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I posted this on my Facebook yesterday…but realized this morning while I was driving to work that I probably should have posted it here too:

I haven’t said much about the incident at Canandaigua because I can’t. I can only envisage the heartbreak the Ward family feels. I am also crushed for Tony. I know in my heart that, despite some claims, it was not intentional. I can only imagine how this weighs on him.

What I can say is that the nearly instantaneous vilification of Stewart last night and today has disheartened me more than I can express and has made me seriously wonder about the nature of humanity.

I meant that- and as you probably noticed Misty was the one who wrote her opinion about the accident because I just didn’t have the heart to post anything.  Between social media trolls unleashing personal attacks on fans who were trying to make sense of a tragedy in their own internet spaces and the sensationalistic and downright misinformed mainstream “media” I am still reeling and severely disappointed in what I saw of human nature. Sure maybe I look at the world through rosy colored glasses but I like that color because it makes the world I live in liveable.

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First of all, most people know I am not foremost a fan of Tony Stewart, and trust me if you could hear me on race day when he is driving too close to Jeff Gordon, you will know my preference; but I am a race fan and I can’t stand by and not defend Stewart against the attacks and wild accusations flying around.

The incident Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park was a combination of two things: racing and hot headedness. What needs to be said is it was NOT Tony Stewart being the hot head, it was Kevin Ward Jr.’s reactionary anger with the racing incident between he and Stewart that snow balled into a tragedy that no one could have predicted or expected. However, it certainly, certainly could have been prevented had Ward used any shred of common sense that night.

For many people seeing the video, they jump to the conclusion that Stewart purposely hit Ward. These people may simply not understand the circumstances of the scene or that kind of racing; so for this let me share my take:

1) While yes, drivers do get out of their cars on track in the heat of the moment all the time; they do not (at least none I’ve seen) ever play “dodgeball” with the running cars to get to the intended target of their ire. Watching the video that’s exactly what Ward did! He had to dodge numerous cars running under caution. The car directly in front of Stewart nearly hit Ward, too. Ward kept coming even then toward Stewart.

2) Which brings me to my next point, it was a DIRT track in the dark of the night. Stewart likely was focused on the car ahead of him, possibly didn’t even know why the caution waved, and could have no way of knowing Ward was on track heading toward him. Stewart sees the 45 swerve and then there is Ward. Looks to me like Stewart tried to avoid Ward and in the process the car fishtailed, hitting Ward and sending him flying into the air. It is a dirt surface, which does not have the traction or grip of a surface street. Tony’s reaction was done in a milisecond. The consequences were not intended, premeditated or anything Stewart did with purpose.

There are NO spotters at dirt tracks. Tony likely didn’t even know Ward was coming like a raging bull for him until it was too late. The reason he got hit by the 14 and not one of the others is that Ward kept coming at the car- he didn’t back off. I can’t even fathom what he was thinking or hoping to accomplish.

My heart goes out to the Ward family. It was a tragedy that no family should have to face, but that is what it is – a tragedy, an accident, not murder, not even a result of a two-way confrontation.

I’ve only met Stewart a few times, but I have had enough conversation with him to know he’s a tender-hearted, caring man who needs our prayers as much as the Wards. Tony has three passions which drive him: racing, helping animals and young people.  He would never, ever intentionally cause a young driver to be hurt, certainly not killed.

Look at any past Stewart blowup with another driver and you will see Stewart uses his hands to retaliate, not his car. In this incident Saturday, Stewart wasn’t looking for retaliation – he couldn’t have even understood what was going on.

Also, please remember that the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department has been investigating the accident since it took place. After a preliminary investigation there have been NO criminal charges, none are pending, and further they find no grounds for criminal negligence at this time. Please give them the benefit of the doubt that they have more information than we do and know what really transpired. Jumping to conclusions is not going to change the outcome of the tragedy- it can only hurt more people.

This week’s TQMS is about your passion- it’s exactly what I needed to read this week:

Tony in Texas 2012

Tony at Texas MotorSpeedway, 2012. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

“It doesn’t matter what I’m doing or what you’re doing or what they’re doing, there is something that we all enjoy doing, and I don’t care what you’re responsible for, what your job title is,” Stewart continued. “If you are not doing in your life what you love to do and what you’re passionate about doing, why are we here? What is the point of living our life if we aren’t going to find things we love and enjoy and are able to do it?” — Tony Stewart in One Year Later: Smoke Talks Sprint Car Return by Mike Kerchner

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*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart. Click here for previous editions of the TQMS posts.

