KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Tony Stewart, upbeat and noticeably thinner, won his first race since breaking his leg in a sprint car accident when he beat an employee around the office at Stewart-Haas Racing in his wheelchair.
His injury? The three-time NASCAR champion called it “a small bump in the road” and expects to be back in a race car in time for next year’s Daytona 500. How much extracurricular racing comes with his NASCAR schedule remains to be seen.
On pace to run more than 100 races this year, Stewart admitted Tuesday that fatigue had set in around the NASCAR race at Indianapolis in late July. That was two weeks before the sprint car crash at Iowa, where he broke the fibula and tibia in his right leg.
At his first public appearance since the accident, Stewart said he was planning to cut his schedule even before the injury, which has required two surgeries.
“I am going to get back in a (sprint) car eventually. There’s no time frame on when I’m going to get back in one, but I’m definitely going to cut back the amount of races, just on scheduling purposes more than anything,” he said.
Using a wheelchair to navigate his way around the race shop Tuesday, Stewart said he planned to return to the track this weekend at Richmond and hinted he’ll use a motorized scooter because he’s not yet ready to use the crutches he received last week.
“It’s just life, guys. Things happen every day that you can’t guard against all the time,” Stewart said. “You have got to live life. You can’t spend your whole life trying to guard against something happening. If you do that, in my opinion, you’ve wasted your time.”