Stewart Earns 2004 AMA Pro Racing Athlete of the Year Nomination - News - Dirt Rider Magazine

James "Bubba" Stewart has received a nomination for the 2004 AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year Award. Stewart, 18, of Haines City, Fla., is coming off a stellar 2004 season, which saw him win AMA 125 Motocross and 125 East Supercross championships and set many new AMA records along the way.Stewart is the fifth rider earning a nomination this year for the prestigious Athlete of the Year joining Mat Mladin, Ricky Carmichael, Jeff Ward and Chris Carr. The award will be presented to the winner during the 30th annual AMA Pro Racing Awards Banquet on Sunday evening, Nov. 14 at Paris Las Vegas.2004 will certainly be a year that Stewart won't soon forget. He dominated the AMA 125 East Supercross Series, clinching the series historically early and becoming only the second rider ever to earn both the East and West 125 Supercross titles. He won the 125 East races by an average of over 20 seconds per race, setting a fast pace all the way to the checkered flag."I didn't want to give the fans anything less than my best," said Stewart, who became the all-time winningest rider in AMA 125 Supercross racing history. "I rode every race like the rest of the riders were right on me."Stewart went on to win the annual Dave Coombs Sr. 125 East/West Shootout in Las Vegas in May, becoming only the second rider in history to twice accomplish that feat.He then set his sights on the AMA 125 Motocross Championship. Again the results were nothing less than spectacular. Stewart won 23 of the 24 motos and took 11 of the 12 overall wins. A first-turn pileup at Red Bud (Buchanan, Mich.), that damaged Stewart's bike was the only thing that kept him from a perfect undefeated motocross season. He clinched the 125 championship at round 10 in Binghamton, N.Y., one of the earliest points to wrap up the title ever, and along the way he passed Ricky Carmichael to become the all-time wins leader in AMA 125 Motocross history."It was really a dream year," Stewart said of 2004. "I went out to set some new records and I got that accomplished. I did it on a two-stroke, which I'm pretty proud of, especially after I found out how good the four-stroke bikes were when I raced one at Glen Helen. It was definitely a season to remember and I'm hoping to have a few more like that in the future."In addition to his accomplishments on the track Stewart also broke into the consciousness of mainstream America. He was featured on the NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw and the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. Sports Illustrated named Stewart one of the 101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports and he had a feature story written on him that appeared on the front page of the Washington Post.Stewart will embark on his 250 racing career starting in January of 2005. It will easily be the most highly anticipated debut in the class in history.