Stewart: “I’m Going To Get My Money’s Worth”
CONCORD, N.C. — Meeting the media for the first time since breaking his leg in a sprint car crash Aug. 5 at Southern Iowa Speedway, three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart called the injury “the worst injury I’ve ever had in my life and racing career.”
Stewart, sporting a cast on his right leg, Stewart took questions at Stewart-Haas Racing Tuesday afternoon.
“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,” Stewart said. “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.”
Stewart hopes to be recovered by early February.
“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,” he said. “I’m really trying to guard against that right now. A setback would really be bad.”
Stewart is expecting a 100-percent recovery.
“He (the doctor) said it should be 100 percent recovery,” Stewart said. “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 percent. He said when it heals it’ll actually be stronger than it was before.”
Stewart has been criticized by many for his participation in sprint car races, but defended his position Tuesday.
“You know, you never want something like this to happen, but a perfect example this week is Bobby Labonte was riding his bike and broke three ribs and missed a race,” Stewart explained. “It’s just life, guys. Things happen every day. You can’t guard against all the time, and the thing is you’ve got to live life. You can’t spend your whole life trying to guard against something happening. If you do that, in my opinion you’ve wasted your time. We are all here a short amount of time in the big picture, and I’m somebody that wants to live life. I’m not somebody that wants to sit there and say, ‘I’ve got to guard against this and I’ve got to worry about that.’
“I mean, if I got in a race car and didn’t wear a helmet and didn’t wear seatbelts, then that would be dangerous, and that’s being foolish,” he continued. “We don’t do that. But I’m going to go live my life. I’m going to take full advantage of whatever time I’ve got on this earth. I’m going to ride it out to the fullest and I’m going to get my money’s worth; you can bet your butt on that.”