Or: I Should Come With A Warning Label
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I, Amy, am a Tony Stewart fan. I know, I know, it’s a huge shock right? Go ahead and go splash some cool water on your face and gather yourself together- I’ll be here when you get back.
Feeling better? Good. Most NASCAR fans have one thing in common- they pull for a specific driver. Don’t get me wrong- it’s very possible to like and respect multiple drivers, but when push comes to shove their driver is their driver. I have tried to figure out why fans are fans of whomever their driver is. I gave up on that a long time ago because I decided the reasons are as varied as the fans themselves.
I think I started wondering that because I was trying to pinpoint why exactly I am a Tony Stewart fan. I can’t even tell you exactly when I became a Tony fan. I can tell you it was quite early in his NASCAR career. Yes I know I have mentioned I went through a stage where I loved Indy car racing…and I did. My first race was an Indy car race- but that was back in the CART days before Tony drove in the series. My affination for Indycar waned right about the time Cart was broken up into CHAMP and IRL. There were even some years where I didn’t really follow with racing at all. It was sometime early in Tony’s NASCAR career that I went back to my first auto racing love: NASCAR. Part of the draw I suspect was his IRL background. Another part was Tony’s propensity to say the first thing that popped into his his head- whether that be regarding another driver, NASCAR or the media. Also there is his willingness to stand up for what he believes in (like his recent drawing of the line in the sand regarding blocking). All of those things, plus some unseen, unrealized affination are why I am a Tony Stewart fan. Well that and the boy can DRIVE!
All that being said, I feel like I should come with some sort of warning sticker. CAUTION STEWART FAN! or maybe STEWART FAN PROCEED WITH CAUTION! Why? Because once the NASCAR season starts? It’s on. Any given week I can tell you where Tony is in the standings, what race is coming up, etc. Who I root against changes weekly (Oh come on you know you root against people too- it’s only natural) and is directly dependent on who is ahead of Tony in the points or who may have “wronged” us the weekend before. I am an equal opportunity anti-fan when it comes to rooting against someone- it’s nothing personal.
If you happen to be watching a race with me- be prepared. My mood will reflect what position Tony is currently running in. The higher Tony is in the race- the better my mood I am likely to be in.
If you have delicate feelings- be prepared. It is not cool with me for you to smack talk Tony. Don’t flop down next to me mid race and say things like “Where is Tony at? Last Place?” or if on the very rare occasion I flip a race on a little after it started (like the Daytona Nationwide race earlier this month) say “Don’t bother- Tony’s already wrecked out.” These things are NOT funny in the least- even if you think they are. As I said the other day- nothing can make me go from zero to bitch-with-claws-and-fangs faster than naysaying my driver during a race. That is not to say that I can’t and won’t say some negative things during a bad run. I have and I will- but it’s okay if I say them, not if you do.
If you have sensitive ears- be prepared. I may curse and it might not be pretty. It might be done in exuberance and in public- like that one time my mom and I were at Chilis several years ago when Tony was running the nationwide race at Daytona. I don’t remember the year but I am pretty sure it was down to him and Junior and it was close and we were sitting near the bar but not in it. When Tony won? I jumped up, pumped my fist and said “HELL YEAH that’s what I am talking about!” Needless to say I am pretty sure I embarrassed my mom that day. Heck I think I even embarrassed poor Misty with my tirade about Evil Brian Vickers (and yes I still call him that) at Infineon and that included some not so ladylike vernacular.
If you happen to be with me when we see a race in person- be prepared. If Tony suffers a heartbreaking loss- like he did in Las Vegas earlier this season…I will likely be heartbroken for him. It really didn’t help matters that we spoke with him earlier in the week about what a win would mean for him and then for him to have such a powerful car, and a devastating penalty- well let’s just say I left directly after the checkers were flew- so I guess you could say I was a sore loser. But if we are at a race and Tony wins be prepared for me to become so excited I can’t figure out how to work my own damn camera. Be prepared for me to rue the pictures of the win because all I got were blurry pictures of parts of the car during the burnout (not to mention tons of pics of people’s heads and hands) because I was so excited I forgot to unzoom the camera and you know…focus.
So consider yourself warned. I am a proud Tony Stewart fan. I might embarrass you sometimes, but I am not apologetic. I wear my loyal fandom on my sleeve. It is part of what makes me me.