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Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing - Q&A

They've actually this past Wednesday took out 90 per cent of the stitches that were in the skin. The skin is healing really well. Like I said, there was a lot of skin damage where the bones, where they got through the skin during the accident. But the rest of those will actually come out with the doctor that helps us here with Stewart-Haas Racing that will be at the race this weekend. He's going to take out the remaining stitches, and then we'll be done with that.

No extra surgeries. There's no - we're not out of the woods as far as inspection right now with the skin or the bones, but the time frame that the doctor said is if we can get through the first two months and not have any dramas with infection that the odds of getting it are really, really low. We're halfway there on that, and the skin keeps healing faster than the doctor anticipated, so everything is progressing really well right now.

Q:
I have two questions, both sort of related. Sprint car racing, you haven't been asked directly, Zippy had said that all that racing, it's your hunting, it's your fishing, and it also gives you your edge, he thinks, into what you do. Will you keep up the same sort of schedule that you think you've done in the past? Question number two, Mark and Zippy both said in a joint press conference that their exact words are you are bound and determined to address sprint car safety and sort of make improvements that maybe should have been done years ago. What can you do and add to that going forward?

Tony Stewart:
Go back to the first one again. What was the first one? Oh, am I going to run?

Q:
Are you going to run?

Tony Stewart:
I haven't had to think very much the last four weeks. I've got to watch Oprah the last four weeks now, and I'm very tired of watching TV.

As far as getting back in a sprint car, this year was the most aggressive schedule that we had planned, and even if I was 100 per cent healthy, I wouldn't plan on racing 70 races again next year. I think I was a little aggressive on my schedule as far as how many dates I wanted to run. But even with that, some of the places that we went to, some of them are tracks that I'm like, aww, it's probably not a place I want to go back to next year.

I am going to get back in a car eventually. There's no time frame on when I'm going to get back in one, but I'm definitely going to cut back the amount of races, just on scheduling purposes more than anything. I was starting to tell I was getting a little bit tired around Brickyard time, and that was - we had the truck race that week, which was a lot of stress, and we had a lot of races scheduled in the two weeks prior to that.

Definitely going to cut back quite a bit, and a lot of that is - it's not been pressure from the sponsors. Everybody has been - our sponsors have been absolutely amazing through this whole thing. Everybody at Exxon Mobil, all the executives there have either sent text messages to me on the phone or sent us letters to the house. Johnny Morris is one of my best friends, and he came to the house and saw us.

You know, there's definitely concern they want me to be healthy. They want me to be 100 per cent health-wise, and every one of them is worried about my safety, and obviously the sprint car topic has been a little bit of a sensitive topic with them, and a lot of them just don't understand everything about sprint car racing, so it's easy to understand their side from that.

But they've all been supportive of me living my life and understanding why I do what I do. But for sure it's definitely - I'm definitely going to cut back that schedule.

The safety side, it started before I even brought it up. Jerry Russell, who used to own Eagle Chassis, is developing a torque tube tunnel, which is kind of like a drive shaft tunnel like we have in the Cup cars for the same reason. Jeannie Butler and ButlerBuilt here in Charlotte have already been working on tether systems for the front of the sprint cars, where Jimmy Carr, my crew chief, has already been working on issues in the torque tube that he thinks can be addressed plus tethers for the back of the car to make sure that the rear end coming back like it did that actually caused the problem will be addressed.


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Related Pictures

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Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, speaks to the media in his first appearance since his sprint car accident at Stewart-Haas Racing on September 3, 2013 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images)
NASCAR driver, Mark Martin, who is filling in for an injured Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, watches the press conference at Stewart-Haas Racing on September 3, 2013 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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