Tuesday, August 12, 2014

COMMENTARY: In Defense Of Tony Stewart

Much has been said about NASCAR driver Tony Stewart in the aftermath of the Saturday incident that claimed the life of driver Kevin Ward, Jr. at New York’s Canandaigua Motorsports Park.

Some of it has been accurate, most has not.

Indisputable is the fact that Ward and Stewart tangled during the running of Saturday’s Empire Super Sprint event, with Ward’s car hitting the Turn Two wall. The 20-year old driver climbed from his damaged racer and attempted to confront Stewart, only to be struck and killed by the right-rear tire of Stewart’s car.

Since then, observers from outside the sport have attempted to categorize Stewart. It’s not an easy job, even for those of us who have known him for years. As Winston Churchill said of a World War II Russian counterpart, Stewart is “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

The three-time Sprint Cup Series champion wears his heart on his sleeve and says precisely what he thinks at all times, whether or not the rest of the world agrees.

He is emotional and outspoken, equally likely to hurl a helmet at a fellow competitor, or embrace him in a Victory Lane bear hug.

He can be snarky, abrasive and abrupt, and woe to the media member that asks him a silly question two weeks in a row. He can break you up with a bawdy barroom joke, or deliver insightful commentary that leaves you pondering the meaning of the universe.

He can be brusque and dismissive in one moment, incredibly giving in the next; shooing away adults to spend precious “one on one” time with a terminally ill youngster, despite the pressing demands of race day morning.   

He can refer to an ex-girlfriend as “dead weight,” then perform a stunning act of kindness for someone he has never met.

Stewart’s history is littered with periodic instances of boorish (though generally harmless) behavior, and in the court of public opinion, those outbursts make him an easy man to condemn. In the aftermath of Saturday night’s tragedy, terms like “hot head” and “loose cannon” have been bandied about freely, as if tossing a helmet or belittling a reporter somehow equals vehicular homicide.

In the topsy-turvy world of internet expertise, where every anonymous poster is an expert and no statement is too outrageous, it’s easy to paint Stewart as an out-of-control renegade. But nothing in his background -- no on-track crash, no post-race comment or off-track indiscretion – rises to the level of intentionally striking a fellow racer with a 1,375 pound Sprint Car.

Not even close.

None of us will ever know the whole truth about what happened Saturday night in upstate New York. Only two men know for sure, and one of them is dead. Regardless of what the authorities ultimately rule, there will be plenty of blame to go around, and while I have no idea what Tony Stewart was thinking on that fateful moment at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, I can tell you this as surely as I can tell you my own name.

Tony Stewart is no killer.

In the days following Ward’s death, changes are already being made to prevent anything like it from ever happening again. New York’s Brewerton and Fulton Speedways, along with New Jersey’s Bridgeport Speedway have each implemented rules requiring drivers to remain in their cars until released by safety personnel. If a driver exits his/her car, the red flag will immediately be displayed and that driver fined or suspended.

It’s a good start, and hopefully, more tracks will follow suit in the days and weeks to come.

Until then, I will continue to grieve the loss of Kevin Ward, a talented young racer whose future was snuffed out in one moment of unspeakable horror. I will grieve for the Ward family, who now must bury their 20-year old son beneath a mountain of “what ifs.” I will grieve for the drivers and teams of the Empire Super Sprint Series, who lost one of their own in a manner than will surely be seared into their minds and hearts forever. And I will grieve for the fans at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, for whom horror and grief should never have been part of the Saturday night game plan.


And yes, I will continue to grieve for Tony Stewart, a man whose greatest joy in life – driving a fire-breathing Sprint Car on a dusty Saturday night short track – may now be lost forever. Stewart’s colossal heart is most certainly broken today, even as he attempts to find the strength to once again climb behind the wheel of a race car. 

106 comments:

  1. Susan A11:40 AM

    Very well said. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous11:45 AM

    Very good article Moody.

