4 September 2013
Stewart meets the press for first time since accident
The hardest thing for Stewart has been the forced inactivity, with the suspicion being that Tuesday's press conference was as much to perk Stewart up as it was for the benefit of the media.
"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." he admitted. "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."
Stewart's accident had prompted considerable discussion about just how much extracurricular activity Sprint Cup stars should participate in, given the risks of suffering a serious, season-ending injury. Stewart conceded that he would definitely be scaling back his sprint car races next season as the packed schedule he'd planned this year had definitely proved too much.
"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," he admitted. "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.
"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," he added. "Definitely going to cut back quite a bit, and a lot of that is - it's not been pressure from the sponsors," he insisted.
The other big story that's developed while Stewart has been incommunicado has been SHR's addition of Kurt Busch to he team line-up and the consequent expansion to a four-car line-up at very short-notice. With the process being directed by Stewart's co-owner in the team, Gene Haas, there had been speculation about whether this had caused friction between the two men.
"We're partners in this, and Gene wanted to make a change, and I've got to go with that," Stewart said. "His choice to add Kurt to the organisation, I really and truly was 100 per cent behind it. I was just concerned about the time frame. The rest of it, everybody's perception that we're fighting and arguing - there was never one argument between us.
"Gene was so excited about doing this and about having his hand involved in it, and that's great," Stewart added. "For me as his partner, I love seeing him this engaged, and I'm really proud of him for being as active in this process as he was."
Haas himself had already stated that he'd been surprised that Stewart had proved the astute businessman asking all the practical questions about whether it could be done, while Haas himself - the multi-millionaire businessman - was the one getting all excited about race teams and winning titles.
"I think Gene realises the value of the group that we have here now, and especially since his media session last Tuesday. I think he really understands this a lot more and that there's a lot more involved in it," said Stewart. "I think we would talk about it a lot more.
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