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On This Date in Sports May 30, 1999: Double Duty

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Tony Stewart does double duty, competing in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. Stewart is the fourth driver to ride in both races on the same day and the first to finish in the top ten in each event. Tony Stewart finishes a respectable ninth at the Brickyard and fourth in the NASCAR Cup race in Charlotte. Stewart would do double duty again in 2001, finishing sixth at Indy and third in Charolette. 

Tony Stewart was born on May 20, 1971, in Columbus, Indiana. Raised in the shadow of the Indianapolis 500, Stewart grew up racing Go-Karts, winning the World Karting Association in 1987. From there, he moved on to Midget Cars, where he continued to be a strong contender. In 1995, Stewart became the first driver to win USAC's version of the Triple Crown, earning championships in all three of USAC's major divisions, National Midget, Sprint, and Silver Crown. His winning the Hut Hundred and 4-Crown Nationals were the highlights of the year. Stewart moved over to Open Wheel racing in 1996, making his debut on the Indy Car series. He also took on stock cars, debuting on the Busch Series in NASCAR. In addition, he was running in the Craftsman Truck Series, becoming motorsports busiest driver. 

In 1993, lights made their debut in Charlotte, making it possible for a driver to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. John Andretti was the first to pull off double duty, finishing tenth in the Indianapolis 500 and 36th in Charlotte. Robby Gordon raced both in 1997 and did poorly, finishing 29th and 41st, respectively.  

The 1999 Cup season was the first for Tony Stewart as he began racing for Joe Gibbs Racing. He began the transition into NASCAR but wanted to ride in the historic Indianapolis 500. Stewart had his best run at the Brickyard to date, finishing ninth in the Indianapolis 500. As Kenny Brack took the checkered flag. He quickly got to the airport for a flight to Charlotte; he then arrived at the Charlotte Motor Speedway by helicopter. Stewart led several laps and finished a respectable fourth, behind Jeff Burton. He would go on to win the NASCAR Rookie of the Year, three years after winning the top Rookie award in Indy Car. 

Tony Stewart repeated the double in 2001, finishing sixth at the Indianapolis 500, and third in the Coca-Cola 600. It would be his final Indy Car race. Robby Gordon meanwhile pulled double duty, in 2000, and from 2002-2004. Kurt Busch is the most recent racer to run both races on the Sunday before Memorial Day in 2014. No other racer had top-ten finishes in both events.