American NASCAR star Tony Stewart walked out of Vodafone Speedway Western Springs on Saturday night, missing the feature race of the International Sprint Car Series.
Stewart has been in New Zealand for the past 10 days. Last night’s series finale in Auckland was to be his last event but midway through the evening he simply left the arena without explanation.
The 46-year-old is rumoured to have walked out in anger but officials were as much in the dark as anyone about what sparked his departure.
“I’m not too sure,” promoter Greg Mosen told The Herald.”I know he had some issues with his girlfriend with the brother back in California [with the wildfires devastating the region] and it was weighing on them quite heavily.
“The house is on the edge of being burnt to the ground.
“He’ll contact to let me know where he was at.”
Stewart hadn’t enjoyed a particularly successful run in New Zealand. He was involved in a crash at Palmerston North during the week and hadn’t featured at the pointy end at any of the three race meetings.
Having said that, he would have been in a position to race in the feature race at Western Springs in what was an eventful night.
New Zealand driver Jamie McDonald suffered a serious crash as the track conditions prove tricky and caught a number of experienced drivers out.
“He was going fine,” Mosen said. “He wouldn’t have made the pole shuffle but he was definitely in the feature.
“He is in somebody else’s car – you have got to be mindful of a track like that we have seen what Jamie has done to his car maybe he was thinking a little combination of that and things at home. I don’t know.”
Fellow NASCAR star Kyle Larson will head to New Zealand for Boxing Day’s midget racing.