Tony Stewart trying to find that feeling again


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – When one’s body and mind have been wracked so deeply, can that person return to how things used to be?

Tony Stewart will try.

A sprint car crash two years ago brands his gait, and last year’s sprint car tragedy tortures his spirit. For as much as Stewart wants to look ahead, those moments will remain with him forever.

Still, there’s a time when Stewart must look ahead.

“When they counted down the end of 2014, I was never so happy to see that number go off the calendar,’’ Stewart said. “I’m ready to put the last two years behind me and never look back. I’m going back to being me again.’’

Greg Zipadelli, Stewart’s former crew chief, longtime friend and the competition director at Stewart-Haas Racing, says he already notices a difference in the 43-year-old racer.

“I see him refreshed,’’ Zipadelli said. “I’ve seen him joke like I haven’t seen in two years. I know for a fact he’s ready to go out and go race. That’s all that man has. That’s what he lives for. So if anybody can do it, if anybody is going to find that inner drive to do it, it’s going to be Tony.’’

Does that mean the three-time champion can claim another title? Or win his first Daytona 500? Or win other races?

He enters this season searching for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in 20 months. Stewart managed a top-10 finish in 21.1 percent of his starts last year – a career-worst percentage. He has failed to finish in the top 10 in at least half his starts each of the past three years and four of the last five.

Those are only part of the questions he faces. The bigger questions for many are how he moves on from the incidents he’s had the past two years.

Stewart was contending for a Chase position in 2013 when he severely broke his right leg in a sprint car crash Aug. 5 at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He missed the remaining 15 Cup races. He had surgery on the leg in December – his fourth since the crash. Stewart has one final surgery scheduled on the leg after this season to remove a titanium rod.

Stewart was 19th in points last season when he went to compete in a sprint car event Aug. 9 at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park. After Kevin Ward Jr. bounced off the wall while racing Stewart for position, Ward exited his car and walked down the dirt track. Stewart’s car struck Ward, who died from the injuries. A grand jury refused to indict Stewart in Ward’s death. Stewart missed three races. After his return, he managed one top-10 finish in the final 12 Cup races.

“How could it not change you?’’ teammate Kevin Harvick said of what Stewart experienced the past two years. “You go from a broken leg to a situation you don’t ever want to see anybody have to deal with. I can’t relate to how that affects you mentally. Knowing the type person he is and how much he cares about everything else and having to deal with the situation that he dealt with last time, I know, just looking at him, you could tell it wasn’t right. He wasn’t in a good frame of mind.’’

Harvick also sees the change this year in Stewart, noting that his close friend is “in a good spot.’’

Still, there’s much work for Stewart on the track this season. He never could get the right balance in his car. What worked for Harvick didn’t work as well for Stewart. Instead, Stewart fought a tight race car that wouldn’t obey his commands throughout the season.

“I tried everything I knew last year and I couldn’t make a difference,’’ said Stewart, who has 48 career Cup victories to rank 13th on the all-time series wins list.

The offseason, Stewart said, provided the break the team needed to find what ailed the car. As he enters this year, Stewart was asked if he feels as if he has anything to prove.

“I don’t feel that I have to prove anything to anybody,’’ he said. “It’s more what I want to do, not what I feel I have to show people I can do. I want to be winning races again.’’


IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix: How to watch, start times, TV, schedules, streaming


The NTT IndyCar Series will return to the Motor City for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix but with start times in a new location for 2023.

After a 30-year run on Belle Isle, the Detroit GP has moved a few miles south to the streets of downtown on a new nine-turn, 1.645-mile circuit that runs along the Detroit River.

It’s the first time single-seater open-cockpit cars have raced on the streets of Detroit since a CART event on a 2.5-mile downtown layout from 1989-91. Formula One also raced in Detroit from 1982-88.

The reimagined Detroit Grand Prix also will play host to nightly concerts and bring in venders from across the region. Roger Penske predicts the new downtown locale will be bigger for Detroit than when the city played host to the 2006 Super Bowl.

Here are the details and IndyCar start times for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend (all times are ET):


TV: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET on NBC and streaming on Peacock, the NBC Sports App and Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Kevin Lee are the pit reporters. Click here for the full NBC Sports schedule for IndyCar in 2023.

Peacock also will be the streaming broadcast for both practices and qualifying.

POSTRACE SHOW ON PEACOCK: After the race’s conclusion, an exclusive postrace show will air on Peacock with driver interviews, postrace analysis and the podium presentation. To watch the extended postrace show, click over to the special stream on Peacock after Sunday’s race ends.


GREEN FLAG: 3:30 p.m. ET

PRACTICE: Friday, 3 p.m. (Peacock Premium); Saturday, 9:05 a.m. (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 10 a.m. (Peacock Premium)

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Combined

QUALIFYING: Saturday, 1:20 p.m. (Peacock Premium)

STARTING LINEUP: Alex Palou captured the first street course pole of his IndyCar career; click here for where everyone will begin Sunday’s race

RACE DISTANCE: The race is 100 laps (170 miles) on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile temporary street course in downtown Detroit.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate. Rookie drivers are allowed one extra primary set for the first practice.

PUSH TO PASS: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation (Indy NXT: 150 seconds total, 15 seconds per). The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower.

FORECAST: According to, it’s expected to be 80 degrees with a 0% chance of rain.

ENTRY LIST: Click here to view the 27 drivers racing Sunday at Detroit

INDY NXT RACES: Saturday, 12:05 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 12:50 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium)

INDY NXT ENTRY LISTClick here to view the 19 drivers racing at Detroit


(All times are Eastern)

Friday, June 2

8:30-9:30 a.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

9 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

9:50-10:20 a.m.: Trans Am Series practice

11:40 a.m.-12:40 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

1-1:30 p.m.: Trans Am Series practice

1:50-2:40 p.m.: Indy NXT practice

3-4:30 p.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

4:50-5:05 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge qualifying

5:30-6 p.m.: IndyNXT qualifying (Race 1 and 2)

6-7:15 p.m.: A-Track concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7:30-8:30 p.m.: Big Boi concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Saturday, June 3

6 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

8:15-8:45 a.m.: Trans Am Series qualifying

9:05-10:05 a.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

10:35-11:35 a.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Muscle Car Challenge

12:05-1:00 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 1 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

1:15-2:45 p.m.: IndyCar qualifying, Peacock

4:10-5:50 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Classic (100 minutes), Peacock

5:30-7 p.m.: Z-Trip concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7-8:30 p.m.: Steve Aoki concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Sunday, June 4

7 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

10:00-10:30 a.m.: IndyCar warmup, Peacock

11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Motor City Showdown

12:50-1:45 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 2 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

2:47 p.m.: IndyCar driver introductions

3:23 p.m.: Command to start engines

3:30 p.m.: Green flag for the Chevrolet Detroit Prix, presented by Lear (100 laps/170 miles), NBC


ROUND 1Marcus Ericsson wins wild opener in St. Petersburg

ROUND 2Josef Newgarden wins Texas thriller over Pato O’Ward

ROUND 3: Kyle Kirkwood breaks through for first career IndyCar victory

ROUND 4: Scott McLaughlin outduels Romain Grosjean at Barber

ROUND 5: Alex Palou dominant in GMR Grand Prix

ROUND 6: Josef Newgarden wins first Indy 500 in 12th attempt 


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HOW TO WATCH INDYCAR IN 2023Full NBC Sports schedule