    Nick H

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous11:52 AM

    As always Dave, you are a glowing beam of sanity in a tornado of insanity.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well said, again, Dave! A view "sensationalist" media types such as Nancy Grace and Keith Olberman could NEVER comprehend (nor care to RESEARCH)!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous11:55 AM

    Well said, Moody. My heart goes out to everyone involved, especially Ward's family and Tony.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous11:55 AM

    This is the best thing I've read following this tragedy so far. Hot heads, then heavy hearts.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dave, I realize NASCAR is your paycheck, and you must defend it's property (stars), but in a flash moment of anger a person may indeed commit murder. Yes murder. You can't take that second back. Believe what you want, but a skilled driver did just enough to leave the question open.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous2:37 PM

      Agreed 100%

      Delete
    2. Anonymous5:34 PM

      I hope you are never put in that position, be careful when throwing stones!!

      Delete
    3. Anonymous1:56 AM

      I hope you are never in a situation like this one behind the wheel of a sprint car, let alone another race car, vehicle etc. ... Under yellow means caution.. not stop.... I feel for his family, but he put himself in harms way.. broke the biggest safety rule out there... he left his car and not only left it but continued into on coming traffic.. You can clearly see him making advances down the track.. He was lucky that he wasn't hit by multiply cars.. The view of the videos that are available only give one glimpse into what was actually happening under that caution.. You can only see what is happening at that point.. What you see as a fan in the stands is totally different to any driver on the track.. They have very limited view.. They don't have the wide view as the spectator does... Their only true view is what they are getting over their receiver along with what is right in front of them.. If the track officials were not giving them the heads up that a person was on the track and that they needed to go way low they had no clue that someone was out there and advancing... he was almost hit by the car immediately in front and then you can clearly see that 14 did what he could to avoid contact as well (and before the argument is thrown back out there that he gassed it... Drive a Sprint... Know how they run/steer etc, and then come back with your argument!) ... It was dark, the kid was wearing black and advancing down a track that was still running cars under caution.. Again.. I feel horrible for his family.. but ultimately this isn't a one was right and one was wrong situation.. It was an unfortunate racing incident that will now taint the sport forever because of people that can't seem to see all sides...

      Delete
    4. Anonymous3:06 PM

      Obviously Pete has never been to a track of any sort and believe because your have a passion for a sport that you are going to defend that sport a 100%. This was a racing accident pure and simple. It is sad that Mr. Ward lost his life that night because Mr. Ward made a very poor decision to get out of his car under a yellow flag in a Black Fire Suit Black Helmet and on a very slick surface with cars going at a caution speed (30 to 50mph).

      Delete
  8. A tragedy for all involved. .. anything else would be repeating what Dave has articulated so well. ... prayers for healing go out to the Ward family, Stewart and all who witnessed this tragic event

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well said, Dave. You basically posted what I've been thinking over the last few days.

    Thoughts and prayers to both Kevin's family and Tony.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous12:15 PM

    finnaly someone who can say something without attacking the people he is talking about.Thanks Dave,and my thoughts go to all involved.Good luck Tony.

    ReplyDelete
  11. peter faux12:16 PM

    Dave as always you open are eyes and ears Thank You

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous12:21 PM

    The evidence of Tony's character that you speak of are all over this small city of Columbus Indiana..in our parks, at our schools, in our parades, making an appearance at the county fair, giving away loaded backpacks for kids going back to school, etc. I have never met Tony face to face, although i would love to. To thank him for all he does locally, and through the state. It is hard for me to imagine that some who could do such giving and kind things, would intentionally take a life. Especially a young man of 20, a fellow racer, someone's son.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sherry H12:23 PM

    Good job Moody. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Tony cultivated an image. He was always the tough guy. Quick to anger and quick to attack. Now that very same image that he so carefully built is coming back to haunt him.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous12:32 PM

    Very poignant story Dave! Racing is and always will be a dangerous sport. We have lost lots of greats and many unknowns as well. It is a passion that those of us who don't do it will never truly understand or feel. Our thoughts and prayers are with both Kevin's family and Tony Stewart during this difficult time for them and for racing fans everywhere in every discipline.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you for always rising above the rest.

    I have met Tony at a few different autograph sessions over the years, and he has always presented himself to be nothing short of a professional, appreciative, down home regular sweet guy, at least to this fan. He recently stopped signing to show me photos on his phone of his new dog. The year before he spent 5 minutes cuddling my Chihuahua. The man is not a sociopath as some are trying to portray him.

