What's Buzzing:

Joe Gibbs: Tony Stewart is 'a racer's racer'

AP - Sports
Tony Stewart skips 3rd race after Ward's death

View photo

FILE - In this July 12, 2013 file photo, NASCAR driver Tony Stewart speaks at a press conference prior to NASCAR practice at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. Stewart is skipping a second straight Sprint Cup race, and it is not clear when the NASCAR star might return after he struck and killed a driver at a dirt-track race in New York last weekend. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter, File)

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Joe Gibbs is waiting for Tony Stewart to emerge from seclusion to reach out to his former driver.

Stewart has been in isolation since his car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. in an Aug. 8 sprint car race.

''I didn't feel like it was the right time (to call him), but we're all praying for him,'' Gibbs said. ''We all love Tony. I love what he did for us here. We all know he's a racer's racer, and he's big for our sport.''

Stewart drove for Gibbs from 1997 through 2008, winning Cup titles in 2002 and 2005 driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. He left following the 2008 season when he was offered an ownership stake at Stewart-Haas Racing.

Gibbs said Tuesday he learned early in his tenure that sprint car racing was Stewart's passion and the car owner had to accept Stewart's participation in other series. He said all team meetings were disrupted by Stewart updating the group on his latest adventures outside of NASCAR.

''I had to spend 30 minutes listening to him how he won a dirt late model race, and I wanted to go, 'I don't care, OK?''' Gibbs said, laughing. ''But he was so excited. I came to the conclusion that was him - for him to be happy and doing the things that he wanted to do, he was going to be racing.''

Gibbs said Stewart was a valuable member at JGR. When another employee was struggling to cover the cost of adopting a child, Stewart gave him the needed funds. He hoped as Stewart continues his recovery process, more examples of Stewart's softer side will emerge.

''Tony's got great courage. He's smart. He loves this sport. He's totally focused on it. He doesn't have distractions,'' Gibbs said. ''He's very important to our sport. This is a horrible thing to have happen for the Ward family, for him.''

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (118)
  • Fan pours drink on Celtics draft pick Thornton during game

    An elderly basketball fan has been banned for the rest of the Australian season after tipping beer on the head of Boston Celtics 2015 draft pick Marcus Thornton during a domestic league game. Thornton was playing for the Sydney Kings in a National … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 minutes 52 seconds ago
  • Kane's 2 assists help Blackhawks beat Sharks 5-2

    Kane's 2 assists help Blackhawks beat Sharks 5-2

    When someone like Andrew Desjardins also gets into the act, they are even tougher to beat. Kane had two assists to extend his career-best scoring streak to 17 games, and Desjardins scored his first goal of the season for some third-period insurance … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 minutes 52 seconds ago
  • November 25th: The Fast Break

    November 25th: The Fast Break

    Take a quick tour of Wednesday's action-packed night. … More »

    NBA.com - 7 minutes ago
  • Durant's Reverse Oop

    Durant's Reverse Oop

    Russell Westbrook tosses the half court lob to Kevin Durant who lays it in over his head. … More »

    NBA.com - 8 minutes ago
  • Kansas freshman Diallo can play Tuesday

    Kansas freshman Diallo can play Tuesday

    Cheick Diallo was sitting next to Bill Self, the coach he can now play for, and it was a close call as to whose smile was broader. The freshman forward was cleared by the NCAA on Wednesday to play for No. 5 Kansas starting Dec. 1. The announcement … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago