Tony Stewart has expressed his regret at getting into an off-track incident in Australia last week, while competing in a sprint car event at Sydney Speedway.
The two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion was questioned by local police last Saturday after having a physical altercation with track co-owner Bret Morris following a dispute over safety conditions at the track, which was affected by heavy rain.
Stewart, who returned to the U.S. last weekend, confirmed on Thursday at Daytona that he was involved in the confrontation and then questioned by the police over the incident.
"There was an altercation at the racetrack," said Stewart. "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. But it 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 had a good race trip over there and didn't end that last night the way we wanted to by any means. But it's not uncommon to see drivers and track owners have disputes over what's going on, but this one went a little bit further than a normal dispute."
Although the issue has reportedly not yet been closed by police in New South Wales, Stewart shrugged off any concerns about it possibly going any further.
"I'm not concerned about it," Stewart said. "If there is and we have to go back, we'll deal with it. But it's nothing that we're concerned with at this point. Like I said, when they were done with us, they said we were able to go back to the hotel and were able get on our flight and come back.
"I made sure that they knew exactly where we were staying, when our flight was, what the flight number was and how to get hold of us the whole time. We'll deal with it if anything else comes about."
Stewart, also a team and track owner, has previously been involved in other off-track altercations, shoving a journalist at a NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Indianapolis in 2002 and more recently pushing a USAC official at an event where his team was competing in 2008.
"Well, I'm definitely not proud of what happened, and if I had to do it all over again, I would have dealt with it much different," said an apologetic Stewart about last week's incident. "Like I said, this isn't something that I've blown off. I've lost a lot of sleep over it because I'm very embarrassed that I made it through a whole trip and the night before I come home I get in an altercation with somebody, and that really hasn't happened for a while.
"I'm not at all the least bit proud of it. I'm ashamed about it, but at the same time it's been nice to get back with the team and it's nice to come down here and worry about driving the racecar again. And it's not that it's making me forget about it, but it's at least getting my mind off it enough to relax."