Tony Stewart opens up for first time since Ward tragedy

KANNAPOLIS, NC - SEPTEMBER 29:  Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, speaks during a press conference at Stewart-Haas Racing on September 29, 2014 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Stewart held the press conference to discuss the grand jury clearing him of any charges in the death of Sprint Car driver  Kevin Ward Jr.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

KANNAPOLIS, NC – SEPTEMBER 29: Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, speaks during a press conference at Stewart-Haas Racing on September 29, 2014 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Stewart held the press conference to discuss the grand jury clearing him of any charges in the death of Sprint Car driver Kevin Ward Jr. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Tony Stewart met openly with the media Monday morning for the first time since the Aug. 9 accident at a dirt track in Upstate New York that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.  Stewart’s last meeting with the media came on the day he returned to NASCAR racing after he had sat out three races. In that meeting,  on August 29, Stewart took no questions. Instead he read a prepared statement.

Last week a grand jury in Ontario County New York decided not to press charges against Stewart.  That vindication was the first step towards Stewart returning to a somewhat normal life. Part of that return came Monday when the three-time NASCAR champion took questions in an open session with the media at Stewart-Haas Racing in Kannapolis NC.

For the first time Stewart admitted that he didn’t even know the 20-year old driver who was killed that Saturday night after he charged towards Stewart’s winged sprint car.  Ward became entangled in the wheels and was thrown violently, his body coming to rest on the track.

“I don’t even know how many times I had raced with him,” Stewart said.  MORE>>>

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