I am sure by now you have all heard about Tony Stewart’s crash and tumble and injury (both lower right leg bones broken) in Iowa. It’s not the kind of news us fans like waking up to- or in my case going to bed to. It’s upsetting to say the least. I know what is going to happen in the mainstream media- Tony will be heartily chastised and criticized about his “hobby racing” and a large contingent of his fanbase will get their knickers in a knot because what makes Tony Stewart, Tony Stewart is that he is a racer… not a race car driver but a racer and there is a difference. I find that difference best expressed oddly enough in a quote from a fiction book about the ALMS series that I recently reviewed here:
Plenty of us were racecar drivers. But a racer was something else, someone who loved driving and competing above all else and who’d drive anything anywhere anytime, just to be strapped into a five-point harness. – Dead Man’s Switch by Tammy Kaehler (page 116).
My thought on that is- I can see both sides. I use to always say- the one thing that I dreaded hearing on Tony’s scanner when I would listen in was his spotter Bob say “Three wide- you’re the middle”. Now the things I dread hearing (reading in last night’s case) have totally changed: Flipped, Stretcher, Ambulance.
The only thing we know for certain is that he is out of the car at least for the Watkins Glen but I am sure it will be more races than that considering that it is his right leg that is broken. Speculation has already started on who the replacement driver will be and I have three ideas on that topic myself so I might as well throw my hat into the ring:
1. Brian Vickers- to me he is the most likely driver to replace Tony as he is the only one I can think of that us currently mostly ride-less of the “experienced” drivers.
3. Kyle Larson- Tony had spoken high of him as recently as a week ago- it might be Kyle’s chance to show what he’s got and to test his abilities in a Cup car.
2. Kurt Busch- yes I know he has a ride and that he is actually doing fairly well in it- but it wouldn’t completely surprise me if he moved over to SHR to replace Tony! You can say what you want about Kurt but you can’t deny he is a hell of a wheelman! This one is much less likely than the other two but could still happen!
I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Bobby Labonte behind the wheel or any combination of these drivers depending on the number of races Tony is out.
I will close this by saying this: Misty has always said that, much to her Jeff Gordon-loving chagrin, you just can not keep Tony Stewart down. Of course I am taking her out of context because what she usually means is that even if Tony is 33rd you can not count him out until the race is over because he has a way of coming back with gusto and vigor. Here is to hoping that is the case in this.