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Tony Stewart not proud of incident

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Tony Stewart says he's ashamed and embarrassed about the physical confrontation he had with the co-owner of Sydney Speedway last weekend in Australia.

The two-time Sprint Cup champion got into the dispute about the safety of the track due to excessive moisture during a Sprint car event. The dispute reportedly led to Stewart hitting Brett Morris with his helmet and Morris retaliating, leading to Stewart being questioned by local police.

Stewart was released and not charged.

"I'm definitely not proud of what happened," Stewart said Thursday during a break in testing at Daytona International Speedway. "If I had to do it all over again I would have dealt with it much differently.

"We had been over there for almost five weeks and we had been dealing with the same problem with the racetrack. ... I've always been one to speak up for what I think is right, especially when it comes to the safety side of it. I didn't think conditions were safe to run on it."

Stewart has a history of off-track incidents, from the 2002 shoving of a photographer at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the 2008 shoving of a USAC official at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis.

Since taking over as the owner of Stewart-Haas Racing two years ago, he's been more careful to control his temper.

"This isn't something I've blown off," Stewart said. "I've lost a lot of sleep over it. I'm very embarrassed. I'm not the least bit proud of it. I'm ashamed of it."

Stewart's concerns with the track had to do with moisture from the heavy rains that have caused flooding and property damage in Australia.

"It's not uncommon to see drivers and track owners have disputes," said Stewart, who owns Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. "This one went a little further than we wanted."

Stewart isn't sure if there will be any legal action against him moving forward. A member of the public relations office at Sydney Speedway said Morris was not available to comment, but "this may change in the coming days."

Said Stewart: "I'm not concerned about it. If there is and we have to go back, then we'll deal with it."

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.