Get the latest Tony Stewart news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Get the latest Tony Stewart news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Both drivers fined, placed on four-race probation RELATED: Full coverage/timeline of Charlotte incident DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 14, 2014) -- NASCAR has assessed behavioral penalties to drivers Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart for their involvement in post-race incidents on Oct. 11 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Keselowski has been fined $50,000 and placed on NASCAR probation for the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship events through Nov. 12 for violating: • Section 12-1 : Actions detrimental to stock car racing • Section 12-4.9 : Behavioral penalty -- involved in post-race incidents Stewart has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation for the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship events through Nov. 12 for violating: • Section 12-1 : Actions detrimental to stock car racing • Section 12-4.9 : Behavioral penalty -- involved in a post-race incident "These penalties are about maintaining a safe environment following the race," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR senior vice president, competition and racing development. "We knew that the new Chase format was likely going to raise the intensity level and we want our drivers to continue to be themselves. However, the safety of our drivers, crew members, officials, and workers is paramount and we will react when that safety could be compromised." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Former champs docked for behavioral infractions in post-race fracas MORE: Full coverage of Charlotte incident RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize NASCAR issued fines and probations to drivers Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart on Tuesday for their post-race actions following last Saturday's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Keselowski was fined $50,000 and placed on probation through Nov. 12, a span of the next four races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason. Officials fined Stewart $25,000 and issued a probation of the same length. The penalties fell under the NASCAR Rule Book headings of Section 12-1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing and 12-4.9: Behavioral penalty -- involved in post-race incidents. Keselowski is the only one of the two drivers eligible for the title in the Chase. His probation is scheduled to expire before the season-ending championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Keselowski clipped Denny Hamlin 's rear bumper on the cool-down lap after the race, later hitting Matt Kenseth 's car after Kenseth had removed his seat belt and HANS safety device. Stewart was also caught up in the round of bumper cars, causing the No. 14 driver to retaliate by backing his car into Keselowski's No. 2, crumpling its front. Keselowski then drove through a garage stall in the Sprint Cup Series garage before parking his car near his hauler. After getting out of his car, members of Hamlin's and Kenseth's teams yelled at Keselowski and his crew. As Keselowski walked between his hauler and his teammate Joey Logano 's hauler, Kenseth ran after Keselowski and things got physical between the two. Eventually, the two were separated by Keselowski's crew chief, Paul Wolfe. Neither Hamlin nor Kenseth were penalized. Keselowski later said that what had him angered at Kenseth was what happened right before the Lap 333 restart. "When he came by he swung at my car and tore the whole right-front off of it," Keselowski said. "When we restarted fifth with no right-front on it, we fell all the way back to 16th and it ruined our day. That gave us a big Chase hurt, which is unfortunate, and then for some reason after the race the 11 stopped in front of me and tried to pick a fight, so I don't know what's up with that. And he swung and hit my car and I figured if we are going to play car wars, I'll join too. You know those guys can dish it out but they can't take it. And I give it back to them and now they want to fight." NASCAR asked for Keselowski to come to its hauler Saturday to speak to officials about what happened. A crew member for Kenseth's No. 20 team, mechanic Jesse Sanders and Kenseth's crew chief, Jason Ratcliff also came in. Keselowski finished in 16th place at Charlotte. He enters Sunday's GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET, ESPN) in 10th place in the Sprint Cup Series points standings. The race is the last chance to advance to the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
A statistical look ahead to the opening race of the Eliminator Round RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Below is a look at the eight Eliminators – and beyond – at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia going into the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 on October 26. MARTINSVILLE-SPECIFIC STATISTICS 1 - Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.6 2014 Rundown · Five wins, 15 top fives, 20 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 11.5 · Led 20 races for 916 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Two top fives, three top 10s · Average finish of 14.8 in 11 races · Average Running Position of 16.0, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 82.3, 14th-best 2 - Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 109.7 2014 Rundown · Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s; eight poles · Average finish of 13.4 · Led 24 races for 1,817 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One win, three top fives, 12 top 10s · Average finish of 15.8 in 26 races · Average Running Position of 13.7, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 93.2, eighth-best · 956 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.163 mph, eighth-fastest · 6,348 Laps in the Top 15 (66.6%), sixth-most · 578 Quality Passes, sixth-most 3 - Ryan Newman (No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.1 2014 Rundown · Three top fives, 14 top 10s · Average finish of 13.3 · Led 7 races for 41 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One win, seven top fives, 11 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 15.5 in 25 races · Average Running Position of 15.1, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 86.9, 10th-best · 1,008 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most · 5,419 Laps in the Top 15 (56.8%), ninth-most · 528 Quality Passes, ninth-most 4 - Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.0 2014 Rundown · One win, six top fives, 14 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 15.1 · Led 14 races for 218 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Four wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 8.8 in 17 races · Average Running Position of 9.0, third-best · Driver Rating of 109.6, third-best · 580 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.467 mph, third-fastest · 7,007 Laps in the Top 15 (82.1%), fourth-most · 609 Quality Passes, fifth-most 5 - Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.6 2014 Rundown · 12 top fives, 19 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 13.6 · Led 18 races for 468 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Four top fives, 10 top 10s · Average finish of 15.0 in 29 races · Average Running Position of 16.0, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 84.2, 12th-best · 173 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most · 1,023 