    Thank you again Moody, for continuing to be the voice of reason.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous12:54 PM

    Thank you for speaking for the majority of us.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Very Well said Dave..It's a very sad situation that should've never happened, but it did...Now is NOT the time to throw blame. Now IS the time to let the family grieve, and for Tony to come to terms with what has happened and allow himself to grieve as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:01 PM

      I have said almost the exact thing many times over the past few days. While my heart breaks for the Ward family I also have a very heavy heart for Tony. There are no words to describe what he's feeling right now and what he will deal with for the rest of his life. May God grant them some peace in this difficult time

      Delete
  19. Amazing piece of writing Dave. I appreciate your honesty and compassion for such a delicate situation. For someone who grew up around the local short track, I can't imagine how much pain the family is in as well as Tony.

    Jamie

    ReplyDelete
  20. Jon H1:05 PM

    Very well said.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Dear Dave,

    Thank you for saying what you did about our friend Tony, and doing it in such a heartfelt and eloquent way. Today's world seems filled with destruction and hatred. You sir, are a breath of fresh air.................

    Paul R

    ReplyDelete
  22. James P1:09 PM

    Dave-

    As someone who wants to do what you do for a living, I can honestly say that I would be happy if I only ended up being half as talented and professional as you are. This is what the American media needs to hear. Thank you so much for speaking out!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Not a killer indeed, but not without fault or blame either.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anonymous1:29 PM

    moody. ...you always write what I feel

    ReplyDelete
  25. michelle1:49 PM

    Couldnt say it better... Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  26. Very nice article. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved. Such a tragic accident.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you for your very well stated commentary on the sport and fans we all love.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anonymous2:17 PM

    Well written,well said !

    ReplyDelete
  29. Tracey2:22 PM

    Excellent ,Mr. Moody

    ReplyDelete
  30. Done with expertise and elegance .......thanks Dave!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Anonymous2:32 PM

    Stewart, time after time, has shown anger and aggression towards fellow competitors on the Sprint Cup level. When making an argument in defense of Stewart, you cannot cite actions outside his race cars. He consistently transforms into a different person behind the wheel.

    On numerous occasions, Stewart has been a down-right horrible example for young race fans who aspire to become drivers themselves. He is, without question, the biggest hypocrite in the Sprint Cup Series.

    This is coming from someone who used to pull for the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet before his incident with Matt Kenseth in the 2006 Daytona 500. As you probably know Dave, Tony was once again lashing out at his competitors for pulling dangerous moves during the Shootout. He goes on to intentionally crash Matt Kenseth down the backstretch, which had Kenseth's car facing the wrong direction, nearly stopped, as other cars deeper in the field flew past at 180 MPH. There are numerous other instances where Tony has blatantly wrecked others.

    Because of this, he has been setting bad on-track examples for kids like Kevin Ward Jr for nearly two decades at the highest level of Motorsports.

    Now, the reason we're talking about this... Nobody (that I know of) recently has had the courage to stand up to one of the biggest bullies in professional auto racing. Kevin Ward Jr did just that by showing his displeasure Saturday night. He was acting like, a 20-year old Tony Stewart.

    It really wouldn't come as a surprise if Tony wanted to scare Ward by flinging some dirt his way. He's done it before. If it was purely an accident and Tony didn't have hate in his heart at the moment he collided with the 20-year old, why didn't Tony slow down immediately? Why, as an incredible talented driver, couldn't Tony react in time when almost 10 other sprint cars did?

    From what I saw, Ward's head was spun like a top, and flung out of Tony's RR tire. As Ward's body laid there, it looked as if his head was facing up, and his body was facing down. He was likely still alive for a couple minutes because his helmet protected his brain.

    Imagine the mental damage that this incident has done to countless people. Including the safety workers who have to live with the image of Ward laying there helpless as they came to give aid.

    Everything about this situation certainly makes my mind reel. Only Tony really knows what happened, and he really needs to tell everyone. Based off past history, this isn't going to happen, but for the sake of his well-being, he needs to tell the truth, regardless of whether or not it lands him in jail for the rest of his life.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the Ward family. It was not Kevin's time. It looked like he had a very promising future, and the only thing I hope for is some kind of closure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ignorance is bliss, my friend...

      Delete
    2. Anonymous2:41 PM

      Hi Dave,

      What part of my post is ignorant? Just curious.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous2:50 PM

      "Stewart’s history is littered with periodic instances of boorish (though generally harmless) behavior, and in the court of public opinion, those outbursts make him an easy man to condemn."

