NASCAR » 04 September 2013
Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing - Q&A
I think he's done a great job, the teams have done a great job communicating and working and keeping their eye focused on what the goal is each week.
Assuming you're not back in the car until Daytona Speedweeks, are you going to have Mark continue with the team into '14 to do the testing and development, and do you have somebody else that you're looking to bring in?
I'm all for Mark Martin doing all the testing he wants to do. I've never been a big fan of testing anyway. It's like watching paint dry to me. Like I mentioned earlier, if there's ever - I don't know that you could pick anybody any better to - if that scenario happens, I definitely hope he would be willing to do that, and would love to have him do that for us because he's been around the sport so long and he's so detail oriented, you couldn't ask for somebody better to go into test that probably would pay more attention than I would about what's going on with every detail. That would definitely be a great option for us.
The busiest guy in racing goes from racing six nights a week to bedridden watching Oprah, and I guess that could go the other way where you could be woe-is-me and feeling bad about yourself, but you seem in good spirits and you look good, you look like you've lost some weight -
That was the goal. I thought, man, the only way I'm truly going to lose weight, because I'm not as dedicated as Mark is to the workout program, the only way I'm going to be able to do this is I'm going to have to break something so I can lose weight.
Because that's something that I asked Zippy, is the mental part of it going to be harder than the physical part. So how did you overcome that, and did being here in Charlotte and that steady stream of visitors, because a lot of guys said they went to see you and they found you in good spirits, did being in this community help you with that?
Absolutely. You know, and something that was really overwhelming right off the bat was the first 36 hours after the accident happened. I couldn't even type a sentence on my phone to reply to text messages, but I had 850 text messages in the first 36 hours after the accident, and it was people - I got one three days ago from Mark Webber from F1 saying, "Call me; I had a similar injury," and just hope you're feeling better. The outreach from people from IndyCar racing, Sports Car racing, NASCAR racing, the sprint car community and the visitors that we had. There was a day that we had nine straight hours of visitors, and I didn't have a five-minute break between any of those. That's been a huge, huge asset, and keeping me motivated and my spirits up.
I'm kind of surprised myself to be honest; I'm surprised I've been this upbeat about it, and I don't know why. But I guess I just look at it as it's just a bump in the road. I've raced 36 years and never had an injury that lasted - the worst injury I had was an IndyCar crash, and all I had was fractures, and there was no scars, there was no stitches, no anything that I had to look at. It was literally just waiting for it to heal enough that I was comfortable enough to even be in a car.
But it's been surprising to me. To go 35 years and run all the hundreds of races and thousands of races we've run, and to finally have an injury, it's like, this hasn't been a bad run of going out getting hurt.
It just seems like a small bump in the road. I guess if this was the fifth injury in a row that I've had that put me out of a race car, I'd probably feel worse about it. I'm one of those believers that everything happens for a reason, and I feel lucky that I guess if it's going to happen that the timing of it happened in a scenario where I'm not going to miss next year, I'm not going to miss a race.
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