Most of us were enjoying our families this Labor Day, grilling something, taking a dip in the pool, or whatever you do when these holiday weekends take over our lives. For the Ward family, they will still be mourning the untimely, and to some questionable, passing of their son, Kevin Ward Jr. At the same time, thousands of miles away, Tony Stewart was to get back into his #14 Stewart-Haas racing machine at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Prior to taking to the track at Atlanta, Tony had this to say…
To be expected, Tony did not take any questions after his press conference. Did you notice a very emotional Tony? I did. I suppose you could read into this in any number of ways. Maybe his emotional demeanor means that inside he feels tremendous guilt? Or maybe its because he’s embarrassed to be in this situation? Possibly because in his heart of hearts he believes he could have done more to avoid Kevin Ward? Truth be told, I read it as a little of all three.
Here sits a man who unfortunately took the life us a fellow race car driver. Regardless of the situation that lead to Kevin Ward being on the track next to Tony’s car, Stewart feels tremendous sorrow for the loss of life.
If somehow you have been living under a rock, or recently returned from a 6 month journey at sea, here is what happened back on August 9th, 2014
The devastating outcome of this incident at Canandaigua Raceway in New York has lead to many an argument. Friend against friends, family against family, race fan against race fan… You see, regardless of your knowledge of racing, when you see a video like the one above, you have no choice but to form an opinion. Did Tony try to scare Kevin? Did Kevin try to leap on Tony’s car? Was Tony trying to steer away by gassing it? Was that even Tony’s car that revved its engine? The more you watch the video, the more you realize that only one person truly knows what happened out there… Tony Stewart.
After sitting 3 consecutive races, Tony Stewart climbed back into his #14 machine Sunday night. His car was competitive early on, but a mid race tangle with Kyle Bush followed by a blown tire just past halfway ended Stewart’s chances at a respectful finish. I’ve included a highlight from NASCAR.com that chronicles Tony’s evening, but it stopped short of playing a little snippet that I thought told a lot about the man being questioned for the death of Kevin Ward…
As Tony Stewart brought the #14 car on to pit lane the following words came over his radio, “Im sorry guys, you deserved better than this”. Now, im sure you’re shaking your head saying “so”! I was too at the time. But after re-watching the press conference from Atlanta, re-watching the Kevin Ward accident, and re-watching the highlights from Atlanta, I realized something. In this life we live, especially when you choose to entertain (which racing is entertainment), we take risks and chances every day. Kevin Ward and Tony Stewart took risks! After all, they’re wearing fire suits and crash helmets. Do have to wear that at your job? These warriors take risks, live on the edge, and entertain us week in / week out. Some even have a bad attitude or a short fuse. Some throw temper tantrums or helmets. Some even use there car in an unsafe manner to make a point.
But do any of them want to see someone die? No! Absolutely Not!
Its about time we all accept that accidents happen, most are avoidable, our pasts are our pasts and when you entertain at very high speeds that require fire suits and crash helmets, accidents will happen! Learn from this and let us all lead better lives for it. Just like Tony Stewart clearly has. The very same set of circumstances that lead to Tony’s end of a race tonight in Atlanta would have historically been answered by an ‘F’ bomb laden tirade about how Kyle Bush (or insert offending driver) was an inadequate driver and should stay home knitting doilies rather than race around a track! Only this ‘post accident’ Tony Stewart didn’t do that. He didn’t ‘Tony Stewart’ us with profanities and immature antics. He was contrite, apologetic and held a sense of responsibility.
Much like we all have to do in our daily lives.