      You said my post was ignorant Dave, yet these are your own words.

      Generally harmless are not the words I would use to describe his actions in the past. Everyone seems to forget how violent and aggressive he has been in the past when he has been involved in an on-track incident.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous4:11 PM

      Another reader who thinks his best tool is a shovel to help pile on. Imagine if it was Kyle Busch or brad Keselowski, would you have a pitchfork?

      Delete
    5. Anonymous7:32 PM

      I know you have a right to your opinion, as I have a right to voice mine, yes he has had outburst in the past. I would just love to see how you would have handled things on the track if you were a Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, or even A.J. Foyt, in your racing career? No need for blame game as the Ward Family and Tony Stewart lives are never going to be the same again.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:06 PM

      The graphic gory details are something that could have been left out of this comment. There are those of us who have been in accidents that have taken the life of another who don't need to read things like that

      Delete
    7. Anonymous5:53 AM

      Dude, you are an absolute idiot!!

      Delete
  32. Excellent piece, Dave!

    I do however, have to ask a question -- Doesn't the fact that several tracks (and surely there will be others) have mandated that drivers now remain with their cars after an incident unless fire or some other circumstance makes it safer not to imply that Mr. Ward's own actions were responsible for last Saturday night's tragedy?

    Again.... just asking the question. I'm not saying they did nor did not. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, it indicates that track promoters saw a way to improve safety at their facilities, and are acting on it.

      Delete
  33. Mike Popham4:06 PM

    Camera and its mic in bleachers shows cars coming down front stretch. It zooms in on cars going through turns 1 & 2. It stays zoomed in on wreck. Any sound that's heard would come from the front stretch. IMPOSSIBLE to have picked up sound of one car on backstretch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous5:22 PM

      Very insightful...had not thought of that...

      Delete
    2. Mike Popham6:12 PM

      Its a shame that there's not more people that use common sense and not jump to conclusions.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:53 AM

      I have been thinking that ever since I saw the video! That camera was a long way from the accident. Could have been any one of the 15-20 cars on the track that revved it's engine that you hear on the video. And I keep reading that the car spun to the right. I watched the video and the car does not fishtail to the right from that camera angle. If anything it appears to move left which is consistent with another driver account who was behind Stewart that says it appeared Tony tried to avoid Ward. And the other Driver was a friend of Ward's.

      Delete
  34. bryan gideon4:14 PM

    Here Here Moody

    ReplyDelete
  35. Anonymous4:14 PM

    Could not have said that better myself Dave. As always great commentary. THANKS

    ReplyDelete
  36. bryan gideon4:16 PM

    Can't agree with you more Moody

    ReplyDelete
  37. Randy Herring4:24 PM

    Thank you Dave for keeping it real for all. Sorry for their loss and hope Tony can make it through all the nay sayers.

    ReplyDelete
  38. F Lee Bailey once said " disorderly conduct, does not make you a murderer" and their is certainly no evidence to prove anything different...AMEN

    ReplyDelete
  39. Anonymous5:25 PM

    Dave Moody - you just can't stop protecting Tony Stewart - you defend him because your job depends on it!

    You and every other radio personality and media member is afraid to say the truth...you're afraid of the Nascar establishment and what your media friends will say if you took a step out and had courage.

    This investigation is still going on for the next few weeks because people are speaking up and saying the real truth and the investigators will find the truth. Tony is a bully and we all know that Tony likes to Buzz people and intimidate young drivers. he does it all the time, he just did it at Crystal Motor Speedway in Michigan when he won his first Sprint car race in his return and he does it almost ever sunday in nascar. You are part of the "nascar brotherhood" who thinks these drivers are God's and they are not.

    We all know the truth, Tony could have slowed down and missed Kevin Ward like other drivers - but he didn't - If Tony's dad, Nelson Stewart, was standing there, do you think Tony would have hit him? Tony Stewart made a decision to get close to Kevin and he hit and killed him. Period. Tony intended to get close to Kevin and intimidate him...I'm a lawyer and in the state of NY, that is 2nd degree manslaughter and I hope that Sheriff Povero and DA Michael Tantillo "throw the book at Tony" and let his career go up in smoke becasue that is what Tony deserves.

