Ivan Stewart is The Ironman

By: Jasonlancaster
Off-road race fanatics don't think of comic creator Stan Lee or actor Robert Downey, Jr when they hear the word "Ironman." The real Ironman in the racing world is Ivan Stewart, who has earned the title for himself.

Stewart's first big break was at the 1973 Ensenada 300. His co-driver broke his leg before the race, so Stewart found mechanic Earl Stah to drive shotgun, and powered through 300 miles of rough terrain in the Class 2 buggy to win the race.

After almost 30 wins in 10 years, Stewart has joined the Toyota factory-sponsored team. In those 10 years, he moved up from Class 2 and won the Baja 100. Twice, he was the SCORE Driver of the Year, and the winner of the Baja 500.

Stewart's winning streak continued with Toyota-powered, Precision Preparation Inc. Motorsports-built race trucks. He won six class victories, including two SCORE World Championships! Off-road racing become more accessible and popular during the '80s, when the Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group (MTEG) moved off-road from the desert into the stadium, which meant new venues for Stewart/Toyota victories. Stewart is the all-time MTEG win record with 17 victories under his belt.

1990 was the seventh year of Stewart's partnership with Toyota, and it was a lucky one. He won a pile of titles, including: SCORE and High Desert Racing Association (HDRA) Driver of the Year; Overall Driver`s Champion; Unlimited Class Driver`s Champion; and Grand National Sport Truck Driver`s Champion. Along the way, he also picked up a total of 11 wins. A mere three years later, Stewart repeated his SCORE Overall and Unlimited Class championships, and helped earn Toyota its first Baja 1000 win. Stewart and Team Toyota made history during the 1993 season, when they won the Crown Jewels of desert racing - the Baja 500, Baja 1000 and the Nevada 400. It was the first time one manufacturer had won all three.

In 1994, Stewart moved up to the Trophy-Truck Class and won the San Felipe 25, Baja 500 and Fireworks 250. A year later, he was named Trophy-Truck Class Driver's Champion, and won the Laughlin Challenge and Parker 400. In the final three years of his career, he won another three Baja 500s and one more Baja 1000, for a career total of 17 and 3, respectively. After 26 years of racing, Stewart had won more than 84 victories, and 10 driver's championships.

Since his retirement from racing, Stewart has continued to keep a high profile in the race with two initiatives. He is the founder of the Protruck Racing Organization, a special class of spec trucks that participates at such off-road events as the "Best in the Desert" Vegas to Reno run, the Baja 500, and the Pikes Peak hill climb. This is a true driver's challenge, since all the Protrucks incorporate the same components, and engines are limited to 360 cubic inches in size. Stewart has also maintained involvement in the racing world by releasing a Super Off-Road arcade game with Midway Home Entertainment. The game is developed for Nintendo and Sega, and is based on the SCORE desert series. Hail Ivan Stewart, the Ironman of off-road racing!
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