankness, he is going to tell you what he thinks and not sugar coat it. I love his love of animals and his huge heart. Unfortunately, I have not had the privilege to meet him but it definitely is high on my bucket list.”

“My favorite Driver is Tony Stewart I have followed him for years and he was worked so hard to get where he is at today and he gives back to the fans he knows without the fans he wouldn’t be where is today and I hope to meet him in person someday and he does a lot for kids and pets and drivers too, look what he did with Kevin Harvick.”

“Tony Stewart. We have mutual friends and I have a “uncle” that drives the simulator hauler for Tony… but went to the 4 team. He has THE biggest heart. Few years ago he bought bullet proof vests for the K-9 officers. He pays for service dogs to be trained and given to a child that needs the dog.”

“You know Tony is my favorite first time I met him he was mean and I almost cried because that isn’t how I saw my first encounter. Second time he hugged me for 3 minutes but wouldn’t sign anything. 3rd, 4th, and 5th he was cool. Dale Jr. was very, very, very nice and sweet! He gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek and had a conversation with just me and him. Kasey Kahne was awesome both times I met him. He allowed me to be on camera with him for a second, lol. Casey Mears pretty nice both meetings, David Gilliland amazing! He recognized me at the drivers meeting and said HI but my all-time favorite us Justin Allgaier! He treated me like I was his best friend of 30 years! He rocks!”


angie tme tony

  

“Tony of course. He is old school racing. Although they force him to conform he will still push the envelope. Have been a diehard fan since 99.”

“Prayers going your way Smoke ….we love and care about you…get well soon….from Indiana”

“I stood in line to meet Tony once for 5 hours…when I got there for my turn…zip have my Smoke shirt on and told him I wanted it signed. ..He turned to the girls helping him and laughed and said…she doesn’t know me very well…I picked up the bottom of my T-shirt and said…Bring it on!!!! He laughed…put his hand under my shirt so that he could write on my shirt….loved it..it’s framed..on my wall….Also, after his first cup championship with Gibbs…he was on a NASCAR cruise with Kahne…Kenseth. Jeff Greene. ..and I’m not sure who else…other than all of Tony’s crew…anyway…I was playing in a black jack tournament when I lost my hand and I stood up to give my seat to the next player…I turned around…and ran face to face into Tony….I was dumb founded to day the least.”

“Dale Sr. was the man , but Smoke is my favorite. Talent, spunk, attitude, respect, professionalism, kindness, a hottttttie pants…I could go on all day. Closest I’ve ever gotten to him was the spin he did right in front of us at Richmond LOL…unless you count the Tony Stewart look alike that hit on me in Walmart. Slim chance Tony would be in my small Virginia county Walmart between the brats and bacon…and even smaller chance he’d notice me, LOL…but a girl can dream. BTW my hubby approves of my fondness of Tony…even though he is a Jr. Fan (so am I) he has total respect for Smoke. He reminds us a lot of Sr.

“Tony Stewart. When he came into this he was the man they loved to hate. They did not like it that he spoke the truth weather you like it. Once they took the time to know him they found that he truly is the most given man out there.  A Big Bear with a bite when needed and a teddy bear when not. The man can DRIVE ANYTHING HE CLIMBS INTO.”

“My favorite is Tony Stewart! Is there another? He is a good man and he says what he thinks and means what he says. I respect him and all the terrible things he has went thru and did not deserve. He held his peace till the end and we all know he will never really get over all this. He is a determined driver and holds his head high thru it all. I like the spunk he has and hope he does not lose it. He is my hero. Yes he is handsome, but as a son to me. I wish him all he deserves and and much more! Love u Smoke! Get well soon!”

“Tony Stewart. He is fast in everything he drives. Met him often and always took time to say something.”

“Tony Stewart. He races hard, races with his heart and goes for it even if it means he’s gonna tear up his car. I have never met him but I’ve been at several races, both NASCAR and Indy races that he was in. He gives to his fans and loves animals! And he’s pretty darn easy on the eyes!!! What more could you ask for?”

“Tony Stewart is the best driver in NASCAR. He can drive any kind of race car there is and win. I lobe his attitude, he says what’s on his mind, and doesn’t care if you like it or not. He drives with his heart on his sleeve, he has respect for other drivers. He is an animal lover…I could go on forever. I just think he is the best in NASCAR, no matter what he does. He is one hot guy as well. I love my Smoke.”

“Tony Stewart. To me he is the best driver. He is straight forward with you, doesn’t take nothing from anybody. I met him when NASCAR had first race at Sparta Kentucky…stood in line, got sunburned, got his autograph. He was very nice and it was the best day of my life.”