    That's the truch... Mr. Moody! Wake up and quit being a nascar Brown noser!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obviously, you've already made up your mind even though the investigation is still ongoing and not all the evidence is in. If, in fact, you are an attorney, you should be ashamed of yourself and immediately resign as an officer of the court.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous6:05 PM

      Anonymous, this incident will be debated for years to come. Both haters and supporters will have opinions that make absolutely no difference except in their own little minds.
      Why can't you let it go????.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous6:10 PM

      I feel sorry for anyone that you represent since you obviously can't base your opinion on the facts in front of you and make no effort to seek out the facts other than watching an video taken from the front stretch and zoomed in on the backstretch.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous6:49 PM

      This lawyer is an idiot and knows nothing about winged sprintcars... I do... raced them for over 10 years, owned them for more then 20 years. YOU ARE NO EXPERT!!! Do your homework Sir!!!

      Delete
  40. Fred V5:55 PM

    Here's a thought for Moody. Take a look at the video...the cars of Stewart and Ward never "collided" as you say. Poor research for your article if you ask me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fred V
      You take a look at the video, they most certainly did collide. Tony's right rear hid Ward's left front, for sure. Thats why Ward was so upset.

      Delete
    2. Tony's car positively hit Ward's car.. Tony's right rear hit Ward's left front wheel. That is why Ward was so upset with Steward.

      Delete
    3. Fred Voorhees9:34 AM

      Total BS...how long have you been in racing? No damned way those two cars ever touched. Sorry...if you can't see that...there is no reason to continue any kind of conversation. When you are ready to talk truths...come see me. A blind man can see that there was no contact between the two. Get yourselves some glasses. Wow!

      Delete
    4. Bobby Bolton11:47 AM


      If you can't put your name with your opinion why post it. It's easy to stand behind cover an lob handgernades at your foe.Man up an talk face to face.I don't know where to sign my name but it's going on here if I can find it.

      Delete
  41. Could not have said it better. Coming from a man who knows exactly who Tony is

    ReplyDelete
  42. Anonymous6:15 PM

    You have shut down every caller on your show for speculating. Not one word is allowed to be uttered, if the direction of the conversation leads to a caller saying what he/she thinks about what caused the death of Ward Jr., or if they say anything about Tony Stewart's intent.

    Well, this article is one big polished turd. You do not know his intent either, yet you claim he is no killer. You list his charitable contributions, as if that has any relevance to his actions on track.

    I find it interesting when there is a breaking news story about someone who snapped and killed someone, that interviews with neighbors and family usually have a bunch of people saying how great a guy he was. "He would never do something like this!" Yet they did. Because nobody knows what is going on deep inside somebody's mind. You quoted Churchill, yet pronounced Tony's innocence. How do you know? You said there was no intent on Tony's part... How do you know? You said he is not a killer. How do you know?

    You are guilty of the same speculation as the callers you shut down. You claim to know his intent, but you do not. You know about Tony, what Tony lets you know.

    This article to me came off as heavily slanted in Tony's favor. He can do no wrong. Unfortunately, he did wrong. You can write all you want about poor media coverage, just make sure you lump yourself in with that crowd. Normally I find myself firmly in your corner. I feel you missed the mark on this.

    He may give to charity. He may hang out with poor sick kids. He also may have screwed up.

    Personally, I think he screwed up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you have a wife, "Anonymous?" Do you know what she's thinking at every moment of every day? Of course not. And yet, you know her well enough to know that she's not a cold-blooded killer.

      That's how I know.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous6:46 PM

      speculating


      You have no right to. Nor does anyone else. Trying to find a roundabout way to convict Tony without the investigation completed is bs and all of you internet experts know it.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous6:50 PM

      Have you shared your most intimate secrets with Tony, and him you? Did you stand in front of your friends and family and promise a life of devotion to him? Do you lay next to him in bed every night? Do you spend as much of you free time with him as you can?

      Comparing what I know about my wife, and what you know about Tony Stewart, is like comparing apples and tater tots.

      Nice try, but that was a stretch.

      -Steve G.
      Livermore, Ca.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous7:15 PM

      Not trying to convict anyone. But, by no means do I think he should be getting this free pass. Let's let the investigation be completed.

