WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Tony Stewart's return to Watkins Glen International for the first time in three years didn't turn out so well on track, but he remained upbeat in spite of all that's swirling around the NASCAR star.
Stewart was greeted warmly by fans during driver introductions, but after starting third his day on the road course he once dominated ended badly. He finished last after losing the rear gear on his No. 14 Chevrolet.
Stewart missed the previous two Cup races at The Glen. Two years ago, he was nursing a broken right leg and he sat out last year's race after the sprint car he was driving in a race at nearby Canandaigua struck and killed 20-year-old driver Kevin Ward Jr. the night before Stewart was scheduled to race at Watkins Glen. Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of Ward's death.