February 19, 2014
Tony Stewart Ready To Race
Tony Stewart, who is one of NASCAR’s premier drivers, missed almost half of the season’s 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. “Every 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,” 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. “There’s 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,” 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, “almost reminds me of when he ran the (Indianapolis) 500 for the first time.”
“Today in the big picture was just another practice day, but obviously it was a little bigger than normal,” Tony responded to the attention.
“If I didn’t think that Greg Zipadelli would absolutely kill me, I would probably want to go race at Volusia tonight. It felt that good. I don’t think Zippy would be the only guy — I think the entire organization would probably duct tape me to the flag pole on the front stretch just so I couldn’t go,” he added. Volusia is a nearby dirt track. Tony’s injury occurred last year at a dirt track in Iowa.
Tony’s 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’s new teammate this year, ordered a pad to prevent Tony’s knees from banging into the steering column.
Stewart, “was like a crazed lunatic. You could see that look in his eye. He looked at me and said, ‘I’m ready to … Race!” Harvick said after they attend a meeting with their sponsor.
“When you hear the quote, ‘It’s a seat-of-the-pants feel,’ you feel it in your core. Everything that is processed through your brain is between your core as far as feeling what’s going on. Your hands and arm are feeling pressure in the steering wheel. But as far as from your legs down, you’re not really feeling that sensation. It’s 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.” Tony stated.
Image Credit: Raceconn / Wikicommons