As the conversation regarding Tony Stewart’s intentions rage on despite little to no facts being yet available to the public, we here at Mr. Conservative thought we’d touch on a little lesser known truth regarding the NASCAR driver. We all know that after the accident Stewart bowed out from the race in Watkins Glen, but the “why” is what makes this story so amazing.
The death of Kevin Ward Jr. was undoubtedly a tragedy and an argument better served for a later date, but Stewart, as announced by his director, Greg Zipadelli, was “business as usual” amongst the hours immediately following the 20-year-old’s death. As tensions rose, and speculations came forward , it seems that Stewart had only one reality in which he could cave to, and eventually did – to opt out of the race.
Now, for many, Stewart is known as an egotistical hot head who has been in his fair share of controversy, but amongst the garages and personal friends, he’s quite the amazing guy. According to Sporting News:
[H]e’s also known for having a big heart. When he won the Nationwide Series race in February 2013 at Daytona International Speedway, where more than 30 fans were injured from flying debris from a late crash, he was somber in victory lane and went unannounced to the hospital to visit the injured fans. Many people in the garage have stories of his generosity.
Despite the fact that he’s a determined race car driver however, it seemed that there was only one way in which this decision could have gone overall. Unless he wanted to display a perceived notion of insensitivity, for both himself and NASCAR as a whole, Stewart had to back out, and he did just that.
No one here could possibly argue how important drivers take their sport and dedication to their fans which made this announcement all the more incredible. Although NASCAR has within their authority to bench a driver, they instead let Stewart make the decision on his own – and the fact that he did only goes to show what kind of guy he really is.
Now yes, Stewart could have hunkered down and buried himself in his work to pull him through these tough times – heck, he could have even won a spot in the Sprint Cup. As a whole though it would have not only been detrimental to his own reputation, but NASCAR’s as well, relaying the perception that the sport doesn’t care and that money and glory come before all else, damn those that dare try and step in the way.
Stewart’s decision went to prove that sometimes someone else’s best interest comes above yourself and he had the compassion to demonstrate that fully. There is no glorification in a young man of only 20 years having lost his life, but for Stewart to acknowledge this tragedy, and put the deceased boy’s family above his own interests clearly conveys the mindset that so many others already know Stewart to have.