Tony Stewart Plays Poker


Tony Stewart talked about two of his favorite subjects on Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway - poker and his 2005 Pepsi 400 victory.

Stewart visited "The World Center of Racing" to participate in Pepsi 400 Media Day. The two-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion discussed his first points-paying victory at Daytona and then played poker with Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig, NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter and the 2005 World Series of Poker runner-up Corey Bierra.

"I like to play with Hunter because he doesn't know what he has in his hand half of the time," Stewart quipped. "I will say this about Hunter, you can play poker with Hunter and you can't raise him out of a pot. He can have the absolute worst hand and he'll play it until the end. He likes to go down with the ship and his cards."

And as far as facing off against a poker pro in Bierra, Stewart said, "There's nothing like stacking the deck against the driver right off the bat."

Stewart also faced off against the media at the poker table and reflected last year's triumph in the mid-summer classic that helped propel him to his second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship.

The Pepsi 400 was the first race where Stewart began his signature post-race celebration move by scaling the fences all the way to the top of the flag stand to collect the checkered flag.

He reflected on the celebration as he looked at a photo of him atop the flag stand.

"Right about there, I was thinking what in the heck am I doing climbing this fence, "Stewart said. "It was pretty exciting. It was an awesome day. What possessed me to do that, I have no idea. That was a night that I bit off more than I could chew because I'm now stuck doing that the rest of my life every time I win a race."

Stewart will be busy during the Pepsi 400 Weekend. Besides defending his race win, the Indiana native will compete in the Winn-Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo on Friday, June 30 for Kevin Harvick Inc., a team that he has driven to victory in the past two February Busch Series race at Daytona.

He¿ll also race in Round 3 of the Crown Royal IROC Series on Thursday, June 29, which will be held on the DIS¿ 3.56-mile road course. It¿s the first time that the Crown Royal IROC Series has competed on a road course in 14 years.

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