When will Tony Stewart race a sprint car again? He’s not telling…

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Earlier this week, Tony Stewart returned to the cockpit of a sprint car for the first time since his season-ending accident last summer.

And as it turns out, Stewart tried to race one too. NASCAR.com’s Holly Cain reports that he secretly entered a sprint car race that was to run on Thursday at a location ‘Smoke’ wouldn’t reveal.

But Mother Nature had other ideas.

“Theoretically by today, I should have already run my first race, but we got rained out,” Stewart said to Cain.

As for when he’ll try to race again – something he said he would eventually do, although likely not so often – that’s something only the former Sprint Cup and Indy Racing League champion knows.

“I will be able to tell you how it went,” he said while in the center of a media swarm this afternoon at Dover International Speedway.

“Let’s put it that way. You won’t know when it’s coming. When I do go nobody is going to know about it. I’m going to just slide in and do it. I want to enjoy it. I don’t want it to be a cluster.

“Judging off the fact of how many people showed up just to talk to me about going and testing for a couple of hours, I can imagine what the group is going to be like after I run my first race.”

Stewart’s chaotic accident left him with a broken right tibia and fibula, and his Stewart-Haas Racing team was forced to run multiple drivers in his No. 14 Chevrolet for the remainder of the 2013 Sprint Cup season.

He’s worked hard in rehab to overcome the injury but the process continues. Today, he admitted that he figured he’d be 100 percent healed by now.

“But [I] keep going to the doctor on our scheduled appointments and they keep updating us on how it’s going and what they think the outlook is for it,” he said. “We just adjust it.

“When you haven’t gone through something like this you don’t know what to think and don’t know how to feel about it. You don’t know what to judge for recovery times and this and that because you’ve just never been through it.

“If it ever happens again, I will have a better idea of how to answer that. You just take it a day at a time still.”

However, Stewart insisted that driving a sprint car again was not part of his recovery process. It was simply something he wanted to do.

“It wasn’t really part of a checklist,” he said. “Daytona was the checklist of being able to get back in. Once we did that, we knew we could do [driving a sprint car]. It was just a matter of when to do it.”

Sometimes, Stewart has rapped the media’s knuckles for what he sees as blowing stories out of proportion. In fact, just days before his season-ending crash last year, he took the press to task for their coverage of a sprint car wreck he had in Canada that saw him flip multiple times.

But today, Stewart seemed bemused by all the attention he received.

“I still laugh about how big a deal this has all been made,” he said. “We had Cup drivers get hurt last year. One had a broken wrist, one had a broken back and nobody said anything. It was all minor news.

“I’ve made more news by getting hurt in a dirt car than any of these guys. It’s bigger news than the guy that had the same injury I had falling off a bicycle last week. I get chuckled.”

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
Align Media
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ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”