Double Your Pleasure
May 30, 1999 - Two races. Two cities. Two top-ten finishes. One day.
Tony Stewart's double-duty performance, driving in the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, made him the first driver to finish both races in the same day. In less than 10 hours he completed 1,090 miles (490 at Indy and 600 in the NASCAR race).
His day was so packed that he barely had time to eat, having only two mini-bagels for breakfast and, while driving, a few bites of a chocolate Power Bar that melted in his hands from the heat.
At Indy, he was among the top five in the beginning of the race, but slowed down after running over a jack in the pit stall on lap 95. He finished ninth.
Stewart flew south for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, just outside Charlotte, N.C., but missed the pre-race drivers' meeting and had to start at the rear, behind 43 other cars. Despite this handicap, he gained the lead just past 400 miles. But during the last 100 miles he felt tired, hot and nauseous.
"The white line on the bottom of the track that's four or five inches wide went to two feet wide," Stewart said. "And a piece of hot dog wrapper would blow past and it looked like a pink-spotted elephant running across the back stretch."
But Stewart wouldn't quit; he finished fourth. Dale Earnhardt came by and asked, "You had enough yet?" Then he patted him on the back and walked away laughing.
Stewart was helped from his car and carried off on a stretcher. An ambulance took the dehydrated Stewart to a medical center, where he was given fluids.
Odds 'n' Ends