Before he was Smoke: Tony Stewart wins Disney Indy 1998

Disney Indy 200, January 1998 - Images by Brian Cleary

Briefly in the late 1990’s, the IRL made their season-opening stop at the newly built speedway at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. In 1998 a young open wheel star named Tony Stewart dominated the race and celebrated with Mickey in victory lane.

The event never really had a chance to catch on, but for me it was always an exciting way to kick off the racing season with a chance to shoot the exotic indy cars close to home.

I did not know much about Stewart at the time, but the future multi-time NASCAR Champion was an excited winner on this winter day in 1998, as these photos attest.

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