Race Weekend Central

Tony Stewart Speaks

For the first time since the incident with Kevin Ward Jr. at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Tony Stewart took questions from the media. He did not answer questions about the accident directly, the investigation by the Ontario County Police Department is the definitive document on the crash. Stewart still looks gaunt and tired but there were glimpses of the feisty personality that has been suppressed by this tragedy.

The press conference was solely about answering what questions could be answered by Stewart knowing there is still the potential for a civil suit with the Ward family. Stewart acknowledged that he only got out of bed for the first three days after the incident to eat and that was forced thanks to a total loss of appetite. He noted that it is getting easier to function and do the day-to-day obligations of a Cup series race car driver and team owner. This press conference is his first public appearance with human interaction since the accident. Stewart stated that this was the first step towards renewing his duties in that arena.

Stewart also confirmed that he had received extensive support from people within and without the sport. He chose to keep the names to himself but noted that many people shared personal experiences of tragedy and loss to he admitted were of great comfort and help in dealing with the feelings and emotions involved in such a loss. He did share that Johnny Morris, founder and majority owner of Bass Pro Shops came to visit him in his Indiana home. Stewart did say that he has just begun the process of responding to the thousands of texts and notes of support from the many people who offered encouragement.

When asked about the possibility of retiring from auto racing completely, Stewart said that thought never crossed his mind. He loves racing and did disengage from it for a period after the event but he stated that retiring would have taken the life from him. Stewart even joked a couple of times during the press conference but his usually large smile was subdued and short lived. Stewart plans to reengage more with his race teams and other racing entities going forward but admits it will be a long time, if ever, before he will be back to the way things were before the loss of Kevin Ward Jr.

About the author

What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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