The man’s a hothead. The nickname “Smoke” refers as much to fury as it does to speed.
Which begs the question: were Tony Stewart’s actions in any way intentional on Saturday night in upstate New York? Did he throttle up just before his sprint car struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward? Or was this a combination of Ward's foolish actions and his dark firesuit?
Ward was pissed. He felt Stewart had caused the wreck that put Ward into the wall moments before Ward stepped out of his vehicle and began gesturing toward Stewart’s car. Stewart himself has behaved the same way in past races.
Kent Sterling weighs in with the basics: wrecked? Use your damn head, and don’t let anger dictate your actions. The same take was offered by Curt Cavin of the Star. Steven Cole Smith, writing for motorsport.com, advises against a rush to judgment.
NASCAR’s relished its bad guys, its sluggers, its fighters. The sport rewards aggression: Dale, Sr. was beloved as “the Intimidator.” There’s been a tradition of confrontation — on the track, during races — in motorsports, especially stock car racing. But now Stewart’s been involved in a mishap that’s being investigated by authorities, and has broad ramifications for Smoke and the entire sport.
Let’s clarify that: Stewart’s been involved in the death of another driver, and it’s being investigated by authorities.