      If you are going to come out and throw rose petals at his feet, don't be surprised when some rotten tomatoes get tossed in for some levity.

      I don't ever recall saying he was a cold blooded killer as you so sensationally put it. I said he screwed up.

      See how the media blows things out of proportion?

      Delete
    5. Trying to find a roundabout way to prove Tony's innocence without the investigation completed is bs and all of you internet experts know it

      Delete
    6. Anonymous11:59 PM

      Dave, you can kill someone without being a "cold-blooded killer"

      You aren't making sense.

      Delete
    7. Bobby Bolton11:52 AM

      These anonymous people just get to me .You want people to know what you think. but you are scared to let them know who you are. If you're scared to own up to your scribble,then don't scribble at all.

      Delete
  43. Rick Reid6:46 PM

    It's too bad that cowards have to post under the name "Anonymous."
    Anonymous says "Tony is a bully and we all know that Tony likes to Buzz people and intimidate young drivers. he does it all the time,"
    Yes, he does. So have a lot of other drivers including Dale Earnhardt. That's just it, Tony was intimidating a fellow driver and had no intention of hurting anyone. When the young Mr. Ward jumped back away from the first car, whose to say he didn't take a step forward again into Tony's path? The video is unclear.
    As Dave says No-one will ever know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Tony was intimidating a fellow driver and had no intention of hurting anyone."

      If the investigation results in the above conclusion, Stewart will be charged with 2nd degree Manslaughter - Involuntary Manslaughter. Such a charge requires only that Stewart was negligent - intent is not necessary. If it is concluded Stewart did turn toward Ward in an effort to intimidate him, such a charge is justified. Then, if the charge is handed down, of course Stewart's history of acting impulsively in reaction to his anger, both on and off the tract, will be presented to a jury as evidence he tried to intimidate Ward.

      I don't know if Stewart tried to intimidate Ward. That's for the investigation to decide. But it is too early to write a defense for him until the investigation is complete.

      Delete
  44. Dave, I normally agree with you but I can't on this one. You are pushing the narrative that Stewart is innocent when you yourself said you don't know all the facts. There is a very good chance that Stewart accelerated to intimate or scare Ward. Do I believe Stewart intended to Kill Ward? Absolutely not, but given Stewart's past on track issues you can't ignore the possibility that he intended to intimidate or scare Ward. Just like you, I don't know the facts and can only go off of his past behavior and the video I watched. Pushing a "Stewart is innocent" narrative is your right but I'd expect you, with your vast experience in racing & broadcasting, to be fair to both parties involved and not let your love for Stewart and NASCAR make you only think with one side of your brain.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I'm sorry, but I cannot have any sympathy for Stewart. That several tracks have implemented rules requiring drivers to stay in their cars is absurd because nothing Kevin Ward did was wrong; these new rules are basically trying to palm away responsibility. It is 100% the responsibility of drivers not to hit anyone on foot on a racetrack - as the other drivers did in passing Ward without problem. Stewart thus bears 100% responsibility for hitting Ward. There is no alibi for what Stewart did and there isn't "plenty of blame to go around." Tony Stewart struck and killed another driver who was on foot on the racetrack when he could have avoided contact with him.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Anonymous9:17 PM

    Don't mind Dave he's toeing the company line. In his world if a crashcar driver like Stewart throws money at some charity it magically erases many instances when his temper has put other drivers lives in danger.. The Kenseth instance etc

    ReplyDelete
  47. Bobby Sergeant9:58 PM

    Wonderfully written Moody. After seeing the original video that is now being showed in slow motion, I see many posts from the "haters" taking back their comments. I will not speculate as to what happened, but I do feel the new version of the video should shed more light in the defense of Tony.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Great Job Dave Moody. As a Nascar fan and a Tony fan the coverage of this has made me so furious at times. Tony is no murderer this was a freak accident that happened. It's funny how so many haters can hate and not know a thing abt racing. I've said several times since this happened it wouldnt be in the news if the 45 car had been the one that hit Kevin Ward Jr. or if it had been Kasey Kahen or Kyle Larson since they drive these sprint cars also, but since it was Tony and his old reputation of being a hot head it has been blown so far out of the water its crazy. What people seem to forget is all drivers have tempers and this could of been avoided if they had different rules in effect that are now being started because of this tragedy. My heart goes out to Tony with what he's going thru and with the Ward family. Its sad to say it takes something like this for rule changes and safety precautions to be made, example of Dale Sr losing his life and the changes that were made. People need to stop being judge and jury. There are only Tony, Kevin Ward Jr and God that really know what happened and we all know theres 2 that cant speak up, let the authorities investigate and go from there. Prayers to Tony and to the Ward family.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Anonymous10:50 PM

