As new details emerge about two-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart’s altercation with an Australian racetrack’s co-owner, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Sunday that the racing superstar found himself in a police holding cell for a few hours following the fight.
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Stewart apparently was angry about the condition of the clay track surface at Parramatta City Raceway last Saturday and a heated encounter with the track’s co-owner, Brett Morris, ensued.
Stewart allegedly threw his helmet at Morris, who was taken by surprise but quickly retaliated. Witnesses said both men got in a few punches, but while Stewart suffered just a cut on his chin, Morris will have to undergo a minor surgery on his face next week after he was left with a busted eye socket.
The 39-year-old Stewart was held by police in Sydney until about 1 a.m. last Sunday and insisted that hitting Morris with his helmet was not intentional.
"I wish I could start this day over again," the emotional American reportedly told Gary Rush, one of the speedway’s co-promoters.
Stewart was released and permitted to leave the country as planned, but he still could face charges from Morris, who remained angry about the altercation.
"I don’t care who Tony Stewart is — if he wants to come to Australia and throw a helmet, he’d better learn to fight," Morris reportedly told racing publication The Inside Line, adding that he did not want to comment about any of the legal matters involved in the case. "I’m sure you understand due process."
Stewart talked to the media at Daytona International Speedway in Florida about the fight on Thursday, but he gave little indication about how rough it was.
"There was an altercation at the race track," Stewart said, according to FOX Sports. "It was a dispute between myself and one of the owners of the facility, but as it also was reported, we went down to the police station, we gave them a statement, they told us after the statement that we were free to go back to the hotel room and free to get on the plane the next day.”
"Definitely wasn’t the way I wanted to end my trip. We had a fun trip over there. Obviously there was a lot of flooding and raining while we were there, but at the same time we still we had a good race trip over there and didn’t end that last night the way we wanted to by any means,” he added.
“It’s not uncommon to see drivers and track owners have disputes over what’s going on, but this one went a little further than a normal dispute.”