I’ve avoided writing about the Tony Stewart/Kevin Ward Jr. fatal incident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York about a week and a half ago ad nauseam. Other than a report of the incident, one opinion piece and reports on fill-in drivers, I think I’ve remained pretty quite. Behind the scenes, though, I’ve been reading a lot of reports, commentaries, etc., from others; some I’ve agreed with wholeheartedly, while others make me somewhat ill, so to speak.
I’ll reiterate my opinion, and I’ll make it brief. I believe it was a tragic accident, and I’ll go on to say that by looking at that infamous video, admittedly, probably too many times, it doesn’t appear to me that Stewart even did anything wrong. I’ll also admit that I’m not expert in such matters, not even close. But that is my opinion, and I’ll hold to it unless the ongoing investigation winds up proving otherwise. You have your opinion and I have mine, same or different.
By the way, while I haven’t seen an offical announcement regarding driver status for Saturday night’s race at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway, I have read that Dave Moody is hearing that Stewart will be out again at Bristol, with Jeff Burton, once again, filling in behind the wheel of the No. 14.
Moving on. . . .
Anyway, what is bothering me at this point and prompting me to break my somewhat-silence is a story I recently read on SportingNews.com. It wasn’t a report from regular NASCAR writer Bob Pockrass. This one was from a guy named Howard Bloom.
It states that Stewart needed to return at Bristol or just go ahead and announce that he’s sitting out the rest of the year.
I realize NASCAR racing is big business, but insensitive, much? Maybe it would be good for business to return or make a definite announcement, but I’m guessing business isn’t the numero uno thing on Stewart’s mind at this point in time. I’m sure the guy really is grieving somewhere, so maybe we should cut him some slack.
Stewart-Haas Racing his behind him, and why wouldn’t it be? He owns half the team. His sponsors seem to be supportive, so I’m thinking the folks at SHR have everything under control.
On the surface, if you just look at Stewart’s business deals and holdings, he has to have an army of people running things, considering how successful his dealings seem to be — Stewart-Haas Racing, Eldora Speedway, his other race teams and other tracks he owns, etc. Let those people continue to do their jobs and keep things going while Stewart takes time to mourn, recover and rest.
Under normal circumstances, I may not be so forgiving, if that’s even what you’d call it. But this is, by not means, a normal circumstance. Yes, while I see what happened at Canandaigua as an accident for which Stewart was not at fault, I’m sure he’s still dealing with the fact that a young racer is dead after being struck by his car. Fortunately, I’m not speaking from experience, but I’m sure that’s a lot to deal with.
Have a heart, people, cut Stewart some slack, here.
By the way, for those who will be at Bristol for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race and are in support of Stewart, there’s a grassroots effort that is calling for fans in attendance to “Stand in Support of Smoke” on lap 14 of the 500-lap race.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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