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.042 mph, 11th-fastest 6 - Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford Ecoboost Fusion Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.7 2014 Rundown · Two wins, seven top fives, 13 top 10s · Average finish of 14.5 · Led 11 races for 135 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, five top 10s · Average finish of 15.7 in 20 races · Average Running Position of 15.9, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 81.4, 15th-best · 1,036 Green Flag Passes, third-most · 5,181 Laps in the Top 15 (54.3%), 11th-most · 555 Quality Passes, eighth-most 7 - Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 108.4 2014 Rundown · Four wins, 12 top fives, 20 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 10.3 · Led 23 races for 743 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Eight wins, 27 top fives, 34 top 10s; seven poles · Average finish of 7.0 in 43 races · Average Running Position of 6.7, second-best · Driver Rating of 119.0, second-best · Series-high 1,034 Fastest Laps Run · 933 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.684 mph, second-fastest · 8,375 Laps in the Top 15 (87.8%), second-most · Series-high 691 Quality Passes 8 - Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 104.3 2014 Rundown · Six wins, 14 top fives, 17 top 10s; five poles · Average finish of 12.9 · Led 26 races for 1,518 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, five top 10s · Average finish of 13.4 in nine races · Average Running Position of 16.2, 14th-best · Driver Rating of 84.5, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.102 mph, 10th-fastest 9 - Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M's Halloween Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.0 2014 Rundown · One win, eight top fives, 14 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 17.0 · Led 15 races for 453 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Eight top fives, nine top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.9 in 19 races · Average Running Position of 13.3, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 96.1, sixth-best · 409 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most · 952 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.342 mph, fifth-fastest · 6,587 Laps in the Top 15 (69.1%), fifth-most · 616 Quality Passes, fourth-most 10 - Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.2 2014 Rundown · Three wins, 10 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 14.7 · Led 16 races for 1,119 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Eight wins, 18 top fives, 22 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 5.2 in 25 races · Series-best Average Running Position of 5.6 · Series-best Driver Rating of 124.8 · 1,010 Fastest Laps Run, second-most · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 91.737 mph · Series-high 8,833 Laps in the Top 15 (92.6%) · 680 Quality Passes, second-most 11 - Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 89.1 2014 Rundown · One win, three top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 16.3 · Led 12 races for 218 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Three top fives, four top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 20.2 in 21 races · Average Running Position of 20.4, 20th-best · Driver Rating of 77.7, 19th-best · 255 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most 12 - AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 Clorox Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 70.2 2014 Rundown · One win, two top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 20.2 · Led 5 races for 68 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, two top 10s · Average finish of 20.6 in 12 races · Average Running Position of 21.3, 23rd-best · Driver Rating of 70.8, 22nd-best 13 - Dale Earnhardt Jr . (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.6 2014 Rundown · Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s · Average finish of 12.8 · Led 15 races for 300 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · 11 top fives, 16 top 10s · Average finish of 12.8 in 29 races · Average Running Position of 10.8, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 99.9, fourth-best · 471 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most · Series-high 1,111 Green Flag Passes · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.374 mph, fourth-fastest · 7,393 Laps in the Top 15 (77.5%), third-most · 668 Quality Passes, third-most 14 - Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 78.6 2014 Rundown · Three top fives, 10 top 10s · Average finish of 16.1 · Led 7 races for 110 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Five top 10s · Average finish of 20.1 in 23 races · Average Running Position of 20.6, 21st-best · Driver Rating of 70.5, 23rd-best · 1,068 Green Flag Passes, second-most 15 - Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 86.5 2014 Rundown · One win, six top fives, nine top 10s · Average finish of 19.4 · Led 12 races for 183 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Two wins, three top fives, five top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 20.8 in 28 races · Average Running Position of 18.2, 18th-best · Driver Rating of 79.0, 18th-best · 987 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most 16 - Aric Almirola (No. 43 Smithfield Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 72.4 2014 Rundown · One win, two top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 21.6 · Led 5 races for 23 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, three top 10s · Average finish of 24.0 in 11 races · Average Running Position of 23.9, 30th-best · Driver Rating of 64.8, 27th-best The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Eliminator Eight at Martinsville Speedway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Joey Logano 11 0 0 2 3 0 14.8 82.3 2 Kevin Harvick 26 0 1 3 12 1 15.8 93.2 3 Ryan Newman 25 3 1 7 11 2 15.5 86.9 4 Denny Hamlin 17 3 4 9 13 1 8.8 109.6 5 Matt Kenseth 29 0 0 4 10 2 15.0 84.2 6 Carl Edwards 20 0 0 1 5 0 15.7 81.4 7 Jeff Gordon 43 7 8 27 34 0 7.0 119.0 8 Brad Keselowski 9 0 0 1 5 0 13.4 84.5 * – Based on last 19 races at Martinsville Speedway (2005 – 2014). Martinsville Speedway: History · Opened in September 1947 by H. Clay Earles , Martinsville, originally a dirt track, is one of the oldest continuously-operating race tracks in the United States. · The first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Martinsville was on July 4, 1948. