Daily Almanac for Monday May 20, 2024

By StephanieLee Elliott

NASCAR legend and now driving on the NHRA circuit, Tony Stewart is 53 today. Here he is at the 2021 Indianapolis 500. By Zach Catanzareti, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org


Anthony Wayne Stewart (born May 20, 1971), nicknamed “Smoke“, is an American semi-retired professional stock car racing driver, and current NASCAR team co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing. He also competes in NHRA. He is a four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, winning two as a driver (2002, 2005), one as owner/driver (2011), and one as an owner (2014).

Throughout his racing career, Stewart has won racing titles in Indymidgetsprint, and USAC Silver Crown cars. He is the only driver in history to win a championship in both IndyCar and NASCAR. Stewart became known for his hot temper and for his sarcasm with the media.

He last competed full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (now known as the NASCAR Cup Series) during the 2016 season, driving the No. 14 Chevrolet SS for his team, Stewart-Haas Racing, under crew chief Mike Bugarewicz. From 1999 to 2008, he drove the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing car, under crew chief Greg Zipadelli with The Home Depot as the primary sponsor. While driving for car owner Joe Gibbs, Stewart won two Cup Series championships in 2002 and 2005. In 2011, Stewart became the first owner-driver since Alan Kulwicki to win the Cup Series championship. Stewart is the only driver to win the Cup Series championship under the old points system and the chase playoff format, and is the only driver to win the title under three different sponsorships (Winston in 2002Nextel in 2005, and Sprint in 2011). He is also the first driver in the Cup Series to win the championship by a tiebreaker. On May 22, 2019, Stewart was voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and on January 31, 2020, was inducted alongside the 11th Hall of Fame class. On November 21, 2021, he married NHRA Top Fuel Drag Racer Leah Pruett. He will replace Pruett in Top Fuel for the 2024 season as Preutt steps aside to start a family with Stewart.

Tony Stewart, NHRA Top Fuel driver, reacts after a loss in Las Vegas Final Round, 4 14 2024 (courtesy IMAGN, photo by Mark J. Rebilas, USA Today Sports)


Victoria Day commemorates the May 24, 1819, birthday of Britain’s Queen Victoria (who since has had a whole era named for her—the Victorian era). The British have always celebrated the birthday of the ruling monarch. After Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, the people of Canada continued to mark her birthday to show loyalty to the British Empire. In the early 1890s, this day was known as Empire’s Day. In 1947, the name was changed to Commonwealth Day. Today it is again known as Victoria Day, and it is a legal holiday in all Canadian provinces except Quebec.

Question of the Day

What is the origin of American football, and when was the first game played?

Football is an American version of English rugby. It was first played, on the college level, in 1869 — in a 6-4 victory of Rutgers over Princeton.

Advice of the Day

Strong chamomile tea, rubbed over your skin, is a natural bug repellent.

Home Hint of the Day

If the bricks in your chimney are starting to crumble from age, seal the outsides with a clear masonry sealer, applied with a paintbrush. Preventing the bricks from absorbing rainwater will extend their life.

Word of the Day


Sometimes clouds look like other objects, such as dragons, elephants, letters, and even people. Cloud naming is called nephelococcygia.

Puzzle of the Day

Why do seagulls live by the sea?

Because if they lived by the bay, they’d be bagels.


  • Christopher Columbus (explorer) – 
  • Joseph Carr (president of NFL) – 
  • Gilda Radner (actress) – 
  • Stephen Jay Gould (paleontologist & author) – 
  • Robin Gibb (musician; member of the Bee Gees) – 


  • William Thornton (architect) – 
  • Dolley Madison (U.S. First Lady) – 
  • William Fargo (businessman) – 
  • Allan Nevins (historian) – 
  • Jimmy Stewart (actor) – 
  • Joe Cocker (musician) – 
  • Cher (singer & actress) – 
  • Tony Stewart (race car driver) – 


  • First Council of Nicaea (which standardized how to calculate the date of Easter) likely convened– 
  • D. Hyde patented the fountain pen– 
  • Homestead Act signed– 
  • The Saturday Evening Post published its first cover with a Norman Rockwell painting– 
  • Charles Lindbergh began first nonstop solo flight across Atlantic– 
  • First airplane catapulted from a dirigible– 
  • A 680-pound goliath grouper was caught off Fernandina Beach, Florida– 
  • Rare Madagascar teal duck born, Louisville Zoo, Kentucky– 
  • Up to 20 million honeybees escaped from a tractor-trailer after it overturned on a highway in Newark, Deleware– 


  • Strafford, Vermont, received 10 inches of snow– 
  • Six inches of snow fell on Lexington, Kentucky– 
  • Codell, Kansas, hit by a tornado– 
  • For the second year in a row, Codell, Kansas, was hit by a tornado on this date– 
  • For the third year in a row, Codell, Kansas, was hit by a tornado on this date– 
  • A tornado took to the ground in Kansas City, Missouri, and traveled 71 miles– 
  • Near Eloy, Arizona, scientists began a 3.5 week experiment to study the nature of dust devils.– 


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