Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tony Stewart mending, but has no timetable for return

LAS VEGAS — Driver Tony Stewart doesn't know when he'll race this season. But he remains resolute that this is his final year as a Sprint Cup driver.

"When they clear me to do it, when it's time to get back in the car, we'll be plenty ready," said Stewart, who broke his back in a dune-buggy accident Jan. 31 and is out indefinitely, including for today's Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Stewart felt well enough to make the trip to Las Vegas in a role as coach, cheerleader and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, albeit against doctor's orders. He did the same thing last week when he traveled to Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Next week, Stewart will have his back X-rayed in Charlotte, the first time since he had surgery that there will be a medical update on his condition.

After that, Stewart hopes he'll have a timetable for his return. But Stewart said the injury hasn't changed his mind about retiring, which he announced in 2015.

"I'm not going to change the plan because I got hurt," the three-time Cup champion said. "These are the cards we were dealt. We'll play the rest of the year out. As soon as they tell me I can be back in the car, I'm going to be wide open, 100 percent."

Stewart is trying to heal and implied his doctors weren't happy with his decision to come to Atlanta and Las Vegas.

"I'm definitely breaking the rules," he said. "The doctors want me laying in bed and walking. They don't me sitting and standing. They don't want me flying out here. They didn't want me in Atlanta. But I can't lay in bed any longer. It's about to kill me. We did everything short of bubble wrap me to ride out here on the plane."

Stewart said he hopes NASCAR grants him a medical waiver to make him eligible for the Chase for the Championship if he qualifies, as it did last season for Kyle Busch, who missed the first 11 races with a broken leg and foot. NASCAR rules state a driver must try to qualify for every race to be eligible for the Chase, unless a waiver is granted. Busch went on to win the title.

For Stewart, it's about pain management, though there's a healing process too.

"(I) feel pretty good," he said. "It's like everything else: Your body tells you when it's had enough, when it's sore. You've just got to listen to it.

"Even if I'm in a small group, if I take three or four steps back, stay in the group, it almost looks like you're eager to go to the bathroom. But you have to move around a little bit to keep the weight from hanging there and being hard on the rods in my back."

Brian Vickers drove for Stewart in the No. 14 Chevrolet in the season-opening Daytona 500 and will do so again at Las Vegas.

"He doesn't need me telling him what to do," Stewart said. "I think it's good for our team (for me to be here), more than anything. I want to be here to support them. … I'm a lot happier here. I would rather be here in pain than be at home comfortable and no pain. The pain is worth it."

Sprint Cup points

Through two of 36 races. The top 16 drivers, based on wins then points, will make the 10-race, season-ending Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts Back

Kyle Busch 78—

Kevin Harvick 74 4

Carl Edwards 73 5

Denny Hamlin* 70 8

Jimmie Johnson* 70 8

Kurt Busch 69 9

Joey Logano 64 14

Martin Truex 60 18

Aric Almirola 55 23

Brad Keselowski 54 24

Austin Dillon 53 25

Matt Kenseth 51 27

Ricky Stenhouse 50 28

Kyle Larson 49 29

Kasey Kahne 46 32

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 45 33

* Has a win

Today's race

Kobalt 400, 3:30, Las Vegas Motor Speedway TV/radio: Ch. 13; 102.5-FM

Tony Stewart mending, but has no timetable for return 03/05/16 [Last modified: Saturday, March 5, 2016 10:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  4. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.
  5. USF baseball rallies to beat Tulane in AAC tournament opener

    College

    CLEARWATER — With Tulane runners on first and second and two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, USF's dugout watched as burly American Athletic Conference co-player of the year Hunter Williams' fly to left went deep.

    USF outfielder Chris Chatfield is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Cates after hitting a three-run homer in the third inning, tying the score at 3.