What happened with Stewart?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bleary-eyed and trying to wake up on Sunday, I noticed I had a text message from one of my friends.

“Are you keeping up with the Tony Stewart news?” she said.

“I haven’t been,” I said. “What’s up?”

After a few more texts back and forth and some time trying to figure out what in God’s name happened, the sad reality set in.

Honestly, I couldn’t believe it and it was pretty strange to hear the news that Stewart struck Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Saturday night in New York state.

Reports indicate that Ward got out of his car and was “visibly upset” after Stewart’s car made contact with Ward during a previous lap on Turn 2.

That part of the story is accurate, but reports after the race tell a different story. One said that Ward was dragged down the track some ways and another said he was run over by Stewart and thrown down the track.

Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero said there is an investigation into the incident and that its expected to last another two weeks or so, ESPN reported.

On Tuesday, I was watching a clip on ESPN about this story and NASCAR analyst Ricky Craven drove home a big point during the segment, which focused on the thought process of a driver when he/she gets out of their car to confront another driver.

Craven also touched on the point that NASCAR created a rule that drivers must stay in their cars unless it’s on fire or there’s a circumstance that threatens their well being. That they could stay in their car until a safety crew arrives.

“We can also learn from it and use this as a catalyst for change,” he said. “A driver unstrapping and walking onto the track doesn’t make sense.”

Yes, it doesn’t make sense at all. Ward shouldn’t have been on the track at all and from what reports indicate, shouldn’t have been wagging his finger toward Stewart’s car.

Stewart, a great and one-of-the-most recognized drivers in the world, shouldn’t have been driving that particular race.

Craven said he thinks that Stewart just likes to compete and that’s his nature.

I think that’s fine, too, but there comes a time when a driver who obviously over matches the other drivers in the field shouldn’t strap in for the race.

Whatever comes from this, I hope the NASCAR and everyone involved in this story learns a great deal and turns a negative into a positive.