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was Sept. 25, 1949. · The track was paved in 1955. · The first 500-lap event at Martinsville was in 1956. · Concrete corners were added atop asphalt in 1976. Notebook · There have been 131 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway , one in the inaugural year and two races per year since 1950. · 599 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville; 376 in more than one. · NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty has the all-time most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville with 67 starts; Jeff Gordon has the most among active drivers with 43. · Curtis Turner won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Martinsville Speedway in 1949. · 58 drivers have Coors Light poles at Martinsville, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip with eight; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with seven. · 12 drivers have won two or more consecutive Coors Light poles at Martinsville Speedway . Four of the 12 have won three consecutive poles at Martinsville: Glen Wood (Fall of 1959 and 1960 sweep); Darrell Waltrip (1979 sweep and spring 1980); Mark Martin (fall of 1990 and 1991 sweep); Jeff Gordon (2003 sweep and spring 2004). · Youngest Martinsville pole winner: Ricky Rudd (4/26/1981 – 24 years, 7 months, 14 days). · Oldest Martinsville pole winner: Morgan Shepherd (4/26/1987 – 45 years, 6 months, 14 days). · 47 different drivers have won at Martinsville Speedway , led by Richard Petty with 15; Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon lead the series among active drivers with eight wins each. · 24 drivers have multiple wins at Martinsville Speedway only five active drivers have multiple wins: Jimmie Johnson (eight), Jeff Gordon (eight), Denny Hamlin (four), Tony Stewart (three) and Kurt Busch (two). · Hendrick Motorsports leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in wins at Martinsville Speedway with 21. · 21 of 131 races (16.0%) at Martinsville Speedway have been won from the Coors Light pole; seven of those 21 wins came from active drivers: Tony Stewart (2000), Jeff Gordon (2003 twice), Jimmie Johnson (2008, 2012, spring 2013) and Denny Hamlin (2010). · The Coors Light pole is the most proficient starting spot in the field at Martinsville producing more wins (21) than any other starting position. · 36 of the 131 (27.4 %) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from the front row: 21 from the pole and 15 from second-place. · 95 of the 131 (72.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Six of the 131 (4.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 36th, by Kurt Busch in the fall of 2002. · Youngest Martinsville winner: Richard Petty (04/10/1960 – 22 years, 9 months, 8 days). · Oldest Martinsville winner: Harry Gant (09/22/1991 – 51 years, 8 months, 12 days). · NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the series in runner-up finishes at Martinsville Speedway with seven; Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson lead all active drivers with four each. · Richard Petty leads the series in top-five finishes at Martinsville Speedway with 30; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 27, followed by Jimmie Johnson with 18. · Richard Petty leads the series in top-10 finishes at Martinsville Speedway with 37; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 34, followed by Jimmie Johnson with 22. · Jeff Gordon leads active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Martinsville Speedway with a 7.186. Ryan Newman (9.680) and Denny Hamlin (9.765) are the only two other active drivers with an average starting position at Martinsville inside the top-10. · Three active drivers have a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series average finish in the top-10 at Martinsville: Jimmie Johnson (5.200), Jeff Gordon (6.953) and Denny Hamlin (8.765). · There have been five NSCS green-white-checkered finishes at Martinsville Speedway : fall 2007 (500/506), fall 2008 (500/504), fall 2009 (500/501), spring 2010 (500/508), and spring 2012 (500/515). · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions eight times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway ; the most recent was the fall race of 2011. · Jeff Gordon has participated in the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway without a DNF (43). · Tony Stewart (4/18/1999) and Scott Riggs (4/10/2005) won their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light poles at Martinsville Speedway . · Mike Bliss (09/27/1998), Travis Kvapil (10/24/2004), Michael McDowell (3/30/2008) and Scott Speed (10/19/2008) made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career starts at Martinsville Speedway . · 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted consecutive wins at Martinsville Speedway . Fred Lorenzen won four NSCS races straight (the most) from the fall of 1963 through the spring of 1965. · All eight active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Martinsville Speedway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Tony Stewart won at Martinsville with the fewest previous appearances (three). · Ryan Newman competed at Martinsville Speedway 20 times before winning in the spring of 2012; the longest span of any the eight active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners. · Four drivers have made eight or more attempts before their first win at Martinsville Speedway : Kevin Harvick (19) and Ryan Newman (20). · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway is the 4/1/2007 race won by Jimmie Johnson with a MOV of 0.065 second. · Danica Patrick is the only female driver to compete at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Danica Patrick 10 32 3/30/2014 Danica Patrick 41 17 10/27/2013 Danica Patrick 32 12 4/7/2013 · Seven car numbers have produced five or more Martinsville Speedway NSCS wins: Car Number – Drivers – (Years) o No. 43 – Richard Petty (1960, ’62, ’63, ’67 sweep, ’68, ’69 sweep, ’70, ’71, ’72 sweep, ’73, ’75 and ’79); John Andretti (1999) o No. 11 – Cale Yarborough (1974, ’76, ’77 sweep, ‘78); Darrell Waltrip (1981, ’82, ’83, ’84); Geoff Bodine (1990 sweep); Denny Hamlin (2008, ’09, ’10 sweep) o No . 28 – Fred Lorenzen (1961, ’63, ’64 sweep, ‘65 and ‘66); Buddy Baker (1979); Ernie Irvan (1993). o No . 2 – Dale Earnhardt (1980); Rusty Wallace (1993, ‘94 sweep, ’95, ’96 and ‘04) o No . 48 – Jimmie Johnson (2004, ’06, ’07 sweep, ’08, ’09, ’12, ‘13) o No . 24 – Jeff Gordon (1996, ’97, ’99, ’03 sweep and ’05 sweep, fall 2013) o No . 3 – Ricky Rudd (1983); Dale Earnhardt (1985, ’87, ’88, ’91, ’95) NASCAR in Virginia · There have been 285 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among nine tracks in Virginia. Track Name City NSCS Martinsville Speedway Martinsville 131 Richmond International Raceway Richmond 117 South Boston Speedway South Boston 10 Langley Field Speedway Hampton 9 Old Dominion Speedway Manassas 7 Southside Speedway Richmond 4 Starkey Speedway Roanoke 4 Norfolk Speedway Norfolk 2 Princess Anne Speedway Norfolk 1 · 172 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Virginia. · 19 drivers from Virginia have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series. 11 of the 19 Virginia native NASCAR winners have won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driver NSCS NNS NCWTS Joe Weatherly 25 0 0 Denny Hamlin 24 11 2 Ricky Rudd 23 1 0 Jeff Burton 21 27 0 Curtis Turner 17 0 0 Ward Burton 5 4 0 Glen Wood 4 0 0 Elliott Sadler 3 10 1 Emanuel Zervakis 2 0 0 Lennie Pond 1 0 0 Wendell Scott 1 0 0 Tommy Ellis 0 22 0 Jimmy Hensley 0 9 2 Rick Mast 0 9 0 Hermie Sadler 0 2 0 Elton Sawyer 0 2 0 Stacy Compton 0 0 2 Jon Wood 0 0 2 Jeb Burton 0 0 1 MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
