Stewart's Return Uncertain
Tony Stewart isn’t sure when he’ll return to the Sprint Cup Series this season.
On Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he provided the media with an update of his recovery from the back injury he suffered in an ATV accident in late January.
"I wish I knew," he said when asked about a possible return to competition. "I go back to Charlotte for X-rays next Wednesday. That's the first time since the surgery (Feb. 3) that we'll have a progress report. For a month, now, I haven't done anything but chill out. The doctors want me lying in bed and walking. They don't want me sitting and standing.
"I'm breaking the rules. They didn'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 we could, short of bubble-wrapping me to ride out here on the plane. I was as comfortable as can be."
While he has every intention of getting healthy enough to make a return this year, Stewart has no plans to extend his NASCAR career past this season. When he does return, he has every desire to do so with 100 percent effort.
"These are the cards we were dealt," he said. "It was a weird accident that nobody ever thought would happen. I can't even make up the story about how I got hurt, can't even make it sound cool. I got hurt driving five miles an hour.
"I wish I could say I was jumping a 50-foot gap and running 60 miles an hour when it flipped over, caught on fire and I broke my back. That's not what happened. I went over the lip of a dune, went down 20 or 25 feet and landed like a lawn dart. It broke my back. We'll play the rest of the year out. As soon as they tell me I can (get) back in the car, I'm going to be wide-open, 100%."
Stewart hopes NASCAR will grant him a Chase waiver and allow him to be eligible for the championship when he does return, citing the 11 races Kyle Busch missed last year due to injury.
"Whatever they decide, they decide," Stewart said. "I'd like to think it's going to be similar to what they did last year with Kyle."
While Stewart ruled out any return to Sprint Cup racing next season after his retirement, he continues to indicate that his driving career is far from over. Just don’t look for him in the 2017 Daytona 500.
"Not even 1% considering it," Stewart said. "There are races I want to run. I'm trying to figure out how I could run the Truck Series race at Eldora. It sounds easy to sign up and do it. I've got a lot of responsibilities, but I'd love to run that race.
"I'd like to run some Modified races at Loudon (N.H.) when we're up there. There are one-off races like that, but there are not going to be one-off races in the Cup Series."
For now, all Stewart can do is wait and hope that his body responds to allow him back in a car as soon as possible.
"Once they say we're all right to get in it, we'll get in it," he said. "We're not going to push that issue, not going to try to do something before we're ready."
Tony Stewart's Return Uncertain - NASCAR Sprint Cup News - MRN.com