Skip to content

NASCAR: Joe Gibbs hopeful for eventual return of Tony Stewart

Aug 19, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT

Bojangles' Southern 500 Getty Images

Since his involvement in a fatal sprint car incident on Aug. 9, three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has been largely in seclusion.

He has not competed in the last two Sprint Cup events at Watkins Glen (replaced by Regan Smith) and Michigan (replaced by Jeff Burton), and several of his peers – including Jeff Gordon and Stewart Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick – have said that they haven’t been able to speak with him.

But team owner Joe Gibbs, whose No. 20 squad won the 2002 and 2005 Sprint Cup championships with Stewart behind the wheel, believes that “Smoke” will eventually come back.

“We all love Tony, we love what he did for us here,” Gibbs has said to USA Today’s Jeff Gluck. “We know he’s a racer’s racer and he’s big for our sport. I would love to have a chance to speak with him at some point and encourage him.”

Gibbs hailed his former driver as a man of “great courage,” but also acknowledged the Aug. 9 tragedy as “a horrible thing to have happen” for all involved – including Stewart and the family of Kevin Ward Jr.

Ward, 20, was struck and killed by Stewart’s car after attempting to confront him under caution following an on-track incident between the two. The young racer was laid to rest last Thursday.

“This is just hard to go through, so everybody is going to have to prayerfully work their way through it,” said Gibbs, who also mentioned to Gluck that he’s been hesitant to reach out to Stewart because he’s been told by the driver’s representatives that he was taking some time for himself.

Last weekend at Michigan, Stewart Haas Racing executive vice president Brett Frood said that Stewart himself will make the final decision on when he’ll climb back inside his No. 14 SHR Chevrolet.

Additionally, Frood said that Stewart was “surrounded…by his closest friends and family” and that his current location “is of a private nature.”

As of now, no official announcement has yet been made by SHR on Stewart’s status for Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Burton, his most recent substitute in the No. 14, told NBCSN’s NASCAR AMERICA yesterday that he and SHR have not talked about him filling in again at Bristol.

Latest Posts
  1. Grosjean annoyed by Monaco crash accusations

    May 29, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 21, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Getty Images

    Frenchman hopes to bounce back in Canada next weekend after finishing outside of the points in Monaco.

  2. Power wins Verizon P1 Award in Detroit with new track record

    May 29, 2015, 4:52 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    Will Power and Helio Castroneves complete the front row for first of two IndyCar races in Detroit.

  3. Sainz shares video of near-miss with Ericsson from Monaco

    May 29, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 23:  Carlos Sainz of Spain and Scuderia Toro Rosso drives during qualifying for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Sainz went on to finish the race in tenth place, but it all very nearly ended far earlier in Monaco last Sunday.

  4. Formula E: Garcia replaces Pic for Moscow ePrix

    May 29, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    A Formula E China Racing Antonio Garcia powers his car during the first pratice session in Punta del Este, Uruguay on December 13, 2014. Uruguay will host the third race of the inaugural Formula-E electric car race championship on December 13.  AFP PHOTO / PABLO PORCIUNCULA        (Photo credit should read PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    GT racer returns after making his Formula E debut in Uruguay at the end of 2014.

  5. Big weekend for Brembo on Belle Isle

    May 29, 2015, 1:51 PM EDT

    Photo: Brembo Photo: Brembo

    Brembo busy with IndyCar, TUDOR and World Challenge this weekend.

  6. Boullier: Monaco points just the beginning for McLaren

    May 29, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Getty Images

    The team racing director refuses to get too excited about Jenson Button’s eighth-place finish in Monaco, saying it is just the start of something far bigger.

  7. Briatore: Alonso has a better future with McLaren

    May 29, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24:  Flavio Briatore, his wife Elisabetta Gregoraci and son Falco attend the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Fernando Alonso’s manager confident the Spaniard was right to leave Ferrari and join McLaren for 2015.

  8. Ecclestone willing to do “whatever is needed” to revive Indian GP

    May 29, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of India - Race Getty Images

    Ecclestone has given the race promoters two months to make a decision on whether to revive the Indian Grand Prix or not.

  9. Defending Red Bull GRC champion Joni Wiman adjusts to “target on his back”

    May 29, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    Rallycross photos © QNIGAN.COM 2014

    What’s next for Joni Wiman, the defending Red Bull Global Rallycross champion?

  10. Ricciardo relishing return to site of first F1 victory

    May 29, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 08: Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull and Australia wins the Canadian F1 Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 8, 2014 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images,) Getty Images

    Ricciardo announced himself on F1’s big stage in Canada last year with the first of three victories in 2014.

  11. NHRA: 3-time Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon making most of career resurgence

    May 29, 2015, 12:35 AM EDT

    3-time NHRA Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon. (Photo courtesy NHRA) 3-time NHRA Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon. (Photo courtesy NHRA)

    Larry Dixon is making up for lost time – in VERY fast way, that is – as in the neighborhood of 320-plus mph and less than four seconds.

  12. ARCA: From welder to race car driver, Sarah Cornett-Ching continues her building prowess

    May 28, 2015, 11:05 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy ARCA) (Photo courtesy ARCA)

    Sarah Cornett-Ching is opening a lot of eyes in the ARCA Series this season.

  13. Red Bull GRC entry lists, event schedule for Ft. Lauderdale opener

    May 28, 2015, 8:59 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    Here’s the field for this year’s Red Bull GRC season opener in Ft. Lauderdale.

  14. Surprises, struggles: NHRA at one-third mark of ’15 season

    May 28, 2015, 6:49 PM EDT

    nhra logo

    With the completion of the Kansas Nationals this past Sunday, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has reached the one-third point of the 2015 season.

  15. Coulthard: Monaco mistake could make Hamilton think twice in future races

    May 28, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24:  (L-R) Race winner Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP and third placed Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP react on the podium following the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Ex-F1 driver ponders whether Hamilton’s trust in Mercedes may have taken a hit after his Monaco defeat.

  16. FIA seeking new teams for Formula 1 in 2016 and 2017

    May 28, 2015, 3:23 PM EDT

    HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 18:  The German national flag flaps in the wind next to the FIA flag during practice ahead of the German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring on July 18, 2014 in Hockenheim, Germany.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images) Getty Images

    FIA looking for more teams to join the sport in the next two seasons.