See the full entry list for the 33rd race of the Sprint Cup Series season RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize Entry # Driver Owner Crew chief Manufacturer Sponsor 1 1 Jamie McMurray Felix Sabates Keith Rodden 14 Chevrolet McDonald's 2 2 Brad Keselowski Roger Penske Paul Wolfe 14 Ford Alliance Truck Parts 3 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Gil Martin 14 Chevrolet Dow 4 4 Kevin Harvick Tony Stewart Rodney Childers 14 Chevrolet Outback Steakhouse 5 5 Kasey Kahne Linda Hendrick Kenny Francis 14 Chevrolet Great Clips 6 7 Michael Annett Tommy Baldwin Kevin Manion 14 Chevrolet Allstate Peterbuilt Group 7 9 Marcos Ambrose Richard Petty Drew Blickensderfer 14 Ford STANLEY 8 10 Danica Patrick Tony Stewart Tony Gibson 14 Chevrolet GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness 9 11 Denny Hamlin J D Gibbs Darian Grubb 14 Toyota FedEx Freight 10 13 Casey Mears Bob Germain Bootie Barker III 14 Chevrolet No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS 11 14 Tony Stewart Margaret Haas Chad Johnston 14 Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 12 15 Clint Bowyer Rob Kauffman Brian Pattie 14 Toyota AAA Insurance 13 16 Greg Biffle Jack Roush Matt Puccia 14 Ford 3M 14 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr John Henry Michael Kelley 14 Ford Roush Fenway Racing 'Pit for a Pair' Fusion 15 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Dave Rogers 14 Toyota M&M's Halloween 16 20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Jason Ratcliff 14 Toyota Dollar General 17 22 Joey Logano Walter Czarnecki Todd Gordon 14 Ford Shell Pennzoil 18 23 Alex Bowman Ron Devine Dave Winston 14 Toyota Dustless Blasting Toyota Camry 19 24 Jeff Gordon Rick Hendrick Alan Gustafson 14 Chevrolet Drive To End Hunger 20 26 Cole Whitt Anthony Marlowe Randy Cox 14 Toyota Bad Boy Mowers Toyota Camry 21 27 Paul Menard Richard Childress Justin Alexander 14 Chevrolet Richmond / Menards 22 31 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Luke Lambert 14 Chevrolet Quicken Loans 23 32 Kyle Fowler(i) Frank Stoddard Jr Clinton Cram 14 Ford corvetteparts.net 24 33 Travis Kvapil Joe Falk Mike Hillman Jr 14 Chevrolet Little Joe's Autos Chevrolet 25 34 David Ragan Bob Jenkins Derrick Finley 14 Ford WENDELL SCOTT HOF TRIBUTE 26 36 Reed Sorenson Allan Heinke Todd Parrott 14 Chevrolet Zing Zang Chevrolet 27 38 David Gilliland Brad Jenkins Jay Guy 14 Ford A&W ALL AMERICAN FOOD 28 40 Landon Cassill(i) Michael Hillman Mark Hillman 14 Chevrolet Newtown Building Supplies 29 41 Kurt Busch Gene Haas Daniel Knost 14 Chevrolet Haas Automation 30 42 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Chris Heroy 14 Chevrolet Target 31 43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Trent Owens 14 Ford Smithfield 32 144 Timmy Hill John Cohen Peter Sospenzo 14 Chevrolet Phoenix Warehouse 33 47 A J Allmendinger Tad Geschickter Brian Burns 14 Chevrolet Clorox 34 48 Jimmie Johnson Jeff Gordon Chad Knaus 14 Chevrolet Lowe's 35 51 Justin Allgaier Harry Scott Jr Steve Addington 14 Chevrolet Auto-Owners Insurance 36 55 Brian Vickers Michael Waltrip Billy Scott 14 Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 37 66 Mike Wallace(i) Jay Robinson Scott Eggleston 14 Toyota Royal Teak Collection.com 38 78 Martin Truex Jr Barney Visser Todd Berrier 14 Chevrolet Furniture Row 39 83 TBA Ron Devine Joe Williams 14 Toyota Burger King Toyota Camry 40 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Rick Hendrick Steve Letarte 14 Chevrolet National Guard 41 93 TBA Wayne Press Doug Richert 14 Toyota TBA 42 98 Josh Wise Mike Curb Gene Nead 14 Chevrolet Phil Parsons Racing 43 99 Carl Edwards Jack Roush James Fennig 14 Ford Ford Ecoboost Fusion MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Timeline, full coverage of the Tony Stewart incident Sept. 24: No charges against Stewart A grand jury deliberated for less than an hour and determined there would be no indictment for Tony Stewart . " Read the full story Sept. 24: Stewart releases statement In a statement released after the grand jury findings, Tony Stewart reiterated his thoughts are with the family of Kevin Ward Jr. " Read the full story Sept. 24: NASCAR statement on Stewart decision Brett Jewkes, NASCAR Chief Communications Officer, on Ontario (N.Y.) County District Attorney announcement. " Read the full story Sept. 16: Ontario County D.A. to send evidence to grand jury The Ontario County (New York) District Attorney will send evidence from the Kevin Ward Jr.- Tony Stewart investigation to a grand jury. The evidence will be presented in "the near future." " Read the full story Sept. 11: Investigation into Ward's death complete The Ontario County (New York) Office of the Sheriff announced that the investigation into the death of Kevin Ward Jr. has been complete. " Read the full story Aug. 31: Stewart exits after blown tire Tony Stewart's return to the track came to an early end after a blown tire finished his night at Atlanta Motor Speedway . " Read the full story Aug. 30: Sponsor issues statement of support for Stewart Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, released a statement of support for Tony Stewart on Saturday. Bass Pro Shops serves as a primary sponsor for Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet. " Read the full story Aug. 29: Stewart addresses media at Atlanta Tony Stewart addressed the media for the first time since the tragic sprint car incident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park . " Read the full story Aug. 29: Helton: Stewart eligible for Chase NASCAR President Mike Helton said that if Tony Stewart wins one of the final two regular-season races, then he would be eligible to make the 16-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff. " Read the full story Aug. 29: Harvick, Danica react to Stewart's return Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick , two of Tony Stewart 's teammates at Stewart -Haas Racing, are glad to have him back at the track and will be there for their friend and team co-owner. " Read the full story Aug. 29: Investigation still ongoing Ontario County (New York) Sheriff Philip Povero released a statement Friday, saying the investigation into the death of Kevin Ward Jr. is at least two weeks away from concluding. " Read the full statement Aug. 28: Stewart will return at Atlanta After missing three races following the tragic sprint car accident involving Kevin Ward Jr., Tony Stewart announced he will return to the track this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway . " Read the full story Aug. 25: Zipadelli, SHR go on without Stewart Stewart -Haas Racing Vice President of Competition Greg Zipadelli doesn't know when Tony Stewart will return, but he is grateful for the impact Jeff Burton has had on the No. 14 team. " Read the full story Aug. 20: Stewart out for Bristol Tony Stewart will not race at Bristol and will once again be replaced by Jeff Burton in the No. 14 Chevrolet. " Read the full story Aug. 15: Team: Decision on when to return is Stewart's Stewart -Haas Racing Executive Vice President Brett Frood told reporters that when Stewart returns to the No. 14 is up to the driver, who is currently grieving along with support of family and friends. " Read the full story Aug. 19: Joe Gibbs speaks on Stewart Joe Gibbs won two titles and 33 races with Tony Stewart from 1999-2008. The team owner was asked about 'Smoke' on Tuesday, and Gibbs explained why the driver is so important to the sport. " Read the full story Aug. 17: Harvick: '( Stewart ) will stay strong and fight' Following his second-place effort at Michigan, Kevin Harvick talked about the difficult week that Stewart -Haas Racing has had. " Read the full story Aug. 15: Burton to fill in for Stewart at Michigan Sprint Cup veteran Jeff Burton has been called up by SHR to drive the No. 14 at Michigan as Stewart continues to grieve the loss of Ward. " Read the full story Aug. 14: Stewart out for Michigan Tony Stewart will not race at Michigan in the Pure Michigan 400 . Instead, 21-time Cup winner Jeff Burton will fill-in in the No. 14 Chevrolet. " Read the full story Aug. 12: Racing or not, Stewart will not forget Ward Kenny Bruce column: Fatal incident at dirt track will stay with three-time champion. " Read the full story Aug. 11: Stewart cancels plans to race on dirt Tony Stewart will not race at Plymouth Speedway on Saturday night, August 16, the Indiana dirt track announced in a statement. " Read the full story Aug. 10: SHR: Stewart will not race at Watkins Glen Tony Stewart will not race in