Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s popular rider meets NBA’s Steve Francis and MLB’s Jeff Kent
IRVINE , Calif. (February 16, 2004) — Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s James Stewart capped off an entertaining week in Houston with a win on Saturday night in the opening round of the 125cc Eastern Region Supercross Series at Reliant Stadium. While winning on the race track has become standard business for this 18-year-old kid from Haines City, Fla., the star attention he is gaining when not racing is starting to attract some of the sports world’s top athletes.
On the Wednesday prior to the Houston Supercross, Stewart was invited to attend an NBA game between the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers, held at the Rockets’ arena in downtown Houston. He visited with NBA guard Steve Francis of the Houston Rockets in the locker room prior to the game and was given a tour of the facility by the team’s head trainer, Keith Jones. Francis, a Stewart fan who follows his races on ESPN2, gave Stewart a Rockets jersey with Stewart’s number and name emblazoned on the back. The two met up later after the Rockets victory and Stewart handed Francis one his jerseys and posed for photos.
During the warm-up lap prior to the 125cc main event on Saturday, Stewart actually wore the Rockets jersey in honor of Francis, who was attending the NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles and could not be there in person.
The celebrity tour wasn’t over for Stewart, who was greeted by MLB All-Star Jeff Kent, who plays for the Houston Astros. Kent, a huge Supercross fan and avid motocross rider, stopped by the Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki pit area on Friday after Stewart’s practice sessions. Kent introduced his three young boys to Stewart and taped an interview for the ESPN2 broadcast. The two exchanged numbers and promised to meet at Stewart’s home before the Daytona Supercross while Kent is in Florida for spring training.
Stewart’s Houston win was the 12th of his career and brings him within one of tying Jeremy McGrath’s record of 13 125cc career Supercross main event victories. Stewart now has won 12 times in 19 races, or 63-percent of the races he has entered. It took McGrath 28 races to reach 13 victories.