Dale Jr., Johnson weigh in on latest twist in Tony Stewart saga

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Tony Stewart won’t be facing criminal charges following his involvement in a fatal sprint car accident last month.

But for at least two of his peers on the Sprint Cup circuit, relief isn’t exactly the emotion they feel so much as continued sympathy for him and for the family of Kevin Ward Jr., the driver struck and killed by Stewart’s car on Aug. 9 at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he tried not to pay too much attention to the Stewart saga, but noted that “you get something in the pit of your stomach that is sort of this frightfulness or this fear for Tony and what he is having to deal with.”

“Just having known him for all these years, you can imagine that he is going through something super emotional and overwhelming by a huge measure,” he added. “There is sort of a sickness…for what Tony is going through, but at the same time you never really forget that somebody was killed.

“There is a family with a hole in their heart and they have got to figure out a way to live out the rest of their lives with this always on their mind. It will have a huge effect on both sides for so many years. It’s just super-duper unfortunate.”

Earnhardt’s teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, Jimmie Johnson, was also asked to share his thoughts on Stewart being cleared of charges.

Like Earnhardt, he too emphasized the sadness of Ward’s death. But he also admitted that the revelation of Ward’s toxicology report saying he had marijuana in his system (enough to impair judgement according to Ontario County (N.Y.) District Attorney Michael Tantillo) was “shocking to see.”

“From a friend perspective and worrying about Tony and understanding what he’s gone through and how tough this has been on him, I’m sure there is some type of relief that it’s kind of done, in that respect,” Johnson said.

“But at the same time, coming back to the Ward family, even in the remarks I read from Tony, I’m sure he feels okay about not having this go any further and there being legal actions.

“A civil suit is still out there and that can happen for any reason; to anybody in this room. But, the other side of it, still first and foremost on Tony’s mind is that it was an accident and his heart is still out for the Ward family.”

Stewart declared his innocence in an interview Thursday with the Associated Press that was released earlier this morning.

Malcolm Stewart sidelined from Supercross by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.