the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen after an incident Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. " Read the full story Aug. 10: NASCAR statement on Kevin Ward Jr., Tony Stewart Sanctioning body offers thoughts and prayers to family of deceased. " Read the full story Aug. 10: Sheriff news conference details Stewart incident Ontario County (New York) Sheriff Philip C. Povero comments on events at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. " Read the full story Aug. 10: Smith to drive for Stewart at Watkins Glen Regan Smith will pilot the No. 14 as Tony Stewart will not race Sunday at Watkins Glen after an incident Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. " Watch the video Aug. 10: Statement from Stewart on fatal accident Three-time Sprint Cup champ: 'There aren't words to describe the sadness I feel...' " Read the statement Aug. 10: Further Stewart investigation details revealed Sheriff Philip Povero offered more info regarding the investigation. " Read the full story Aug. 10: Smith shares struggles of filling in for Stewart Stewart's fill-in Regan Smith speaks out on his day at the Glen and the challenges of racing the No. 14. " Read the full story Aug. 10: Allmendinger offers tribute to fallen racer Drivers react to Stewart incident, Allmendinger sends thoughts and prayers to family, Stewart . " Read the full story Aug. 9: Stewart involved in fatal sprint car accident The three-time Sprint Cup Series champion was racing at Canandaigua Motorsports Park when an incident he was involved in left another driver with fatal injuries. " Read the full story
Read complete text of Stewart's first Q-and-A with reporters since incident RELATED: Stewart answers questions for first time " Stewart timeline THE MODERATOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Mike Arning, Director of Communications for Stewart -Haas Racing and want to say thank you for your time this morning. We'll introduce Tony Stewart and start off with any questions you may have. Q. Tony , since the accident, when you think of Kevin Ward, Jr., what comes to mind? TONY STEWART : Honestly, before the accident I didn't know Kevin. I don't even know how many times I had raced with him. I race with that group a couple times a year. They've always been a great group to race with, but I didn't know him. Obviously, after the accident I've read a lot about him, and from what I've read, I think he had a really promising career as a sprint car driver. It sounded like he was doing a good job and learning a lot at a young age, so I think he had a lot to look forward to. Q. Do you want to and need to talk to the Ward family to have any sort of closure? If so, can you talk to him or will it be years before all the legal stuff is done before you can talk to them? TONY STEWART : You know, I think at this point it's -- I want to be available to them if they want to talk about it. At this point, I don't need to talk to them for closure. I know what happened, and I know it was an accident, but I'm offering to talk to them to help them, if it helps them with closure. So I said it when we were in Atlanta, and I still believe that I want to be available to them if and when they ever want to talk. Q. On the topic of closure, at some point the focus will turn back to your career as a race car driver. Have you thought about when or how that can happen? TONY STEWART : Well, I mean, we've been racing since Atlanta, obviously, but it's not been business as usual by any means, and this is going to be a healing process for me. It makes you think about a lot of things other than driving race cars, but the one thing that's probably helped me more than anything is being back at the race track and being around my racing family and remembering that I have a passion for what I do. So that's probably helped me more than anything when it's come to trying to make that next step to move forward. Q. If you could do anything differently over the past couple months, what would it be? TONY STEWART : I'd have stayed at Watkins Glen that night. You know, I do this stuff and I go run those cars to have a good time and that's all I wanted to do that night. I wanted to go have fun. I had just spent the week at Knoxville, and it gives you the edge and desire to want to go race. It wasn't a big paying race for sprint car standards. I just wanted to go run my sprint car for a night. I do it to have fun, and it didn't end up being fun that night. Q. How have you been spending the time since the accident happened, and will your routine change now that you've been exonerated? TONY STEWART : Since we went back to Atlanta, basically, I go from the motorhome to the car, and the car to the trailer, and the trailer back to the car, and that's literally all I've done since I came back. Even after Wednesday here in Charlotte , I haven't left my house. It's just an awkward feeling. I think now I'll start doing some more things. I mean, I've got a lot of friends who have been supportive through this entire thing, and there are a lot of people that have shown how much they cared and it would be nice to go and visit and talk to those people again. Q. Have you reconsidered or considered stopping driving sprint cars as a result of this and your injury the year before? TONY STEWART : At this point I don't really have -- I'm not going to say I'm never going to get in one. But when I got hurt, it was as soon as I got healed and as soon as things got settled in with the Cup car I was set that I was wanting to get in one, but right now I wouldn't even be able to give you a small idea of if and when I'll ever get back in a car. So at this point I won't be in one for a while. Q. The life of a driver and an owner is extremely busy. Press conferences, commercials, appearances, fan things, you haven't done -- have you done much of that? When will you think you'd get back to that life? TONY STEWART : I haven't done any since the accident. I think after talking with you guys today we'll start getting back into doing meet and greets and appearances again. I think it's important for me to do that and to take -- I think that's another step of making forward progress is getting back to trying to resume what was the best of a normal life before this. I think it's important for me to do that and get back to doing it as soon as possible. Q. What has been the biggest change within you and the biggest impact upon you as a result of this past month and a half? TONY STEWART : I honestly think that when you're -- and I'm not going to speak for professional athletes in different forms of sports, but as a race car driver, driving a race car is all that consumed my life. It's all I thought about, it's all I cared about, and everything else was second on down the list of priorities for me. I think this has given me the opportunity to sit here and think about other aspects of my life and what they're going to mean to me in the future. Not that I don't love what I do, because I do love it, but it's not -- just like you guys, it's not what we do all the time. There are more things to our life than what we have as a profession. So it's made me think about some of those other aspects of my life that kind of have been put on hold for years. Q. How would you characterize the weeks at home, Tony , following the accident? You basically were in seclusion. What was that like for you to go through that and what did you do? TONY STEWART : I didn't really do much of anything to be perfectly honest. I think the first three days that I was home I really didn't do anything. I didn't get out of bed. I didn't care if I took a shower. I left my room to go get food, and that you