Sunday, August 10, 2014

Should Tony Stewart Race at Watkins Glen? (UPDATED)

If you are just waking up and reading through the overnight news, you probably low about the Tony Stewart incident at an Ontario County, New York dirt track.

A driver was killed after being hit by Stewart's race car during a heat at the Canandaigua Motorsports Track is being investigated by the county police department. The investigation began after 20-year old Kevin Ward, the driver in question, died in a local hospital.

We'll spare you the video in this post, it can be seen in our original report on the incident.

Scroll down or page or click on the link RIGHT HERE

The reason for the follow up column, according to Stewart-Haas Racing, Stewart still plans on racing Sunday afternoon at Watkins Glen. No, Stewart is not facing charges from the incident at the present time, but we're stunned that he feels like racing less than 24-hours later.

Will Stewart be charged: That might be difficult to prove. If you've seen the video, you can plainly see Ward, after being spun out by Stewart, get out of his car and he's quite visibly angry. You can also see another driver avoid Ward who is gesturing towards Stewart. Stewart appears at first glance to try and swerve around him as well, but wasn't able to get out of the way.

The Ontario County sheriff's department is investigating the incident as they should. And yes, someone died at the track. There should be an investigation. A detailed one at that.

Reports say Stewart is devastated and he should be. It's a perfectly normal reaction to a horrific incident.

But how do you get past it quickly?

We have interviewed Stewart multiple times and are well aware that he lives, eats and breathes racing. There are very few other things in life that he does or wants to do. He may feel as though racing will take his mind off the incident.

But how?

NASCAR is following all developments and at the current time does not feel they should keep Stewart off the track. They don't feel ready to keep him away. If for some reason charges get filed, then we have a different conversation. We aren't there yet.

The part that is difficult to understand, and you'd have to get inside Stewart's head to know the reason he's going back on the track. The question we and probably you have though is this: "How do you focus on what you are doing, knowing an accident you were involved in killed a man just a few hours before?"

Here's video from WROC-TV of a press conference held by Ontario County Sheriff Philip Provero who talks about the incident and how the investigation is proceeding:

UPDATE---10:25 a.m: Per Stewart's Crew Chief Greg Zipadelli: Stewart will not drive in the race at Watkins Glen. Reagan Smith will drive the car for this race.

Ed Note: This is the right thing to do. As much as Tony may have wanted to race, out of deference to what happened to Kevin Ward, he needed to not be behind the wheel today. Nobody knows how the investigation will progress, but this is the proper decision.

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