It’s no doubt that Tony Stewart has had a rough couple of years in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and the last 3 years show that. In 2013 Stewart injured his leg in a sprint car crash at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa missing 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
In 2014 Stewart was racing in an Empire Super Sprints race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park when he made contact with 20 year old Kevin Ward Jr. Resulting in Ward Jr hitting the turn 1 wall. Kevin Ward Jr got out of his car to confront Stewart, Walked down the racetrack, got hit by Stewart’s car, and got killed. Stewart missed 3 sprint cup races because of the incident but returned at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Oral B USA 500 finishing 41st. On September 30th 2015 Stewart announced that 2016 will be his final full time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
It was also announced that Clint Bowyer would be taking over Stewart’s ride in 2017. On January 31st 2016 Stewart injured his back by flipping a sand buggy near San Diego, California. A statement from Stewart Haas Racing spokesman Mike Arning: “Stewart was transported to a local hospital following the accident and is currently being evaluated. Stewart is awake and alert, and is able to move all extremities. An update will be provided Thursday afternoon when more information is known.”
A statement from NASCAR’s Chairman and CEO Brian France: “We have received word from Stewart Haas Racing of Tony Stewart’s accident and injury. On behalf of everyone at NASCAR, I wish Tony a full recovery and look forward to seeing him back in our sport when he is ready to return.”
In an interview with FOX NASCAR’s Danielle Trotta in October of 2015 Stewart said the off track stuff that he’s been having to go through for the past 3 years didn’t play any role in him announcing that 2016 will be his final full time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season. “I think I was thinking about retiring a couple years ago as well and starting to go that way as well but people break bones all the time and there back to doing what they love to do. I’m the same way. My leg’s healing. It’s fine.
It doesn’t bother me in the car. That’s a non variable in the equation. The accident is exactly that. It’s alway’s gonna affect my life in some way but it doesn’t affect me when I’m in the race car. When I’m in the race car I’m thinking about racing and winning races but to say that it’s not going to effect the rest of my life that wouldn’t be accurate. But that’s not what made me make this decision. All of this started before I ever got hurt.”