Tony Stewart Ready To Race
Tony Stewart, who is one of NASCAR‚Äôs premier drivers, missed almost half of the season‚Äôs races due to a severe leg injury in August. However, he is now 20 pounds lighter, has a titanium rod implanted in his leg and is ready to race.
Usually Tony arrives at his car late, but he was 20 minutes early for his practice session. He buckled in, put on his helmet and sat for ten minutes in his number 14 Chevrolet race car. ‚ÄúEvery five minutes, I was looking at the clock. That’s a long time to be staring at the clock. That’s not going to be a habit,‚ÄĚ he told his new crew chief Chad Johnston.
In a practice session last Friday, Stewart ran 50 pain-free laps equaling 125 miles around the circuit. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs zero percentage of pain in the car. That was nice. I thought we would have some kind of ache or pain, but it was like putting on an old pair of shoes again,‚ÄĚ Stewart said, according to the Washington Post.
Stewart stood in front of his car surrounded numerous media personal, cheering fans and his father Nelson who said it, ‚Äúalmost reminds me of when he ran the (Indianapolis) 500 for the first time.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúToday in the big picture was just another practice day, but obviously it was a little bigger than normal,‚ÄĚ Tony responded to the attention.
‚ÄúIf I didn‚Äôt think that Greg Zipadelli would absolutely kill me, I would probably want to go race at Volusia tonight. It felt that good. I don‚Äôt think Zippy would be the only guy ‚ÄĒ I think the entire organization would probably duct tape me to the flag pole on the front stretch just so I couldn‚Äôt go,‚ÄĚ he added. Volusia is a nearby dirt track. Tony‚Äôs injury occurred last year at a dirt track in Iowa.
Tony‚Äôs race team built him a simulator that included a steering wheel, steering column, seat and pedals to mimic the throttle pressure of his racecar. Kevin Harvick, who will be Tony‚Äôs new teammate this year, ordered a pad to prevent Tony‚Äôs knees from banging into the steering column.
Stewart, ‚Äúwas like a crazed lunatic. You could see that look in his eye. He looked at me and said, ‚ÄėI‚Äôm ready to … Race!‚ÄĚ Harvick said after they attend a meeting with their sponsor.
‚ÄúWhen you hear the quote, ‚ÄėIt‚Äôs a seat-of-the-pants feel,‚Äô you feel it in your core. Everything that is processed through your brain is between your core as far as feeling what‚Äôs going on. Your hands and arm are feeling pressure in the steering wheel. But as far as from your legs down, you‚Äôre not really feeling that sensation. It‚Äôs more of what your brain is telling your legs to do. If we had to have an area to have an injury, my right leg was probably the one.‚ÄĚ Tony stated.
Image Credit: Raceconn / Wikicommons