Stewart Endures Another Hard Hit

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Tony Stewart experienced a case of déjà vu in Sunday's UAW-Dodge 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing had led six laps and was running solidly in the top-10 until a blown right front tire on lap 107 sent Stewart hard into the SAFER Barrier that lines the outside retaining wall in Turn 4.

“That’s the hardest one I’ve taken in a long time,” said Stewart after being evaluated and released from the infield care center. “It just blew a right front I guess and went straight in. It didn’t try to turn or anything. It was a real tight part of the corner. It hit so hard it’s got my lower back sore and made my legs feel about half numb. They just tingled until we got to the infield care center.

“I tried to knock the fence down yesterday in the Nationwide race and thought I’d made some ground on it and tried to finish it off, but it shows how good the soft walls are. They still don’t go anywhere.”

In Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Stewart led twice for 61 laps and had the car to beat until a lap-137 crash pitched him into the turn three wall after contact with David Reutimann.

“Yesterday, I just hit my right foot on the pedals because I hit (the wall) with the left side (of the car). It just bruised it. It bounced off it and hit it again today,” said Stewart, who wound up 27th in the Nationwide Series race and 43rd in the Sprint Cup race. “Today’s hit was probably 10 times harder than yesterday’s. My legs were tingling and my lower back is sore. That’s probably from tensing up on the way to hitting the wall. When you see the wreck coming and you know you’re not going to miss it, every muscle in your body tenses up and that makes it worse.”

Despite feeling sore and knowing some bruising would have to be dealt with in the days to come, Stewart declared himself healthy for the team’s test Monday and Tuesday at Phoenix International Raceway and the upcoming Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“I’ll be all right for the test tomorrow in Phoenix,” Stewart said. “It’s going to be a miserable two days. I was already sore today and my foot was sore from the wreck yesterday. It didn’t make it any better today. We’ll do what we have to do the next two days and get ready for Atlanta.”

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