Everyone has one, and they usually stink.
I’ve remained silent on the Stewart/Ward incident since it first came to light in the wee hours on Saturday night.
There were far too many questions, and not enough answers to form any reasonable opinions. I saw no reason to add to the noise.
3 days later, nothing has changed in that regard. So why speak up now?
Because I’m just so fucking irritated.
I HATE when something negative happens in the racing world. (no matter the series/genre) It becomes a call to arms for every Johnny-come-lately, couch jockey, who knows fucking NOTHING about the sport, to pontificate, and accuse, and jump on the bandwagon. Most of them with no skin in the game, so no regard for the consequences of their words and actions.
Then there are those in the know (or who claim to be) that stir the pot for their 15 minutes of internet and news cycle fame. Sensationalism at it’s worst. Click bait for hits, and links, and retweets, and ratings.
There are two people that know, without a doubt, what transpired on Saturday night. Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward. That is it. And even their versions (had Ward survived) would likely have differed in interpretation.
I don’t watch Sprint racing, so I know nothing of what it takes to manoeuvre those cars around the track. To speculate in anyway on the actions of Tony Stewart from a technical point of view would be misinformed on my part.
I’m also not going to jump on the blame the victim bandwagon. This situation is tragic enough without the undertone of “he had it coming” added to the mix.
Do I think he holds some culpability for running around on a hot track. Yes. Have we all done something stupid in the heat of the moment when we were in our 20’s? Fuck Yes.
Have we seen other drivers, in other series, attempt to do the same thing? yup. (I’m just glad that there are a handful of strong men in Orange and white fire suits that wrestle our angry drivers out of harms way in the heated moments.)
99/100 times, he would have made a foul familiar gesture that we have seen many times over in similar situations, and walked back to his car. Done. Move on to the next event.
But a multitude of circumstances beyond anyones control collided in that moment, and well, we all know the outcome. To assign blame to either is futile. It changes nothing. All we can do is reflect, learn from the situation, and move on.
Most of all, right now, It makes me incredibly angry to see a man being absolutely vilified based on a handful of “hot headed” soundbytes and moments over the course of his career, to the point of accusations of intention and cries for murder charges.
Give your fucking heads a shake.
I don’t know Tony Stewart personally. But I do know many other professional drivers on a personal level. NONE of them, not even the ones with “tough guy” reputation, would in a million years, even in their most heated moments, ever, EVER intentionally aim their vehicle at another competitor, especially one standing outside of their car. It just wouldn’t happen.
Those out there that even entertain that notion are merely playing their hand and showing the world just how truly ignorant they are, and how little they know about racing and the racing community.
These men and women willfully get into a car and risk their lives (their own lives, not their competitors). The respect they have for their machines, their colleagues, and their sport flies in the face of all of the uneducated, ignorant commentary and accusations.
Stop making a “story” out of this tragedy. It’s heartbreaking enough for all involved without turning it into a lynching or a movie of the week.
I wish for a sense of unity and protection for our racing community. Let’s not play into their storyline. Let’s stop fanning the flames. Stop commenting on and sharing the sensationalistic stories. Don’t validate the ignorance.
I wish for peace and healing for the friends and family of Kevin Ward, and the same for the friends and family of Tony Stewart.
Mostly I wish for peace and healing for Tony Stewart. I can’t imagine what he is going through right now.
The only saving grace at the moment is that there will always be another bigger story around the corner to distract this A.D.D society. Perhaps the devastating news of the loss of Robin Williams today, which broke just as I started to write this earlier, will shake some sense into this world… least for a few hours.