Tony Stewart formally addressed the media Friday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the first time since his accident on January 31. Stewart suffered a L1 vertebrae burst fracture in the deserts of California. He remembers going over a sand dune, not realizing he was in the air, and when he hit the sand, he knew he broke something. “It’s the cards we were dealt. It was a weird accident that nobody ever thought would happen.”
Much to the demise of his doctors, Stewart was at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and will be at the races of the “West Coast Swing”. “I can’t lay in bed any longer. It’s about to kill me. We did everything short of bubble wrapping me to get me on the plane to ride out here,” said Stewart.
Stewart hopes to receive the medical waiver from NASCAR.
Although Stewart is out for his last season, Stewart opened up for questions about his final season. To much surprise, he is still adamant that this will be his last season as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver. At the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour, Stewart stated, “"We're done. When Homestead happens, no matter how the year went, we're done. If it's a terrible year, I'm not going to sit there and say that defined my year because the stats will show what we did over 18 years. No matter how the season goes, I'm going to be able to say I had a successful run in the Sprint Cup Series." Stewart is still adamant that he will not change his plans.
Stewart missed the Daytona 500, a race in which he never won. When asked if he would consider running a couple one-off races in the Sprint Cup Series, Stewart mentioned, "No, I'm not even 1 percent considering it," he said. "There's races that I want to run. I honestly am trying to figure out how I could run the Truck race at Eldora. … I'd love to run the Truck race there. I'd love to run some Mod Tour races at Loudon when we're up there. There's one-off races like that, but there are not going to be one-off races in the Cup Series."
No matter how the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season will go for Stewart, he remains unwavering in his decision of retirement. "If we went out there and won 15 races and won the championship, it would not make me say, 'Man, I want to come back next year,' " Stewart said. "When Homestead happens, no matter how the year went, we're done."
Ty Dillon will drive the No. 14 car when Bass Pro Shops is the primary sponsor, and Brian Vickers will drive the remaining races until Stewart is able to return to competition.