    Kevin in retrospect should have stayed in his car, but he did not do anything out of the norm and he did not have the ability to kill someone by stepping out of the car. Tony may have not seen him, or may have played a childish prank gone wrong. I do not think he intended to kill someone. The video footage out now does not provide enough information to make that call. Other videos may emerge that can determine if Tony could have or should have seen Kevin. Other Drivers passing
    Kevin would also have a great amount of information that is of value, but in the end only Tony Stewart will know for sure. That being said only two scenarios seems logical, Tony tried to intimidate Kevin and made a mistake or somehow he was unable to see him in time. I don't think he intended to kill Kevin. His past history does cloud complete objectivity somewhat.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Anonymous10:57 PM

    In defense of Tony? Why? How about in support of Kevin. He is dead and did the same thing Tony does by getting out of the car. The Jury is out as to whether Tony should be defended.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Anonymous3:01 AM

    When the dust settles and it will, more than likely Stewart will continue to be the toast of Nascar and the media despite the abuse he has heaped over them for years will continue. I find it offensive for the weak "reporters" who's paycheck always depended on making Tony "happy" and not to make him upset. No doubt, his ever present man servant Zippy will be keeping track of all questionable reporting and have these "media" types handled accordingly. Tony will continue to be kept happy, bet on it.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Anonymous5:14 AM

    Very well said Dave. I am not a Stewart fan, but I pray that Tony does compete at Michigan this coming Sunday. The sooner her gets back in the Car the better. I fear that if he waits too long he may not return to racing.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Anonymous7:13 AM

    You left out the "do as I say not as I do" aspect of his personality.

    I find this article a bit lacking in objectivity as well. It comes off a bit too protective of Tony.

    Maybe you do know Tony well enough to know what he's thinking or what he's capable of. I know that people that like Jeremy Mayfield vehemently defended him regardless of the mounting evidence to the contrary.

    While your opinion is as valid as anyone else's, maybe you are too close to Tony to be objective.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Anonymous8:52 AM

    I have read every body commet, One Ward should have stayed in car , waited for proper people to get to him. as far as Tony pushing in the wall, they both did it. That is racing. Yes Tony is hot headed, so was Ward,what I saw with the vedio, after the first car passed him ward came down in front of Tony, He wanted to make sure that Tony would see him, but is did not work out that. If you step out in front a car , you asde to be hit.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Anonymous9:28 AM

    The sad part is, this is only a story because it involved someone "famous", Tony Stewart. If it had been any other driver on the track,and it easily could have been, it would have been treated as a non story. The only coverage would have been local and all those piling on with opinions wouldn't cared.

    ReplyDelete
  56. First I don't think Stewart intended to maim or kill Kevin Ward. But anybody who has driven a race car knows that at times your emotions take control. Its generally called the "red mist" and it happens to everybody.
    Stewart's was the 7 th car who reached the young man standing on the track. And the only one which appeared to move up the track rather than down. While it may appear that Stewart intended to throw a little dirt on a brash driver we will never know.
    Only Stewart knows and he will likely carry that to his grave.

    ReplyDelete
  57. AMEN!!! Godfather, Please keep being the voice of reason.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Wow. The scale of this article is tipped heavily in favor of Tony Stewart. I can't even take it seriously.

    In your opinion, do charitable contributions mean you can do no wrong? Do they absolve you of your sins? Or, do you feel Stewart is above making mistakes?

    I wouldn't jump as far in the other direction and say Stewart is a murderer, but a lapse in judgement, or a miscalculation, can result in tragedy.

    This is a rare instance when I am leaping from the bus your driving. Normally, you are the voice of reason, driving with eyes wide open, and pointing out to people other considerations, before they make a judgement. Seems this trip, you are driving with your eyes shut tight, afraid of what lies ahead.

