Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tony Stewart: "I just want to be 100 percent"

   Three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart is three races into his return from a serious leg injury suffered in a sprint car race last summer. While Stewart has been cleared to driver by doctors he has repeatedly said his leg is not near 100 percent.
   To add insult to injury, so to speak, Stewart is off to a tough start to the season. He has two finishes of 33rd or worse and best finish of 16th at Phoenix.
   Sunday's race is at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, one of the most physically demanding in the series. Stewart was asked if he had any fear in returning to racing and his thoughts heading into this weekend's race.
   Here is his complete answer:
   “The fear was not getting back out. Being out of my Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy is what bothered me more than anything. I’ve had injuries before. I’ve had broken hands and raced dirt cars and stock cars. I’ve had broken bones that weren’t healed 100 percent and still went out and did what we needed to do. This was just a bigger setback. This was one that I didn’t have a choice of being in the car and fighting through it. This was one where the ante was up a little bit," he said.
   “Honestly, there hasn’t been one day or night where I’ve sat and questioned whether it’s what I wanted to do or whether it was something I could do. It was just, when can we do it? I just want to be 100 percent, and we’re pushing toward that. The passion and desire I have for the sport, that’s never wavered, and that’s what gets you through some of this stuff. 
   “People that want to compete, want to compete. They fight through injuries, they persevere, they work hard to get back where they want to be, and this is no different. There’s nothing about this process that has taken away my desire to do what I want to do. You don’t live for what could happen, you live for what you can make happen.”


NASCAR bans cool down laps in knock out qualifying

   Daytona Beach, Fla. (Mar. 11, 2014) — NASCAR notified its teams this afternoon that effective immediately the following modifications apply to all elements of its national series qualifying including the breaks: 
   - One cool down unit connected through either the left side or right side hood flap/cowl flap is allowed to cool the engine
   - The hood must continue to remain closed
   - Plugging in the generator will not be allowed
   - Two crew members will be allowed over the wall to support the car and driver
   - No cool down laps will be permitted

   NASCAR instituted a new group qualifying format for its three national series in January and has continued to evaluate the process through the first three races of the season. The new format has been well-received by fans, competitors, race tracks and other key stakeholders. NASCAR believes that the modifications announced today should help make the qualifying even better and more compelling.

   “The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”