Aug 19, 2014, 3:12 PM EST
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.
Jan 30, 2015, 12:00 PM EST
A full download of all posts from NASCAR Media Tour on NBCSports.com.
Jan 30, 2015, 11:30 AM EST
Australian driver does not feel under any added pressure in 2015 despite appearing to be the new team leader.
Jan 30, 2015, 11:15 AM EST
First video from Gridiron Challenge now up, in advance of the full event set to air tonight at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Jan 30, 2015, 10:51 AM EST
The No. 10 WTR Corvette DP reclassified to last in P after drive-time violation at Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Jan 30, 2015, 10:45 AM EST
After a miserable 2014, Raikkonen hopes that the new season and a new car will bring better fortunes for Ferrari.
Jan 30, 2015, 9:45 AM EST
Italian Luca Filippi will get the nod to drive the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet alongside Ed Carpenter this season.
Jan 30, 2015, 9:40 AM EST
Four-time world champion is not expecting immediate success at Maranello.
Jan 30, 2015, 9:30 AM EST
Big day of coverage for NASCAR on NBC today, with 6.5 hours of coverage slated.
Jan 30, 2015, 9:15 AM EST
Karam, Larson showcase talent in Rolex 24 drives for CGR.
Jan 30, 2015, 9:00 AM EST
Brazilian driver steps up to F1 with Sauber in 2015 after three years in GP2.
Jan 30, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
Former Caterham driver announces that he is moving to the Japanese single seater championship for 2015.
Jan 30, 2015, 6:14 AM EST
A new era begins at Maranello with the launch of the 2015 car.
Jan 30, 2015, 5:02 AM EST
After a disastrous 2014, Sauber aims to hit back this year with a new image and two new drivers.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:30 PM EST
When he went looking for a new crew chief to replace the soon-to-be departing Steve Letarte, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ultimately didn’t have to look very far.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:00 PM EST
Kasey Kahne looks for success with new crew chief… and another Super Bowl for his Seahawks.
Jan 29, 2015, 7:30 PM EST
Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway was arrested last week and charged with indecent exposure and lewdness.
Jan 29, 2015, 7:09 PM EST
Conor Daly finally set for an IndyCar test this offseason, with SPM.
Jan 29, 2015, 6:33 PM EST
After coming so close last season, Ryan Newman is ready to fight for the Sprint Cup championship in 2015 — and he’s bringing his brass knuckles to give him a hand.
Jan 29, 2015, 6:01 PM EST
Car owner Rick Hendrick said he consulted with Jeff Gordon about if to retire the No. 24 after this season.
Jan 29, 2015, 4:42 PM EST
IndyCar’s Brasilia, Brazil race set for March 8 has been canceled.
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