    ReplyDelete
  59. In fairness to Tony Stewart and with all due respect and condolences to the Ward family in face of their tragic loss, Kevin Ward was clearly a "wreckless" party to the accident by approaching moving race vehicles with chassis set-ups not conducive to evasive maneuvers on a slick surface even at caution lap speeds approaching 50 mph. In fact the sprint car immediately proceeding Stewart's came very close to hitting Ward. From Stewart's standpoint, can you reasonably expect him to anticipate a pedestrian driver (obscured by the lighting conditions and the large winged car immediately ahead of him) to approach his car from the middle of the track. Stewart may have been angry but for observers to infer negative motives and denigrate his reaction to the sudden situation as it occurred on track is unfair based on video evidence I have seen.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Anonymous12:29 PM

    Thank you for finally bringing some intelligence to an extremely difficult Situation. The lynch mob mentality has overtaken the media. Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty". If you believe in America you believe that the justice system will find the truth. It is a tragedy to everyone involved. Let's not crucify a man for something that no one knows the truth about. I am not a Tony Stewart fan but I do not believe for one minute that any racer would intentionally try to kill another driver. Give it a rest. Mr. Ward acted in a very stupid manner and unfortunately the consequences were severe.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Anonymous12:47 PM

    Tony Stewart may have done nothing wrong in this case. We'll have to wait for the findings of the investigation.
    However, food for thought....
    When Tony ran Matt Kenseth into the infield at Daytona or Talladega (can't remember which) did he want to cause Kenseth any physical harm? Could he have?
    When Carl Edwards sent Brad Kesolowski into the catch fence at Atlanta did he want to cause any harm to Kesolowski? Could he have?
    When Jeff Gordon wrecked Clint Bowyer at Phoenix did he want to cause any harm to Bowyer? Could he have?
    When Dale Jarrett wrecked Ryan Newman at Bristol back in 2003 or 2004 (can't remember which) did he want to cause any harm to Newman? Could he have?

    When that average Joe that lives next door got into his car last night after drinking 6 beers did he want to cause anyone any harm? Could he have?

    Bottom line is, whether you intend to cause harm to someone or not, when you step over any line, $%it happens. And when it does, you pay a price regardless of what your intent was.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Anonymous1:39 PM

    Another well thought out and very realistic article Dave! I do not think of Mr. Ward as the victim in this tragic accident. Mr Ward's temper clouded any rationale reaction to handling the contact incident between himself and another competitor. He placed himself in harm's way, not considering the danger that he posed to himself or to the other racers. To me, Tony is the inncoent victim in this tragic accident {no I am not a Tony fan; I do have a favorite driver that I cheer for}. Had Mr. Ward been able to control his emotions, he would not have stepped out onto the racing surface. I believe that through the years Mr. Ward's ego may have been fueled by arrogant beliefs of how great he was. In his mind no professional was going to get the best of him. In a statement issued by Mr. Ward's father, he said that we have lost a very talented race car driver. These words from Mr Ward Sr. have shocked me! Why would he not have said that he lost a great son???????

    ReplyDelete
  63. Anonymous3:39 PM

    Another Great Job Godfather !!!!! So glad you wrote this article

    ReplyDelete
  64. Paying attention to this coward from ESPN only increases his ratings. It's obvious ESPN sanctions his behavior, so as fans we must ignore it and maybe protest ESPN through signs or turning our backs on the first lap to express our displeasure with ESPN.


    Shame on them

    ReplyDelete
  65. Anonymous12:43 AM

    Godfather. You're a joke. The yellow was out, they were going 30 MPH and Stewie ran him over. That is manslaughter which should eventually be the issue in further legal proceedings.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Anonymous11:51 AM

    I've read each and every comment. I'm puzzled that no one has remembered that in our legal system one is assumed to be innocent until proven guilty (Ellen, JJ's grlfrnd)

    ReplyDelete
  67. Anonymous12:38 AM

    Let's see now. Tony was driving under the yellow flag at 30 mph and didn't see the victim? Is that right? He revs his engine and spins his wheels, the back end hops out. Sounds like manslaughter to me.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Anonymous9:45 PM

    thanks for printing my highly offensive opinion, mr godfather. you're not a joke.i'm sorry. now, danica is a joke but that's a different subject.

    ReplyDelete