“Tony Stewart of course! He races hard, and a lot like me, says what’s on his mind and doesn’t sugar coat it!”

(Wendy Harrison-Green, Sheila Jewitt, Shana Miller, Lori Fry Boyer Dove, Vicky Smithson Hartley, Darlene Lamson, Betty Tordoff carter, Hal Ogden, Wanda C Feliciano, Vicky Smithson Hartley, Pamela Matney, Dani Lynn Greenwood, Angie Witherby, Darlene Grimes, Cheryl R Wulliman, Vickie L. Suto, Robin Lynn, Dorothy Maricle, Elizabeth Hearold Meek, Mike Knappenberger, Debbie Gultice, Collette Lindsey, Charlotte Duncan, Colleen English Mathers, Michael Miller, Michelle Hoskin).

Dale Earnhardt Jr.:

“Mine is Dale Jr. I met Dale Jr when I was working at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Also Tony Stewart and same place.”

“My fav driver is Dale Jr. I was a Dale Sr. fan since 1980 and when Jr. started racing cheered for him also…Jr. is a great driver but even more important to me he is a GREAT MAN.”

“Dale Earnhardt Jr because he doesn’t give up and I followed his father.”

“but my two favorites are Dale Jr, and Tony Stewart and for much the same reasons. They haven’t let growing up keep them from having fun and yet at the same time, they have a responsible side to them. They race hard and want to win passionately yet at the same time they show a respect not only for the sport but for their fellow competitors.”

“Jr. of course. Besides being an Earnhardt…great driver, gentleman, and sweet. I think that say’s enough!”

“Dale Jr. was very, very, very nice and sweet! He gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek and had a conversation with just me and him.”

(Michael Miller, Jody Heisler Armstrong, Lucille Cote-Ketcheson, Ed Weisheit, Lori Henderson, Angie Witherby).

Jeff Gordon:

“Jeff Gordon. He has been my favorite since his first race. He’s usually so easy going, and a very clean racer. It takes a LOT to get him as angry as he was with Kez this year, and Bowyer a few years ago. Jeff fan forever.”

“Jeff Gordon is my driver. The first race I watched start to finish was the 1997 Daytona 500 and he won! So I thought I would stick with him because I liked the look of his car. Through the years, I have kept him as my driver because of how he interacts with the fans at the track. Yes, there are time where he will “blow them off”, but it’s typically when he is in a rush, otherwise, he will typically make the time for them. I have also kept up being a fan with him because he can have a mean side to him, but it’s very difficult to find it, unless you are Brad Keselowski or Clint Bowyer. Then there are all the things he does to charity. Since partnering with AARP, he donates 10% of his race winnings to them for needy adults, which is incredible. He also goes out of his way to visit sick children and adults at the hospital. I have not had the opportunity to meet him, but almost did in 2001. I was supposed to do an interview with him for a school project and followed all the proper connections I needed to get done, even had a time and location established. I was to interview him in his hauler between practices at Dover that spring. When I showed up at the Credential Office to get my Media Credentials, I was told that due to the death of Dale Sr. that year, they couldn’t permit anyone under the age of 18 on pit road or in the garage area that year, even with an adult, no exceptions. It was very disappointing to me because everything was working out until that happened and I missed an opportunity to interview my favorite driver.”

“Jeff Gordon since his first day in Cup. Class all the way. All the way!!!”

“I liked Jeff Gordon before I ever watched a NASCAR race. He co-hosted “Regis and Kelly,” with Kelly, and his eloquence, humility, and demeanor, won me over! (Yeah, I was a late NASCAR bloomer)”.

“I’m a lot younger than most NASCAR fans, but I’m a Jeff Gordon fan. I don’t know exactly how I got his name into my head; my current possible theories include the unintentional purchase of a Jeff Gordon lawn chair and a Jeff Gordon Lego set. But after seriously getting into NASCAR, I understand why I like him so much. He’s usually calm and respectful but when it counts he can be as aggressive as he needs to be. He’s not that full of himself because he’s gone through so much adversity over the last few years, but he still has the fire inside that fueled him years ago. No matter what, seeing the yellow 24 flash by gives me something to cheer for and something to be happy about. Even after he retires (God forbid him to do so soon) I will always remain a loyal Jeff Gordon fan.”

(Patricia Kelly, Jason Barlow, Lori Shafer-Keator, Shari Sides, Monon Rahman).

Matt Kenseth:

“Favorite CURRENT driver: Matt Kenseth…Signed our baby last Saturday at his museum in Cambridge, WI.”

matt k

“Matt Kenseth #20 – MY FAVORITE!!! If I’d give the reasons why, I would be on here til next week. Never met him though!!! He did acknowledge a poster I created for him though!”

jeanette - matt k

(Jeff Bauer, Jeanette Rose Orban).

