Monday, August 11, 2014

Tony Stewart...Tragic accident or murder?

The controversy surrounding Saturday night's events at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park will be reverberating for weeks, months, dare I say, years to come.  And while I have never been a fan of his, I must say the vitriol and outright hatred towards him on Twitter and Facebook over the last 24 hours has been shocking to me.  I feel all of the naysayers need to back off until we truly know more facts.

Was it on purpose that this kid, Kevin Ward, Jr., lost his life?  I sincerely hope not.  I find it hard in my mind to rationalize that someone in this sport could do such a thing.  This has always been a "good ole' boys" club.  One with outcasts, fighting and unnecessary roughness at times, for sure, but to think a "family member" would murder another...it is unthinkable.  I truly feel this was a tragic accident that could have been avoided.

Some have said, "Well, the kid deserved it, what was he thinking walking into race traffic like that?".  That is just it.  He was not thinking.  He was blinded by rage.  He was PISSED!  He had been spun out and he wanted Stewart to know he was not happy about it.  His need to express that anger and frustration cost him his life.

To those who are taking the extreme side that this was indeed murder, can we please wait until the investigation concludes to make those statements?  I feel in the meantime there needs to be some grace extended to Stewart in what is undoubtedly a very scary and shocking time for him right now as well.  That is not to take anything away from Ward's family...my hear grieves for them in this tragic loss.  A young life cut short far too soon.  A family who right now has more questions than answers.  And regardless of what the answers are it doesn't bring back this precious life.

I believe the ripples into all aspects of the racing circuits will be long range.  Should new rules be implemented about when and how you can exit your vehicle when crashed?  What are the stipulations?  What would be the fine for non-compliance?  What about Stewart's career?  Does he race the rest of the season or sit out?  Will his sponsors stand by him or withdraw from the controversy?  Right now, the old cliche, only time will tell, seems appropriate.

I pray for comfort and healing for the family...I pray for peace for Tony Stewart...and, if he is guilty of a heinous act...I pray for justice.  Yet, my final prayer is that justice will not be needed and this will be deemed a tragic, albeit horrific, accident.

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