Tony Stewart faced the press on Tuesday for the first time since breaking his leg and brining his 2013 season to a premature close. The media appearance was held at Stewart-Haas Racing's headquarters in Kannopolis in North Carolina.
Tony, welcome back. I know these folks have missed you. How are you feeling?
Oddly enough, I actually miss you guys, which tells you that I'm not healthy yet.
No, excited to be back, and the reason we're going to be here until your questions are over is because Mike took my wheelchair, so basically I'm stuck here.
No, I am feeling a lot better. We've made huge gains in the last four weeks. This is probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with. This is definitely the worst injury I've ever had in my life and racing career. It's definitely been a big change from being probably one of the busiest drivers on the schedule to being in bed seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
We're getting around a lot better. I'm starting to get a lot of my independence back as far as being able to take care of myself and get up and shower, do all the simple things that we take for granted. That's stuff that we've been able to do here in the last couple weeks that we've gained back. We're definitely making a lot of ground on it.
What's the prognosis, and when do you expect to be back in a race car?
They're looking at the beginning of February, which isn't a bad deal. I mean, it's really - I guess if you had to have this injury happen, if it would have happened a month later, it would have got us in a really big bind for next year even, so we would have missed not only this year but the beginning of next year, as well.
To answer your question, February is what they're looking at, and something that is part of this process, I've really been very vague with the doctors about what's going on and what's happening, what's going to happen a month down the road or three months down the road, and the reason for that, I've tried to kind of to a certain degree protect myself from myself by not getting too far ahead and not trying to do something too early that I'm not supposed to do. I'm really trying to guard against that right now. A setback would really be bad.
Everything is going according to schedule and may actually be a little bit ahead of schedule, but as long as - if we get done early, we don't have anything to gain by it. If we have a setback we have a lot to lose by it. I've been pretty disciplined on just trying to not - every time the doctor says I'm going to see you in so many days, I ask what do you want me to do through that period and what's the goal.
You know, I'm kind of learning as we go here. I'm trying not to get ahead of myself so I haven't asked too many questions as far as what the time frames are other than just the obvious of when am I going to be able to get back in a car, and he's very confident February will be okay.
He said it should be 100 per cent recovery. He doesn't see any problem in that whatsoever. There was no doubt in his mind when he said it he had a grin on his face and said it'll be 100 per cent. He said when it heals it'll actually be stronger than it was before.
I guess I want to know what you've learned about yourself and your organization through this process.