Tony Stewart speaks, cites overwhelming support in the search of return to normalcy


Tony Stewart has addressed the media in full for the first time since the August 9 accident that killed Kevin Ward Jr., and since Stewart was cleared by a Grand Jury of all legal charges last week.

While Stewart had had a written statement in the immediate aftermath, a brief response upon his return to the track at Atlanta Motor Speedway and a several-part interview with the Associated Press last week, he had not fully addressed the media in a news conference until Monday morning.

Questions related to the accident itself, however, were off limits. Stewart-Haas Racing PR chief Mike Arning said the statements from Michael Tantillo, the Ontario County (N.Y.) District Attorney, last week outlined the facts of the incident itself.

Still, there were some elements revealed from this press conference.

Stewart confirmed he had seen the video of the accident.

He also said he would be available to speak to Kevin Ward Jr.’s family if they want to speak with him; however, he said he would not need to speak to them for closure.

Asked if he could do anything different, Stewart said simply, “I’d have stayed at Watkins Glen that night. I do this stuff to have a good time. That’s all I wanted to do that night.

“I just wanted to go run my sprint car for a night. It didn’t end up being fun that night.”

Stewart dismissed retirement talk, when asked if that was an option. While he reiterated what he told the AP in terms of his not racing sprint cars for a while, he said he can’t quit what he’s done his whole life, for 36+ years.

“Right now I couldn’t give you a small idea of when I’ll get back in. I won’t be in for a while,” Stewart said of his sprint car driving presence.

“There was never a thought in my head about stopping. That would take the life out of me,” he said.

Stewart spoke of his struggles in managing his Sprint Cup race team, Stewart-Haas Racing, and all his sprint car products, be it race teams or Eldora Speedway.

“I’ve let my team down from that standpoint. I’ve been a bit of a cheerleader, but that’s all I’ve been the last seven weeks,” he said of SHR.

On the dirt track side: “I’ve watched and paid attention, but I haven’t been engaged in it.. Watched online at Eldora, listened online. But I haven’t been engaged with the teams or drivers.”

Stewart said sponsors have been supportive throughout the process; communication with Johnny Morris (Bass Pro Shops) and Mobil 1 has been positive.

Stewart’s last seven weeks, especially at the outset, had mainly been in seclusion. He said days were going by slower, and he did not want to do much of anything.

“The first three days, I didn’t get out of bed, didn’t care if I took a shower,” he said. “I had to force myself to get food. First 3-4 days I didn’t want to talk to anybody. Finally started moving around a little bit and every day got a little bit easier. Didn’t have any desire to do anything. You asked yourself ‘Why, why did this happen.’

“It’s been awkward because I know what a typical day was like for me, and what I thought about. You get in a pattern. This was something that changed that pattern. It won’t get back to normal, but it will get better.”

Still, the overriding message Stewart had Monday was of the level of support he has received from the NASCAR garage, community and fans, in what has been a trying and difficult seven weeks.

“Initially, I was hurt by some of the things I read,” Stewart said. “But it’s people who don’t know me, and never spent time with me. They ran with it based on what was presented or if they were people who didn’t like me to begin with. I really stopped wasting my time worrying about it. That’s all that matters.”

Stewart also thanked drivers for reaching out and the fans for welcoming him back when he was introduced ahead of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series return at Atlanta.

“Honestly I thought I had walked out in Dale Jr.’s spot,” he joked. “But it was very overwhelming. I’m glad I had sunglasses on. It was the one of the most flattering, humbling parts of my career to have that kind of reception.”

IndyCar results, points after Detroit Grand Prix


DETROIT — Alex Palou topped the results of an NTT IndyCar Series race for the second time this season, extending his championship points lead with his victory in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who also won the GMR Grand Prix (and the Indy 500 pole position) last month, holds a 51-point lead over teammate Marcus Ericsson (ninth at Detroit) through seven of 17 races this season.

Ganassi, which placed all four of its drivers in the top 10 at Detroit, has three of the top four in the championship standings with Scott Dixon ranked fourth after a fourth at Detroit.

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Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden is third in the standings after taking a 10th at Detroit. Pato O’Ward slipped to fifth in the points after crashing and finishing 26th

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:


Click here for the official box score from the 100-lap race on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile street course in downtown Detroit.

Lap leader summary

Full lap chart

Best section times

Full section data

Event summary

Pit stop summary

Here is the finishing order in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 100, Running
2. (7) Will Power, Chevrolet, 100, Running
3. (9) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 100, Running
4. (4) Scott Dixon, Honda, 100, Running
5. (13) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 100, Running
6. (12) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 100, Running
7. (2) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 100, Running
8. (11) Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 100, Running
9. (6) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 100, Running
10. (5) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 100, Running
11. (24) Colton Herta, Honda, 100, Running
12. (17) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 100, Running
13. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 100, Running
14. (20) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 100, Running
15. (15) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 100, Running
16. (18) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 100, Running
17. (25) Jack Harvey, Honda, 100, Running
18. (14) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 100, Running
19. (23) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 100, Running
20. (19) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 97, Running
21. (22) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 97, Running
22. (26) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 97, Running
23. (21) David Malukas, Honda, 85, Contact
24. (3) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 80, Contact
25. (27) Graham Rahal, Honda, 50, Contact
26. (10) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 41, Contact
27. (16) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 1, Contact

Winner’s average speed: 80.922 mph; Time of Race: 02:01:58.1171; Margin of victory: 1.1843 seconds; Cautions: 7 for 32 laps; Lead changes: 10 among seven drivers. Lap Leaders: Palou 1-28; Power 29-33; O’Ward 34; Palou 35-55; Power 56-64; Palou 65; Rossi 66; Newgarden 67-68; Kirkwood 69; Ericsson 70-76; Palou 77-100.


Click here for the points tally in the race.

Here are the points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:



Engine manufacturers

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in points: Palou 273, Ericsson 222, Newgarden 203, Dixon 194, O’Ward 191, Rossi 176, McLaughlin 175, Power 172, Herta 149, Rosenqvist 148.

Rest of the standings: Grosjean 145, Kirkwood 142, Lundgaard 136, Ilott 116, VeeKay 108, Ferrucci 105, Armstrong 101, Rahal 99, Malukas 91, Daly 88, DeFrancesco 81, Castroneves 80, Harvey 78, Canapino 77, Pagenaud 72, Pedersen 61, Robb 55, Takuma Sato 37, Ed Carpenter 27, Ryan Hunter-Reay 20, Tony Kanaan 18, Marco Andretti 13, RC Enerson 5, Katherine Legge 5.

Next race: IndyCar will head to Road America for the Sonsio Grand Prix, which will take place June 18 with coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.