almost had to make yourself eat. It's the first three or four days I didn't want to talk to anybody. Didn't want to see anybody, I just wanted to be by myself. You finally get up and you finally start moving around a little bit and every day got a little bit easier, but it was a big, drastic change from what I was used to, for sure, not having the desire to do anything. All you thought about is what happened and asking yourself why. Why did this happen? So you just sat there for entire days on end asking questions and trying to come to terms with what happened and why it happened. Q. I was at Loudon a couple weeks ago and Jimmie Johnson talked about how people are starting to take sides, and I'm wondering during this process if things coming out on Twitter or people making comments in the media, did you keep yourself insulated from that or did you follow any of that? How did that impact the time that you were at the track? TONY STEWART : I tried to do my best to insulate myself from that. But I finally started reading what was out there and what people were saying, and you didn't control that. Last Wednesday the facts came out and people still through the weekend, some people that had the same opinion before the facts came out still have the same opinion, no matter what side they think about. To me it's worthless to pick sides. A young man lost his life, and I don't care what side you're on, it doesn't change that. His family's in mourning. I'm in mourning. My family is in mourning. Picking sides isn't solving or fixing anything. It's a waste of time to pick sides. Instead of honoring a young man that had a promising racing career, people are picking sides and throwing -- it's like watching people throw darts at each other. It's disappointing at this point, honestly, because instead of supporting each other and the racing community is such a strong family, that it's dividing people that on a daily basis would help each other. There is no point in it. It doesn't solve anything. It doesn't fix anything. At the end of the day, it's not going to make anybody feel any better about it. It's just people that -- everybody's entitled to their opinion, and we know that. But everybody, and I've seen this for the last seven weeks now, everybody has made their decision and picked their side off of 100 percent of the information that they got, which is about 10 percent of all the information that's truly out there. And we all do it. Our society does it. We do it every day. Whatever we see on the news we make our decision as people about what we see. But it's not -- I don't think any of us any day whatever topic we're trying to come to a conclusion about, ever get all the facts. So you understand why people think the way they do, but I think more than not, I don't think people realize that there is more information out there than what we all get on a daily basis about whatever it is. Q. (No Microphone)? TONY STEWART : I guess it was more disappointing to me than anything. Even from people that were supportive of us. I mean, listened and reading comments about the sheriff's department and the district attorney, they did a good job of taking the time that they needed to do to get all the facts and to come to a very thought out conclusion of this. You want to sit there and tell people, hey, let them do their job. But it just shows how passionate people are. I mean, if they are on our side or on Kevin's family's side, they were passionate about that. That's something I don't want to see go away. I don't want to see people lose their passion, but I think people need to understand that there are a lot more facts that they didn't understand and haven't seen. Q. Tony , obviously the season is moving on. Yesterday Kevin Harvick , great run, Kurt Busch , not as great. How much have you let yourself be engaged in that side of the process right now as far as being the Stewart of Stewart -Haas Racing? TONY STEWART : I've let my team down from that standpoint. I haven't been able to -- I've been a little bit of a cheerleader, but that's about all I've been able to contribute here the last seven weeks. It's just, like I mentioned earlier, it's been hard for me to function day-to-day. There hasn't been anything normal about my life the last seven weeks, so it's been very hard to try to do anything to be productive to help those guys. You try to be a cheerleader, you try to keep them pumped up about what they're do being, but other than that, I haven't been able to contribute too much. Q. Just wondering, you talk about being in seclusion and all that that's meant. What does today represent for you having us all here? You called us all here together. What does today represent for you in terms of going forward? TONY STEWART : We knew everybody had questions and we knew that everybody was going to want answered to what's going on. But I think more than anything we wanted to be able to tell everything from the beginning. But it's, like I learned Wednesday, everybody's got their opinions about what happened. Obviously, the facts didn't matter to a lot of those people. They still had their opinions one way or the other. We haven't let anybody know what's been going on the last six weeks. We just kind of went through the motions as far as we're concerned, and we knew a lot of you would have questions about what's been going on the last six or seven weeks and how have we handled it. Q. What was it like to learn from the district attorney that in the toxicology report, Kevin Ward was under the influence? TONY STEWART : Honestly, for me, it didn't change anything. To me a young driver lost his life. Didn't matter why or what was going on. The end result was the same. No matter what was said, it was still a tragic accident. I just know in my heart that it was a hundred percent an accident; that detail didn't mean anything to me personally. Q. You mentioned earlier the awkward feeling that's come over you the past several weeks. Can you explain that a little more? Also, talk about will that ever go away given that Kevin Ward has passed away and that will not change? TONY STEWART : It's just been awkward because I know what a typical day was like for me and the things that were on my agenda for each day and what I thought about you kind of get in that pattern. This was something that obviously changed that pattern drastically. Everything you thought about, everything you worked on, you stop thinking about. You stopped working on, and this is all you thought about. Ask me the second part again. Q. Do you think that will eventually go away? TONY STEWART : I think it will. The reason I say that is I've had other people that I've known for years that have come to me and told me personal stories of tragedies that have happened in their life that a lot of us don't know about. Their experiences and their advice really has hit home for me. I do believe as time goes on it will be different every day. It may. I don't know if it will ever get back to normal, but it will get better. Q. Since getting back in a car, rate your performance as a driver? TONY STEWART : I could rate a before and after almost the same. My year hasn't been a stellar year by any means. When we came back, we had a decent day started in Atlanta, and had an incident that derailed it. But I think yesterday was probably the best overall race from start to finish that we've run. Probably one of the best ones this year that we've actually run. I struggled on restarts. I couldn't get going very good the first three or four laps, but it seemed like after 10 laps or 15 laps we were settling into a pace that was a top-5 race car. So we didn't have any major