Talented 17-year-old rider’s star continues to shine in the national spotlight
IRVINE, Calif. (Sept. 17, 2003) — Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s talented young motocross star James Stewart recently completed a season in which the 17-year-old won an amazing 14 races out of 16 events entered during the 2003 season. His actions on the track have set the motocross world a buzz as he eclipses the early-career records of some of the sport’s greatest stars.
But what Stewart has accomplished off the track has been just short of legendary and continues thrust his name into the national media spotlight. His most recent national media sighting appears in this week’s issue of Rolling Stone, where he is included in the magazine’s annual “The Hot List” feature. The annual list portrays the year’s “hottest” celebrities, entertainers, athletes and trends, and includes singer Britney Spears, actor Vigo Mortensen, comedian Fred Armisen, and the seemingly timeless “trucker hat” trend that has become popular in Hollywood. Stewart’s inclusion in this lofty list speaks volumes for his ability to break outside the boundaries of the sport of motocross and for what the future might hold for this popular kid from Haines City, Fla.
“It’s unbelievable to see myself in magazines like Rolling Stone,” said Stewart from Las Vegas, where he was attending Kawasaki’s annual Dealer Meeting. “I have to say that I’m a little surprised by all of this attention. I work hard to win races on the track. But I also work just as hard at the other aspects of being a professional athlete, like working with the media.
I think sometimes its easier for me in an interview than it is out on the track. I do what I do for the fans and for the love of the sport. I guess that is what it all comes down to. I race because I love it and maybe that’s what works in the end.”
Stewart has become an instant success in just two short years of racing as a professional. He has broken several records during his professional racing career, which began in 2002 after finishing his amateur career as the all-time winner. He became the first African-American to win an AMA Supercross race in his second race as a pro and the hasn’t stopped since. He has posted an impressive winning record, racking up a whopping 28 wins in 37 events. He’s also added two championships along the way.
His success on the track has led to unprecedented media coverage off of it. His image has graced the pages of some of the nation’s largest media publications, like Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, Teen People, USA Today, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Complex and Bullseye. He has also visited ABC television’s “The Jimmy Kimmel Live Show,” Fox Sports’ “The Best Damn Sports Show,” and the nationally-syndicated program “Livin’ Large.” An upcoming feature is also expected on NBC’s “Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.”