When Tony Stewart appeared before the cameras yesterday, his deportment was quite subdued.
|After driving for Joe Gibbs Racing for 10 years, Stewart became a team owner|
and driver with Stewart Hass Racing in 2009. Davis Turner for USA TODAY Sports
Anthony Wayne "Tony" Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup champion, the 1997 Indy Racing League (IndyCar) champion and the 1995 USAC Triple Crown champion and now a NASCAR team owner, stated that he regretted ever racing a sprint car that night.
"I'd have stayed at Watkins Glen that night," Stewart said, referring to the location of that weekend's NASCAR race. "I do this stuff and I go run those cars to have a good time and that's all I wanted to do that night. … I do it to have fun, and it didn't end up being fun that night."
Stewart went on to comment compassionately in regards to Ward's family.
"I want to be available to them," Stewart said. But he added, "I don't need to talk to them for closure. ... I know it was an accident."
The family of Kevin Ward Jr. issued a statement over the weekend suggesting that prosecutors treated Stewart lightly because of his status in the racing world. The Grand Jury determined Ward Jr.’s death was an accident.
"Tell me how a NASCAR star totally forgot what caution means," Wendi Ward wrote. Wendi Ward is Kevin’s Aunt. "Maybe he should get a different headset so he is able to hear on the radio that the car in caution is up high, so go low. Or was he low until he rounded the corner and saw Kevin Jr. standing up for himself?"
Ward's aunt also questioned why a toxicology test was done on her nephew. The test found marijuana in Ward's system.
Stewart declined to address the marijuana finding, stating only "Honestly, for me it doesn't change anything," he said.
“It’s not about picking sides. A young man lost his life. His family is in mourning. My family is in mourning,” Stewart said.
Stewart reported that in the days right after the fatal accident he didn't care if he showered and had to force himself to eat.
"Hopefully, through this I will somehow be a better person," he philosophized hopefully.