Jamie McMurray:

“My favorite driver is Jamie McMurray! I have been a fan of his since 2002, when he won only his second race in the Sprint Cup car, and I saw how excited he was. I was also a fan of Jimmie Johnson at the time, and of course still am, but Jamie got me. I have never met Jamie in person, but hope to some day. I am a fan because he seems to be a very genuine, humble person, and he is a very clean racer on the track. He has a great sense of humor when he chooses to share it, and he is very giving with his fortune. His niece has autism, and he started his foundation help others with autism. He’s not the fiery guy who is going to go out and wreck everyone, but when he has a good car under him, he can race the thing. I was so ecstatic for him during the 2010 season, and I hope this next season he can get some wins. It can be an up and down ride as his fan, but he is #1 with me because of the person he is.”

(Shannon Kelly Fleming).

Joey Logano:

“Favorite Driver is Joey Logano. Because I think he is a good driver, he has great talent. I have never met Joey, but would hope to meet him someday.”

(Clayton Andrew Harris).

Davey Allsion (RIP):

“My other driver is someone who left this world to soon, Davey Allison was working his way to becoming a legend he had racing in his blood and treated everyone equal. I have never met either one but I know I will get to watch them both race in Heaven someday.”

(Darlene Lamson)

Kevin Harvick:

“Kevin is my favorite because #1 – he carries himself & deals with situations & leads his life the way I would. #2 – he’s a great driver.”

(@leftturns190)

Brad Keselowski:

“I like Brad Keselowski. I respect the fact that he came up from nothing, worked his butt off and made something of himself, I also like the fact that he is very pro military and patriotic. I have met him, he was extremely nice to me.”

(Dan Mccormack)

Kasey Kahne:

“Kasey Kahne!! I have not got to meet him but I will!!!”

(Debbie Christian).

David Pearson:

(Ed Weisheit, AJ Camp).

Mark Martin:

“My next favorite was Mark Martin and I met him the first year that NASCAR came to Indy to test. I had my 2 year old with me and Mark had my son giggling so hard. How can you not like a guy who makes toddlers laugh?”

(Ed Weisheit, Michelle Hoskin)

Richard Petty:

(Ed Weisheit).

Matt K., Carl E., & Kenny Wallace:

“I’m a Matt and Carl fan. Haven’t met either. I’ve met Kenny Wallace and he’s funny and a great guy.”

(Chad Jeremy).

Casey Mears, Justin Allgaier, David Gilliland:

“Casey Mears pretty nice both meetings and David Gilliland amazing! He recognized me at the drivers meeting and said HI, but my all-time favorite us Justin Allgaier! He treated me like I was his best friend of 30 years! He rocks!”

(Angie Witherby).

GILLI

Tie: Kyle Larson, AJ Foyt, Tony Stewart:

(Chris Rupp).

Sides Motorsports:

“When someone asks either me or my son, who our driver is, for him it’s simple, for me it’s complicated.

I have been to many dirt races, and got to meet and chat with dozens of folks, including many racers. Which is why, my pick is sooo hard. If I were to actually pick a driver based upon his resume, it would be simple….Donny Schatz or Steve Kinser. More than likely Kinser, because Donny can be such a turd. But that’s not how my mind and heart works. I pull for the driver that I believe deserves my cheers. The one that is the great person on and off the track.

Ultimately, and this is actually kind of funny, I narrowed it down to one….Sides Motorsports. Who, by the way, just happens to be, my son’s driver. Why Sides? Because out of all the drivers I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and talking to, Jason and Paul are the best. Their personalities are contagious. I do not believe that there is a single race fan or individual in the racing community that would hesitate to do something to help them. Why? Because more than likely, Jason or Paul has at one time or another done something for them. And I bet they didn’t think twice about it.

I first met Jason on an impromptu trip to visit my cousin and her new baby. A simple trip that turned out be bigger deal than expected, because we woke up the first morning to discover the 7s hauler in our hotel parking lot. Why was it such a big deal? Because my son, who has a long documented history of behavior problems, did a One-Eighty that day. How? Jason Sides that’s how. Jason answered his questions without hesitation. And trust me, there were a lot. My son was absolutely captivated by this racer and watched him for hours, while he completely rebuilt his sprint car.

So what’s the big deal about that? My son has Aspergers, and this was a major breakthrough for us. That day gave me hope that my son would be able to find his way in the world, despite what all of the so-called educators were telling me. So no matter what number position is next to his name on the timing & scoring, my son and I will always be fidgeting in our seats with all our fingers crossed, hoping for a safe race that results in an always improving finish.”

(Dictionary Prankster).

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