Tony Stewart reiterated that he’s not done being successful in the Sprint Cup Series.
At the end of the season, a porous season by his standards independent of missing three races in August, Stewart said he wasn’t done winning. During Stewart-Haas Racing’s portion of the Sprint Cup Series media tour on Tuesday, Stewart said the past two years of his career have made his desire to be successful stronger.
“It’s probably made my desire more stronger than it’s ever been,” Stewart said. “I’m not happy about the last two years of my life by any means. It’s given me more drive and desire to go back and get back to the old form that our fans and our sponsors are used to seeing us in.
I’m looking forward to it. This is probably the most prepared I’ve been in a while for a season to start.”
In 2013, Stewart suffered a broken leg in a sprint car race in Iowa in August. The fracture sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
He was back in his Cup Series car in time for the Daytona 500, but struggled, accumulating just three top fives and six top-10 finishes in the first 21 races of the season. Then, while racing in a sprint car race in upstate New York, Stewart struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr., who had gotten out of his car to confront Stewart after hitting a wall as the two raced together. Stewart, who was never charged in the incident, missed three races after the accident and has talked about the impact it’s left on him.
Stewart said Tuesday that he was “going back to being me” again after the past two seasons and no, thoughts of retirement didn’t cross his mind when Jeff Gordon announced he’d be retiring after the 2015 season.
“It didn’t make me think anything about my career, it made me think about Jeff’s career when he made his announcement,” Stewart said via USA Today. “As much as I always thought in my mind I would be so excited when Jeff Gordon retired, the thought has been the polar opposite. I’m having a hard time coming to terms with after this year, he’s not going to be in the No. 24 car anymore.”
– – – – – – –