Reliving the Glory Days of Tony Stewart’s Iconic Home Depot Car

A Nostalgic Look Back at Smoke’s Unforgettable Ride

As a lifelong NASCAR fan, I have vivid memories of cheering on Tony Stewart behind the wheel of his bright orange #20 Home Depot car. From 1999 to 2008, that eye-catching orange paint scheme and Stewart’s aggressive driving style made that car an unforgettable icon in NASCAR’s modern era. When Smoke climbed into that cockpit for over a decade, you knew you were in for a wild ride.

Stewart steered Joe Gibbs Racing’s Home Depot Chevrolet for 10 straight seasons, racking up wins in epic fashion. I’ll never forget watching him muscling that orange missile past the competition at tracks nationwide. While the car numbers changed a few times over those years, from the #20 to the #14, the thrilling style behind the wheel never did. Let’s take a nostalgic ride and look back at some of the highlights from Smoke’s glory days with the Home Depot colors.

Championship Dominance in the Orange and Black

Stewart drove the Home Depot car from 1999 to 2008, claiming two of his three career Cup Series championships behind the wheel. His first came in 2002, when he drove the #20 to victory lane six times. The orange machine was simply unstoppable, with Stewart leading the standings for 25 of 36 races that season. He clinched that first title in rock star fashion, landing a championship-winning top 10 finish while nursing a broken wrist!

The Home Depot car would enter victory lane even more in 2005, when Stewart steered the #20 to five wins en route to his second Cup title. Who could forget the orange avalanche rolling through the chase that year, with three straight wins to open the playoffs. Miami felt like a Home Depot-sponsored coronation, as Stewart took the checkered flag to seal his legendary championship run.

Fueling a Hall of Fame Career with The Home Depot

In addition to those two Cup Series titles, Stewart visited victory lane 33 times behind the wheel of the Home Depot car. Wins came in bunches when Smoke was behind the orange wheel, like his four race winning streak in 2000. The Home Depot car was a force on the intermediate ovals, racking up checkered flags at tracks like Charlotte, Atlanta, and Las Vegas.

I’ll never forget his fuel mileage gamble to win the 2005 Allstate 400 at The Brickyard. Passing cars while saving gas, Smoke played the strategy to perfection. Taking the checkered flag at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a Home Depot car was the stuff dreams are made of for Stewart. Other triumphs included the 2001 Daytona 500, where Stewart led a dominating 175 of 200 laps! Smoke also piloted the orange missile to two Brickyard 400 victories after that fuel mileage triumph.

The Team Behind the Orange

While Stewart wheeled the Home Depot machine, he had the legendary Joe Gibbs Racing team behind him. Crew chiefs like Greg Zipadelli orchestrated the strategy, while pit crews like the Flying Aces executed flawless stops. Stewart had future NASCAR superstars like Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch as teammates, always pushing him to bring out his best.

The expertise of racing powerhouse Joe Gibbs paired with the resources of national giant Home Depot made for a championship-winning formula during Stewart’s decade behind the wheel. Building a race team takes the right parts, and the combo of driver, crew, sponsor and owner meshed perfectly for Stewart’s dominating run.

The Legendary Home Depot Livery

I can still picture that brilliant orange #20 car leading the pack, with bold black trim along the bottom. The simple and iconic Home Depot logo on the hood stood out from the other cars and couldn’t be ignored. When fans in the grandstands spotted that bright orange blur roaring by, they knew Smoke was wheeling for glory.

Later, Stewart drove an orange and black #14 machine when he changed car numbers, but the livery remained instantly recognizable. Whether it was the sleek, aerodynamic lines of the Gen 4 car or the beefy muscle of the Gen 5, the Home Depot paint scheme looked like a million bucks in victory lane. Smoke even had special schemes like the vintage orange retro ride he drove at Darlington.

Diecast Dreams

Of course, I couldn’t just cheer on my favorite driver without taking home a 1:24 scale diecast stock car too! Getting a replica of Tony Stewart’s Home Depot car was always at the top of my wish list. I’ll never forget unwrapping one on my birthday and adding it to the collection. That brilliant orange #20 still has a place of honor on my desk.

It’s fun seeing the small details like sponsor logos and decals on an accurate diecast model. Over the years I probably bought every possible version, from the standard Home Depot look to special schemes like the Star Wars ride. Diecast collecting was the perfect way to celebrate Smoke’s partnership with The Home Depot.

Lasting Legacy

While all good things must come to an end, the partnership between Smoke and The Home Depot created history during a pivotal era in NASCAR. Seeing them join forces again briefly during Stewart’s 2011 championship season brought back fond memories. Rewatching old race footage of the orange #20 car never gets old!

When I spotted The Home Depot back sponsoring Joe Gibbs Racing cars in recent seasons, I hoped for a throwback paint scheme. Kyle Busch even wheeled a vintage Tony Stewart lookalike car at Darlington in 2021! Smoke and The Home Depot were the perfect combo, bringing a legendary intensity and workmanlike attitude that led to victory lane. Even years later, that orange car streaking toward the checkered flag still gets my heart racing every time.

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