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)
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>>>

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.