Recovering Stewart has different outlook on life, career

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From the daily little things to his career as a Sprint Cup team owner and driver, Tony Stewart has a new appreciation for just about everything these days.

After breaking his right leg in a season-ending sprint car accident in August, Stewart was forced to slow down his life. He expects to be back to competition in time for the 2014 Daytona 500, but in an interview with the Associated Press, the three-time Sprint Cup champion and former Indy Racing League champion indicates that he’s changed a bit during his recovery.

“I think it’s very easy to get caught up in everything that’s going on, just daily stuff being a distraction,” he said according to the AP’s Jenna Fryer. “When you have all that taken away from you, your daily activity becomes a lot more subtle and you appreciate it all a lot more.

“Not only Cup racing, but everything that I do each day, I think about it different than I did before.”

And just as his general outlook is different, so too is his race team, Stewart-Haas Racing, which is now in the midst of an expansion to four cars for himself, Danica Patrick, and newcomers Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick.

The team announced a major reorganization this past week that will see Stewart gain a new crew chief in ex-Michael Waltrip Racing member Chad Johnston. Additionally, Harvick will be guided by another ex-MWR man, Rodney Childers, and Busch will have race engineer-turned-crew chief Daniel Knost on his pit box.

All of those changes, as well as the drivers’ sometimes combustible personalities, will have many observers watching SHR to see if they can pull it together and compete for a championship in 2014. But according to Fryer, Stewart is optimistic that it can all work out.

“I think we have a lot more potential than we’ve ever had,” he said. “Kevin and I have a great relationship. I’ve not really worked with Kurt before. The first time talking to Kurt, it’s been great so far. Enjoy our conversations.

“To me, there is potential to take this organization to a level that it just hasn’t had the opportunity to be yet because we’ve been smaller.”

Plans revealed for upgraded Circuit Gilles Villeneuve pit complex

Société du parc Jean‑Drapeau
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Plans for the upgraded pit and paddock complex at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada, have been unveiled ahead of their completion in time for the 2019 Formula 1 race.

The Canadian Grand Prix signed a new long-term F1 contract running to 2029 earlier this year, with a commitment to improving the outdated pit facilities at the circuit, built in 1988.

In a press conference earlier this week, further details and artist renderings were revealed for the CA$48 million project by the Société Parc Jean‑Drapeau.

A new glass structure will become the main pit complex, covering three levels to accommodate the teams, media and hospitality guests.

The construction work will commence at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in July 2018 – one month after next year’s Canadian Grand Prix – and be completed two months prior to the 2019 race.

Photo: Société du parc Jean‑Drapeau
Photo: Société du parc Jean‑Drapeau