...and what he has faced, and will be facing.
Ten observations about Tony Stewart and his current situation.
1. Note to America Online and multiple other mainstream outlets: Stewart said he may not race sprint cars again, not Sprint Cup cars. There is a difference.
2. Having recently returned from Colorado, where the local alternative newspapers have full-page ads for the local marijuana store, it seems like such a bizarre disconnect to see how many people vilify those who smoke pot, and how many people equate it to having a beer or two. It also seems hard to grasp the fact that one-time Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year Randy Lanier is in federal prison for life, without the chance for parole, on marijuana charges, when it’s suddenly legal in multiple states, and probably soon will be legal in more.
3. Number 2 does not mean it’s a good idea to hop in a sprint car when you have been smoking marijuana, or drinking beer. It is, simply, idiotic. I can’t imagine Kevin Ward, Jr., the sprint car driver Tony Stewart hit, smoked pot to get high, but to possibly take the edge off before what was probably the biggest race of his career – starting several rows ahead of the famous Tony Stewart.
4. An interesting of offhand comment on one of the stories about Ward’s pot use: “Maybe he didn’t smoke enough.” That seems inappropriate and offhand, yes, but... Having been a police officer for a while, I can’t recall ever seeing someone high behave as aggressively as Ward did when he jumped from his car and marched toward Stewart’s car. Drunk? Sure. High? No. Pot typically makes you less likely to pick a fight.
5. Don’t blame the district attorney for “smearing” Ward’s name by revealing the positive marijuana test. He was reacting to a question, not volunteering information. Very possibly a planted question, yes, but a question nonetheless.
6. Three words for Tony Stewart: Dirt late model.
7. If Kevin Ward’s family, which has already indicated that the “matter is not at rest,” insists on their day in court, there’s no way to stop them, assuming they can find an attorney willing to go that far, and they can, because it would mean a lot of instant recognition. But if they think a trial will help them heal, punish Tony Stewart and make Kevin Ward, Jr. come out the other side looking like the innocent victim, it won’t.
8. There are a whole lot of victims here, and Tony Stewart is one of them. Sprint Cup racing is his job; sprint car racing was his passion.
9. That said, if Stewart wanted to race sprint cars, he should have raced against professionals – the World of Outlaws, the All-Stars, the 410 regulars at Knoxville Raceway or Williams Grove. His crash last year and the tragedy this year came when he was racing in local 360 sprint shows. Nothing against those racers. But Tony Stewart had a lot to lose, and he lost it.
10. See you at the 2015 Chili Bowl, Tony. I hope.