Thursday, March 5, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Column: Waiting to hear from Tony Stewart

By
From page B1 | August 16, 2014 |

Plenty of people have weighed in on the tragic events last weekend at a short track in New York.

A few were there. Many weren’t.

But there’s only one person who really knows what happened: Tony Stewart.

Until he talks openly and honestly about what was going through his mind when he came around a turn and saw — or maybe didn’t see — 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. standing in the track, NASCAR officials should not allow Stewart back into the ride that pays his bills.

Everyone is eager to hear what he has to say, his supporters especially.

“I think a lot of us and many people out there will feel better hearing his side of the situation,” fellow Sprint Cup star Jimmie Johnson said Friday. “I know what I believe happened. I think it was completely an accident. So, in time, we’ll see — when Tony is able to talk and how things go from there.”

Stewart has already sat out one race since the incident, and he won’t be competing Sunday at Michigan.

According to his team, Stewart is still riddled with grief and in no shape to drive his No. 14 car.

That could be telling.

Stock car drivers are different than the rest of us. Quite understandably, given their profession involves racing side by side at speeds approaching 200 mph. Death is a constant companion, so they can’t be frightened of it. When it does come, they’re a lot more adept at dealing with it than the average human being, even if they’re involved in a wreck that costs someone else their life.

Back in 2001, on the final turn of the Daytona 500, Sterling Marlin’s front bumper made contact with Dale Earnhardt’s rear bumper. Just two guys racing hard to win the sport’s biggest race. But Earnhardt, a seven-time Cup champion, swerved straight into the outside wall. He died instantly.

Marlin received hate mail and death threats afterward, but he was back racing the very next weekend. So was Dale Earnhardt Jr., just days removed from burying his father.

While Stewart has surely been told by his legal team to stay quiet, his decision not to race raises at least a couple of scenarios: He is so shaken up by what was nothing more than an awful accident that he’s actually considering whether he wants to keep racing at age 43. Or he knows deep in his heart that his well-documented temper got the best of him. When he came around that turn and spotted a young driver with the gall to shake a fist at him, he made the split-second decision to give him a little scare and his car wound up hitting him.

Again, there’s only one person who truly knows the answer to that question.

“Is he going to say what he done?” asked the victim’s father, Kevin Ward Sr., in an interview with The Syracuse Post-Standard.

But those words should be filtered through the prism of a grieving parent, who is obviously in no position to pass balanced judgment in this case.

Judging from the grainy, shaky video of the incident, the younger Ward deserves plenty of blame.

Angry at being pushed into the wall by Stewart, he had no business getting out of his car and storming toward the apron of the track, where other cars continued to speed by even though the race was under a yellow flag. It looked as though the car just in front of Stewart actually swerved to miss Ward.

Obviously, Stewart did not, but it very well could be that he just didn’t have enough time.

While we wait to hear from Stewart, NASCAR took an overdue step Friday to improve the safety of its drivers. The governing body said they cannot approach the track or moving cars after accidents, requiring them to stay in their machines until emergency crews arrive unless there are extenuating circumstances such as fire in the cockpit.

But NASCAR didn’t go far enough with the potential penalties. In fact, no one really knows what could happen to a driver who breaks the rule, since VP of competition and racing development Robin Pemberton called it a “behavioral-type thing” that will “be addressed according to each situation.”

Obviously, NASCAR doesn’t want stray too far from its good ol’ boy image, knowing fans get a kick out of drivers throwing tantrums for all to see. The organization should have mandated, at the very least, a one-race suspension for anyone who violates the rules, even longer for repeat offenders.

We don’t need any more tragedies because of out-of-control emotions.

On the video of last week’s incident, it looked as though Stewart turned his wheel to the left — with Ward coming at him from the right — which caused the back end of the winged car to slide around. There are those who claim Stewart stepped on the gas when he saw Ward, but others have countered that a sprint car is controlled as much with the throttle as with the steering wheel.

Stewart very plausibly could have been trying to avoid Ward.

Now, it’s time to confront the truth.

Smoke, tell us what happened.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Suisun residents not happy with proposed water rate hikes

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Docs: No significant impact from tons of SF waste sent to Solano

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Show resilience in the face of adversity

    By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

     
    Limited damage to apartment from carport fire

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Students sample industry choices during school career fair

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Car burglaries lead to Vacaville man’s arrest

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

    Police arrest trio from Martinez in Vacaville

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

     
    Real McCoy II Ferry set for maintenance

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

    Vacaville police slate annual awards ceremony

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

     
    Jury convicts ex-con who served as own lawyer

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4

    Red Carpet Gala to benefit theater foundation

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

     
    Pet remembrance event set in Vallejo

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

    Suisun police plan community meeting downtown

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

     
    Friday concert benefits Families Helping Families

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

    Fairfield OKs $54,467 consultant pact after the fact

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

     
    Vallejo police arrest 4 in connection with 3 killings

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

     
    National Red Cross Month celebrates heroes

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

    Il Fiorello schedules citrus class

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

     
    Suisun City police log: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    Fairfield police log: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    .

    US / World

    Woodland mom charged with manslaughter in death of infant

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Justices sharply divided over health care law subsidies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    ‘It was him': Defense admits Tsarnaev bombed Boston Marathon

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    More mutilated animals found in California’s capital city

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    California lawmaker pushes child care worker vaccinations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Children in Southern California breathing easier, study says

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Failures by 3 governments preceded homeless man’s death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Second Los Angeles hospital reports ‘superbug’ infections

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Fossil jaw sheds light on turning point in human evolution

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Feds: Evidence backs Ferguson officer’s account in shooting

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    A defiant Alabama regains ground against gay marriage

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    How much sugar is in that? 7 foods with added sugar

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Senate fails to override Obama’s veto of pipeline bill

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Obama signs Homeland Security funding bill into law

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    House panel issues subpoena for Clinton’s personal emails

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Microsoft co-founder says he found sunken Japan WWII warship

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Italy rescues more than 1,000 migrants at sea; 10 perish

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Coal mine blast kills at least 24 in war-torn east Ukraine

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    .

    Opinion

     
    Headwinds at home drive Korea Inc. abroad

    By William Pesek | From Page: A7

    How can I be sick when I feel great?

    By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: March 5, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: March 5, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: March 5, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    I can’t tell if I still want to be married, or just don’t want to be alone

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    DiCaprio partners with Netflix for series of documentaries

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ tops MTV Movie Awards nominations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    Glen Campbell children fighting wife’s control of affairs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Posey has 2-run double in Giants’ 9-2 loss to A’s

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Local report: Vanden softball slips by Rodriguez with late run

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

    Curry shoots Warriors to 102-93 victory over Bucks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    ‘It WAS him': Defense admits Tsarnaev bombed Boston Marathon

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    With Peterson’s status in question, Vikings pay a visit

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    NFL stadium supporters in LA suburb file ballot paperwork

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Alex Johnson, AL batting champ in 1970, dies at age 72

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Goodell: NFL responsible for Super Bowl seating problems

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Former player Nate Jackson calls for NFL to allow marijuana

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Phoenix to install tire barriers before NASCAR visit

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Pirelli sticks with same tire choices for first 4 F1 races

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    AP Source: Peyton Manning returning for 18th NFL season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    NCAA reports big jump in home runs with new flat-seam ball

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    MLS, players agree in principle to 5-year deal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Prosecutors can’t bring up Florida shooting in ex-NFLer case

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Vikings agree to trade Cassel to Bills

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Scott opens a season of change at Doral

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Aaron D. Malave

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Thelma A. Roche

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Cesar Luis Garcia-Regalado

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

     
    Rodolfo Landabora Porquez

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9