KTB Is Watchin: Tony Stewart
Admittedly, I am not a NASCAR fan. Actually, being black, from the northeast and having lived exclusively in cities, it is the one sport I know little of.
Tony Stewart is one of the sport’s most successful drivers. On August 9, Stewart killed fellow competitor Kevin Ward during a race on the clay surface oval in Cananduigua, NY after he was struck by a car driven by Stewart. Ward was 20 years old.
As I said, I am not qualified to expound upon aggressive driving, the rules of caution, or the fluid mechanics of cars in general. I do know a pattern of behavior when I see it, and I can confidently say Tony Stewart is in a word “aggressive”. Of course, this has little bearing as to why someone would walk onto a racetrack with cars speeding around it, but I can see why people are saying he may have done it on purpose. Look at this man’s rap sheet.
October 3rd, 1999
Stewart, then a rookie, was involved in multiple incidents with the late Kenny Irwin Jr. at Martinsville Motor Speedway, ending with Stewart in the wall and reaching through Irwin’s right-side window in retaliation. He also threw his heat shields at Irwin. Stewart was fined $5,000 by NASCAR.
At Daytona Motor Speedway, Stewart and Robby Gordon scrapped on the track and in the garage. It culminated with Stewart attempting to slap Gordon.
At Watkins Glen, Stewart and Jeff Gordon were involved in a post-race war of words in the garage after a crash. The two were separated by crew members.
At Bristol, Gordon spun Stewart in the closing laps of the Bristol spring race. Stewart spun out Gordon on pit road after the race.
At Daytona, Stewart slapped a tape recorder out of a reporter’s hand and kicked it under a team hauler. Stewart also got into a confrontation with Cup series director Gary Nelson. He was fined $10,000 and placed on probation through season’s end.
Stewart shoved a photographer at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He was placed on probation.
At Sonoma, Stewart was placed on probation after an altercation with Brian Vickers following the race. Vickers said Stewart hit the armrest, reached in the car, grabbed his chest, and hit him.
At Bristol, Stewart was fined $5,000 after intentionally hitting Vickers following a Busch Series race. He was placed on probation until year’s end.
At Pocono, Stewart had a crash and dispute with Clint Bowyer on the track and after the race, hitting Bowyer’s car on the cool-down lap. Stewart took responsibility for the incident.
At Dover, Stewart was involved in an on-track incident with Kurt Busch. Busch responded by charging at Stewart’s car on pit road and almost hitting a member of Stewart’s pit crew.
At Daytona, Stewart was involved in a crash during practice with Busch, and they banged into each other on pit road. Afterward, Stewart allegedly punched Busch in a NASCAR hauler.
In Australia, Stewart is briefly jailed after throwing a helmet at and then fighting Parramatta City Raceway co-owner Brett Morris. Morris did not press charges but said, “I don’t care who Tony Stewart is, if he wants to come to Australia and throw a helmet, he’d better learn to fight.”
At Bristol, after a crash with Matt Kenseth, Stewart throws his helmet at Kenseth’s car when it passed on pit road. I guess he didn’t learn his lesson from Australia.
At Fontana, Stewart got into it with Joey Logano on pit road. Water bottles were thrown after Logano blocked Stewart on the track.
At Richmond, Stewart and Busch repeatedly banged their cars into each other during the cool-down laps after a skirmish on the track. I have grown tired of researching these incidents, so we’ll stop here.
It’s pretty clear to me that Stewart is not the only guy who does this who needs to have a Coke and a smile. It is also clear that a lot of these incidents are just par for the course when it comes to being a professional racecar driver. To anyone who doesn’t know or understand these things about NASCAR (including me), these incidents in their totality (and there could be nay probably are more) looks bad. Real bad.