Before I start with my post, please remember, what I say here are my opinions, my words. I always invite comments to my posts, but if you are coming here to be judgmental, to troll, or to be downright nasty, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME! All I ask is to keep an open mind. You don’t have to agree with me, but you can respect what I or others have to say.
I haven’t been vocal about the tragic accident that took Kevin Ward Jr.’s life. Here what I posted back on August 12 on Bad Groove.
“I haven’t been vocal about all of this on Facebook or elsewhere. One I am still in shock about this past weekend’s events. The more stories I see about it, the angrier I get. I am angry with media outlets who have no clue about what they are talking about. They want to vilify Tony Stewart. All they show are the angry outbursts of this man. I don’t have blinders on when it come to Tony. He has a history of anger management issues. You can’t judge who he is as a person by those snippets. We have all had times where we have blown up in the heat of the moment. Those are just a fraction of what Tony Stewart is as a person. He is a loving and caring person with one of the biggest hearts around. Last year I read an article about the crash that left him with a broken leg. He made a last-minute decision to turn his car to avoid hitting another competitor. A move that cost Tony a broken leg, but saved that man’s life. That’s why when I hear people say he turned intentionally to hit Mr. Ward, I just get angrier and angrier.
People have asked the question should Tony Stewart be racing at these dirt tracks? My answer is yes (please note, my initial post said no, I hit submit, before I could edit it). Tony is a racer. Dirt racing is his passion. It’s his baby. How can you ask someone to give up something they love, something that is part of who he is. I am sure Tony is asking himself these very same questions.
I can’t even begin to understand what Tony is going through at this point in time. Yes, he was behind the wheel of his race car when he struck a fellow driver which resulted in the death of Kevin Ward Jr. That will always be with Tony. He will always wonder if I had this or that, would it have made a difference. I don’t know and we will probably never know. This incident has not only changed Tony in a profound way, but the whole racing community
All I ask from people who know me, as well as you (Amy from Bad Groove), take the time to ask questions. Ask me about Tony Stewart the person. Ask me about what happened. Ask me about my loyalty to Tony Stewart. I will try to help you understand so you can feel compassion for a man who is devastated and heartbroken. This is not a time to judge. Even thought I do not know Tony Stewart personally, my heart aches for him. One last thing, Dale Jarrett is a class act. We should all take a page from his book.”
That was pretty much the only time I have commented about the tragic incident involving Tony Stewart until today.
I just finished watching the press conference during my lunch hour. This would be the first time since the accident we would see Tony Stewart. Before he even said a word, I could tell he was still shaken up about the events from that night. You don’t have to be a race fan to know this accident has greatly affected him and will for a long time. I don’t know where he found the strength to sit in front of the media and speak from the heart. I am sure there will be those who will criticize him for not answering questions about, but I didn’t want him to. The investigation is still open and as he said, he is respecting the process of everything. If that sticks in your craw then so be it. His remarks were genuine. They didn’t seem forced, contrite, or arrogant. I believe he is truly sorry for what happened.
Some of you may ask how can I be objective, you ARE, after all, a Tony Stewart fan. I have tried to remain objective–trying to understand and respect everyone’s viewpoints. However, it has been difficult. Part of it has to do with those who don’t even understand the sport of NASCAR. Frankly most people don’t care and won’t take the time to learn. Ask someone who doesn’t follow the sport what NASCAR is all about. You get the usual, “all they do is go in circles” or “all they do is make left turns”. NASCAR is just full of ignorant rednecks. Of course my personal favorite is, “you just love to watch because of the wrecks”. That’s fine–it’s their opinion. I have been known on occasion to rant about my love for NASCAR here in The Park. I am a NASCAR fan and a Tony Stewart fan! I will never apologize for it. I have been following Tony in NASCAR since about 2006. I chose Tony Stewart. He is the driver I cheer for each week during NASCAR season. I have shelled sums of my own money to buy souvenirs and autographed items. And some special people out there have shelled out money as well to buy me Tony Stewart gifts. I will continue to support Tony Stewart. I will continue to watch him race every year in NASCAR until he, dare I say it, retires.
I believe it is time for Tony to return to racing. He needs it to continue the healing process. Grief has no time-table. It has not set pattern. We all grieve differently. I still grieve for both my parents who I lost in 2011. The pain of that loss will never leave me, but I have learned to cope in order to live my life. I believe that is what Tony is trying to do this weekend.
I leave you with words from Tony Stewart (spoken today at his press conference)…”This is a sadness and a pain that I hope no one has to experience in their life.”