dramas on either side during the whole race. We actually put a whole race together. I know the 14th- or 15th-place finish isn't anything to brag about, but considering where our season has been, we finally put together a whole day that was consistent, and that meant a lot to us. Q. Tony , it's kind of a follow-up, Doug asked you about your NASCAR involvement with Stewart -Haas Racing. Your short track industry, your empire with Eldora and your USAC teams, and the World of Outlaw teams, what's that been like for you over the last seven weeks? TONY STEWART : I've watched and paid attention to what was going on, but I haven't been engaged in it. I've watched our races that we had online at Eldora. I've watched the sprint car races online and listened to them online, but haven't been engaged with the teams, haven't been engaged with the drivers. Just kind of been an non-deal. Q. I don't know quite how to phrase this, but racing inherently is a dangerous sport. You've seen guys get killed in accidents over the years. If this would have been a situation where you guys were racing and he crashed, and he perished in the crash, would it be something you would feel different about? Or does the nature of him coming out on the track, did that change at all for you? Does that make sense? TONY STEWART : Yeah, it does. For me, I don't think it would change anything. I've worked really hard, especially when I got hurt last year, while I was healing, I spent all that time trying to defend sprint car racing and help -- try to help other drivers through the off-season. I do it because I'm passionate about it and I love it. We all know what can happen every time we get in a race car, whether it's an IndyCar, stock car, sprint car. Anybody that races anything knows what that is and what that danger is and what can happen. I've had close friends die in race cars. I've had teammates die in race cars, and there is nothing easy about it. Like I said, the racing community is a very close-knit family. Anytime you lose somebody in that family, there are drivers and team owners and crew members from other sports that may not have ever met that driver but feel for that family and that driver in their tragedy. So no matter what the circumstances, the end result is something that nobody ever wants to see. Like I said, I've spent a lot of time trying to defend it and try to help promote the sport, and none of us want that to happen to anybody under any circumstances. Q. This is a secondary thing, but it will be important if it hasn't been already, how are you dealing with sponsors? How are you talking to sponsors about moving forward and what kind of concerns do you have about them being loyal to the team after this? TONY STEWART : It's a legitimate question, for sure. Our organization has stayed in close contact with the sponsors through this whole ordeal, and I've been able to talk to a couple of them as well. Johnny Morris was one of the people that came to my house to see me while I was in Indiana. We spoke to people from Mobil 1, and they came to see us the last couple weeks at the race track. The support from them has been amazing. It's obviously a tough circumstance for anybody to be a part of it, for a corporation to be part of it as well, but they've been very supportive through this whole process. I can't speak to what the future will be for them. They've been supportive to this point and that's something I've been very grateful for. Q. First of all, welcome back. Glad to see you. Following up a little on what Steven said. You own sprint car teams and own tracks and specifically Eldora. It was almost a therapy for you to get to go up and ride around on a four-wheeler and get the shoes dirty and the hands dirty. Has this incident taken away from the cleansing properties of that therapy? Do you think you'll ever be able to ride Eldora in the four-wheeler and feel the same again? TONY STEWART : I'm sure I will. It's just not right now. That's an important aspect of my life and something that's very important to me. Right now at this moment today there are other things that are important to me right now, and they still are. But I'm not ready to go do that yet. Going around in a Cup car right now is important to me, and the great thing Eldora and the dirt track teams and our drivers that do great things there, and that's given me -- afforded me the time to think about what I need to do right now. Q. You talked briefly about your race yesterday. It's been the best race you've had in your five back. Is there any correlation personally in how you performed yesterday to being able to move forward in the decision Wednesday? TONY STEWART : I really don't know if it does or not, to be honest. Honestly, at the race track on Friday and Saturday we struggled. Our qualifying effort was the best that I qualified at Dover in a long time, but we really struggled in practice leading up to that, and Saturday all day we struggled. I thought Chad and the engineers did a good job Saturday night of taking all the information they learned on both days, and I could tell right off the bat on Sunday that the car was quite a bit different than the rest of the weekend. I don't think it had anything to do with that, honestly. I think getting back in the car every time I've gotten in there, it's given me a chance to focus again, and that's something that I've needed as a diversion. But I think from the time that I went back to Atlanta, the first session there the car felt really good, and we had a good weekend in Atlanta until it got derailed. But I think at this point in my career as a driver, when you make that decision to put the helmet on you have to know in your heart that you're ready to go, you're ready to do it, and I felt comfortable in the car from Day 1. Q. You're a championship level driver on the track, and sort of a larger-than-life figure off of it, which is responsible for all of this. Can you get back to that person that you were, that gregarious, likeable sort of guy, or is it going to be a while that you're that personality that fans have been drawn to all these years? TONY STEWART : I think the support we've had from our fans, I don't know if they even care if we get back to that. They're just happy that we're back right now, and that's been very comforting for us and for me. I've really appreciated their support and how they've helped welcome me back to the track. It's hard to say to be honest. I appreciate the fact that you said I was a nice guy. This is a process that's day-to-day. You take it one day at a time. Before the accident happened, a day would fly by, and now a day seems like two or three days. The clock seems like the batteries are running low on the clock. I honestly think every day things will get better, and things will get easier, and I think it will for Kevin's family as well. Time heals. Like I said, I don't know that it will ever be normal again, but we'll find a place to settle into and we'll do the best we can like we have to this point. Whether I ever get back to that or not, hopefully through this I will somehow be a better person. That's all I can hope for. Q. Until last Wednesday, there was the very real possi
