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Mike Wolanin | The Republic

Tony Stewart completes three-peat at annual TQ Midget race

Tony Stewart, a recent inductee of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2020, defended his back-to-back titles at the King’s of the UMRA Three-Quarter Midget Race on Tuesday night at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds.

The annual TQ Midget race was co-sponsored by the Tony Stewart Foundation, which provides grant funding to well-qualified organizations serving children who are critically ill or physically disabled, animals at-risk or endangered, and drivers injured in the sport of motor racing.

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Stewart, once again racing in his hometown of Columbus, Indiana, has collected the checkered flag in this event each of the last two years, with Tuesday night’s win completing the trifecta.

The three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion battled handling issues throughout the night, leading to a rough start to the competition. After a less-than-ideal fourth-place finish in his heat race and a fifth-place run in qualifying, Stewart gained an edge in the main event with an inverted top-six starting order that gave him the outside line on the front row.

In the opening lap, Stewart sped his way into the lead — a lead he never surrendered. He went on to dominate all 25 laps, holding off strong pushes from polesitter Anthony Lawrence and 14-year-old Emerson Asxom, en route to his third consecutive hometown-race victory.

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