#KeepDiggingTony #StandWithSmoke

This evening after I got home from what could only be described as a busy day topped with a little bit of crazy making sauce, I finally settled into my “me time” of which part of this evening was to peruse the internet and catch up on most of the days goings on because did I mention the busy with the crazy making sauce on top? That included finally reading a couple articles about Tony Stewart while I was working that I earmarked as things to read when I had time to enjoy them.  The two articles I earmarked today (Tuesday) were Tony Stewart interview pieces that were bound to come up since Monday was the anniversary of his sprint car accident that broke his leg.  These caused me to go back into my blog archives and pull up the first post I wrote after the accident- in which coincidentally I quoted the same author who’s newest book I just posted a review about this morning because while a it’s from her first book and a complete work of fiction this quote immediate makes me think of Tony today as much as it did a year ago so I will quote it again:

Plenty of us were race car 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).

I mentioned something offhandedly on someone’s Facebook post the other day that one of the reasons I am a fan of Tony’s is because of his passion for racing in whatever form that might be. I don’t see what the big deal is about what he’s racing. Or even really the whole one form of racing being SUPERIOR to another deal. I mean it’s all racing right- so it all have some common ground- just because YOU like one specific form of racing doesn’t mean there is something wrong with other forms. Racing is racing is racing. I don’t care if it’s open wheel, stock car, two wheel, four wheel,  on dirt, on pavement, on oval, on a road course or on a quarter mile. Racing is racing is racing people. And the people who do it with passion, with fervor are racers. Maybe I am just weird because I started off as a NASCAR fan, transitioned over to open wheel fan and even went through a period where I loved NHRA.  Yes I post mainly about NASCAR but that is only because I am one person with a career beyond this blog, and a life.  If I were to write about every form of racing, or even every form of racing Tony Stewart did- I would never sleep. And I kind of like to sleep at least 6 hours a night.

The whole racer vs race car driver is a subtle thing but I think that most people will agree that Tony is a racer- and nothing about that has changed over the last year.

Tony at Martinsville in 2012

Tony at Martinsville in 2012 (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia on October 26, 2012. Andrew Coppley/CIA Photo)

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#StandWithSmoke

What Turn 4?

What Turn 4? The #14 Code 3 Associates Mobil 1 Chevy of Tony Stewart turns lap at the Tricky Triangle. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Tony Stewart Facebook page)

It was another bad luck race for Tony Stewart and Team 14 at the evil little tricky triangle track known as Pocono.  It started with  Tony Stewart qualifying the #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet 16th for the race in Long Pond, PA.

The race start time was moved up slightly because of possible weather in the area in the afternoon. I was actually kind of impressed- previously NASCAR has been resistant to moving race start times to outrun weather.  I liked that the were being a little more proactive.

Prayer Circle

Tony Stewart and crew form a prayer circle before the GoBowling 400 at Pocono Raceway August 2014 (Photo Credit: ommy Grassmann/CIA Copyright/Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook Page)

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I just could NOT resist posting a bonus TQMS today after what Tony said after wrecking out at Pocono:

Tony at Pocono

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Code 3 / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, gets into his car in the garage during Practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.
(Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America)

“Man. I tend to end up on top of Paul (Menard) a lot… IN THE CAR, I MEAN. IN THE CAR.” Tweet from @MartySmithESPN

Um really Tony?!?

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*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart. Click here for previous editions of the TQMS posts.

#KeepDiggingTony #StandWithSmoke

Tony and Code 3 Associates

Tony and Code 3 Associates at Martinsville earlier this year. (photo credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

“We’re honored to have Code 3 Associates as a partner with Stewart-Haas Racing. It’s nice to know there’s an organization out there that takes care of a sometimes overlooked but very important family member- your pet. Taking care of animals has always been important to me, and when we started our foundation, we made animal welfare a priority. To be able to promote the work of Code 3 Associates so that it can do even more work for people and their pets is very satisfying.” – Tony Stewart, Pocono Team Release July/August 2014

Tony will be running the Code 3 Associates paint scheme this weekend at Pocono! #KeepDiggingTony- we are rooting for you.  While speaking of Code 3 Associates- you can join Tony and become a member (it’s free and you have a chance to win great prizes) of Code 3 Associates. Join now! You can also check out the Code 3 Associates Facebook Page for more information about this organization. If you join now, according to their facebook page you are in the running for an autographed picture of Tony Stewart and PorkChop. I wonder which signed it? ;-)

Tony is contemplative

Tony at Martinsville earlier this season. (photo credit: Tony Stewart facebook).

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*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart. Click here for previous editions of the TQMS posts.

#KeepDiggingTony #StandWithSmoke

GoDaddy has a new Danica commercial- this one also starring her crew chief Tony Gibson and her boss Tony Stewart. Tony has a little TOO much fun with an airwrench in the commercial but Danica gets the last laugh. Here is the commercial:

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Also as part of the fun GoDaddy released a video of Danica confessing to an actual prank she pulled on Tony recently:

This group has to be a lot of fun to be around with all the pranking. I wonder what Tony has in store for Danica to get her back for the knotty shoe prank.