Earnhardt Jr., Johnson and Harvick share thoughts on grand jury decision RELATED: Full timeline of Stewart coverage " Stewart on accident " Future in sprint cars DOVER, Del. -- Two days after grand jury proceedings came to a close in Ontario County, New York, Tony Stewart was back at work Friday, strapped into his No. 14 Chevrolet and making preliminary laps at Dover International Speedway . His return to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition came four weeks ago at Atlanta, but Friday marked his first day at the track without the potential for criminal charges in the accident that killed sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. on Aug. 9. While that part of the matter is resolved, Stewart made clear in an interview with The Associated Press that he remains haunted by the events of that dark Saturday night at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park. As Stewart tries to find a new, but forever altered sense of normalcy at the track, the NASCAR community -- which counts the three-time champion known as "Smoke" among its most popular members -- has reached out with thoughts for both Stewart and the Ward family, both before and after Wednesday's announcement of the grand jury's decision. "I don't know if relief is what I had," said Dale Earnhardt Jr ., NASCAR's reigning most popular driver. "I didn't really pay super close attention to what was going on. More or less just letting the process play out, and I feel sadness in my heart for the Ward family. But at the same time 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. "There is sort of a sickness or something in the pit of your stomach 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." The revelation that Ward -- a 20-year-old driver who won four races on the regional Empire Super Sprints circuit -- was under the influence of marijuana to a degree that would impair judgment, according to authorities, was termed "shocking" by six-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson . The report also raised the question about restrictions and policing illegal substances at the nation's short tracks, many of which operate without the benefit of a regional or national sanctioning body to oversee such a process. "I guess I don't understand enough about it all and what the repercussions for short tracks would be. Still, first and foremost, I just don't want to ignore the fact that it was a massive tragedy that took place," Johnson said. "The toxicology report is 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. But at the same time, coming back to the Ward family, even in the remarks I read from Tony , I'm sure he feels OK 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. "And I just echo those same things. It's such a tragedy to have these details come out and people potentially forming sides, there's just no good in that. It's just been a terrible accident and we need to pay respect to Kevin Ward Jr., and I don't know how you go on, but just move forward." While Stewart qualified 15th for Sunday's AAA 400 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN), teammate Kevin Harvick carried the torch for the Stewart -Haas Racing team Friday with his seventh Coors Light Pole Award of the year. Harvick said that he couldn't speak for the entire organization's state of mind, but said that he was personally relieved after Wednesday's announcement. "You worry about your friend and the circumstances that are surrounding him and how things could be dictated for the rest of his life," Harvick said. "Just being around and knowing how much it's weighed on him and all the things that he has going on, for me personally, I'm happy for my friend. As far as the team, we've all got jobs to do and have had to press through them, but I'm overjoyed in obviously a devastating situation, but I'm just happy that it's to a point where everybody knows what's happening in the future and start the process of trying to deal with it and move on into some sort of normalcy." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No indictment for NASCAR driver in sprint car tragedy RELATED: Full coverage of Stewart incident Deciding that there was insufficient evidence to warrant criminal charges, an Ontario County (New York) grand jury will not bring any charges against NASCAR champion Tony Stewart for his involvement in a sprint car accident during an Aug. 9 race at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park that fatally injured fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo held a news conference Wednesday afternoon to deliver the findings, ultimately saying that "there was no evidence to charge Tony Stewart with a crime." He said the grand jury examined the evidence and heard from two dozen witnesses for "the better part of two days" before reaching its conclusion. The two charges it considered were second degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. In the state of New York it takes 12 of 23 votes from the grand jury to return charges. They delivered their verdict in less than an hour. Tantillo said of the two dozen-plus witnesses that testified, they included two accident reconstructionists, eye-witnesses, track workers and medical responders along with photographs and two video recordings. He said Stewart was able to testify, but by law he could not reveal who else did or did not. Of the videos, Tantillo revealed "They were relatively similar in what they showed. They were enhanced and run through programs that allowed the frames to be isolated. … They were pretty important parts of the result here." The one video previously made public shows Ward's and Stewart's cars collide while racing on the tight 0.375-mile dirt track in Upstate New York, then Ward quickly getting out of his hobbled car and coming down toward the racing line to confront Stewart during the caution laps that ensued. Stewart's car struck Ward, who was pronounced dead upon his arrival at a local hospital. Tantillo said there was a toxicologist report conducted on Ward and it found that Ward was under the influence of marijuana "enough to impair judgment." Stewart issued a statement following Tantillo's news conference. "This has been the toughest and most emotional experience of my life and it will stay with me forever. I'm very grateful for all the support I've received and continue to receive,'' Stewart said. "I respect everything the District Attorney and Sheriff's Office did to thoroughly investigate this tragic accident. While the process was long and emotionally difficult, it allowed for all the facts of the accident to be identified and known. "While much of the attention has been on me, it's important to remember a young man lost his life. Kevin Ward Jr.'s family and friends will always be in my thoughts and prayers.'' Stewart , 43, has cooperated with the investigation from the beginning and sat out three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races out of respect for the Ward family. In his only public remarks about the accident, a somber Stewart said on Aug. 29 that "this has been one of the toughest tragedies I've ever had to deal with both professionally and personally. This is something that will definitely affect my life forever. This is a sadness and a pain that I hope no one ever has to experience in their life." He returned to competition at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Aug. 31 and has finished a best of 15th-place in the four races he's competed in since the accident. He is on the entry list for this weekend's race at Dover International Speedway . "There are no winners in tragedy," NASCAR Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes said in a statement released by the sanctioning body. "Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Kevin Ward Jr. family and Tony Stewart as they all cope with this tragic incident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. This has been a difficult time for everyone involved and we have respected the local authorities responsible for reviewing this case." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule