Tony Stewart

ZigZagZeke

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Here is a well written, balanced story on this tragedy. It rings true to me because I've been intimately involved in this style of racing for most of my life. The original crash is just what happens when you are racing. Sometimes two race cars try to occupy the same space at the same time, and neither driver planned for it.

As for getting out of the car to confront Tony at a night race, while wearing a black suit and helmet, on a slippery black dirt track with cars still moving at 40 mph, well, that's just a bad idea. The first car barely missed him, and it looked to me like a surprised Tony swerved to miss him, but caught him with the right rear tire. I've watched hundreds of thousands of laps run by these kinds of cars with the critical eye of a car builder and chassis tuner. I know every minute detail about how they react to throttle and steering on this kind of surface. I saw nothing intentional on Tony's part. It's just the tragic result of an emotional response to an accidental crash. The last paragraphs of the article below say it best:

Tony Stewart is as gruff as they come, but he has the biggest heart of any professional driver I have ever known. I can only imagine how his heart is broken for causing the death of another young driver, and to have people insisting that he did it on purpose.

I can imagine how bad that is: I can not imagine what the friends and family of Kevin Ward, Jr. – described in one Facebook post by a friend as “the nicest folks who ever walked the earth” – must be going through.

This story will be enormous, the repercussions far-reaching and likely devastating on multiple levels. No matter what happens at the NASCAR Sprint Cup race this afternoon at Watkins Glen, where Stewart is supposed to start 13th – the number of Kevin Ward’s sprint car – this tragedy will eclipse everything, and will for a long time.

I’m praying for Kevin Ward’s family, and for Tony Stewart. If you are so inclined, maybe you can, too.
http://www.motorsport.com/sprint/ne...iver-who-was-killed-but-know-the-whole-story/
 
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First glance (from the video I saw last night) it sure looked like Stewart acted on purpose. But watching the video a couple of times I now believe he simply didn't see him. Which makes sense given the dark racing suit, and poor lighting.

Not smart to leave your car, especially before the safety crew arrives. I bet some new rules will be mandated because of this incident.

FWIW, in 2008, the wife and I went to Vegas for among other things to go to the NASCAR race. It surprised me when Stewart sat down at my 7 card stud table for a few minutes. In watching and playing against him I noticed it seemed he was having to work "harder" than normal to see the cards. Especially at or near the opposite end of the table.

When Stewart left, the dealer and I had a short conversation in which we agreed Stewart may need to have his vision checked, especially since he drives fast for a living.

Now I wonder if a vision check will be part of the investigation.
 
I watched the video several times. Looked to me like he hit the gas as he went by to say "Yeah, you too buddy" and the rear of the car kicked out striking the other driver. It's a tragedy and unfortunate.
 
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I have been a nascar fan for 30 years. Love the sport. Love all types of racing. Observed many drivers over the years. So my comments are from a fan, and a dude.
A few thoughts. Tony amongst a few others is a challenging personality. Like said above, he seems by all aspects a GIVER. A guy that wears his heart on his sleeve, always. He also is chippy. The tale of two personalities. There's others like Kurt Busch, well he just seems to be an ahole.
Some more thoughts. Tony most likely knew he spun the guy. So when he comes back around, his senses have to be at least kinda towards the guy in the wall. So, if he has those senses up, there's a fairly good chance he might see a dude on the track. Cause tony has done the same thing before. Along with that, the driver in front of him dodged to the inside.
Then tony spun his car on a yellow. Why? To drop the back end down to avoid hitting him? To be a prick?
THIS situation WILL see the courts. Which courts? Good question.
 

clearconscience

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Yeah it wouldn't surprise me if he nudged him towards the wall on purpose and probably just accidentally slid into him when he made his pass again. But there's no love when it comes to these guys. This guy was just dumb enough to confront a speeding car.
I don't think there should be any fault at Tony Stuart's, but I'm sure he won't lose any sleep over it
 

Black Dog

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Well all that I can say is. What do you do when when you are surprised by something in front of you when driving down the road when it's poorly light. I turn the wheel to miss it. Then use the brakes. But the big thing is not to use either to the point of losing control. I feel for Tony when all of sudden he saw the kid standing there after the car in front of him cleared the kid. JUST ONE BAD DEAL THAT TONY IS GOING TO HAVE TO LIVE WITH!
 
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Put something in harm's way and it will be harmed. It looked to me like the driver walking on the track was looking for -and then headed right toward- the oncoming car, maybe bluffing him to stop so he could confront him.

If that's what it was, then the results speak for themselves. I've done some risky things when riled up, so I understand the adrenaline, but this one has me beat.
 
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Of all people, Tony Stewart could give lessons about walking out in racing traffic. (and even throwing his helmet at an offending driver's car!)
And yes I do believe he "blipped" the throttle to raz the kid a little.
But the unpredictability of 750+ HP in a <1400lb car bit him in the butt this time.

It's a damn shame and a real tragedy. But someone that obviously loves the sport of Sprint Car racing as much as TS has shown he does over the years, would never intentionally give it the black eye that the death of Kevin Ward Jr has.

It's a sad deal all the way around.
 
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ZigZagZeke

ZigZagZeke

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Thousands of people are making comments about Stewart's intent and how he drove the car. Few if any of them know anything about driving a sprint car on a dirt track, yet they are all willing to give their "expert" opinions.

Just for the record, there is no clutch in a sprint car. It has an in-and-out box for a transmission, meaning that you start the engine in gear and you can't stop without killing the engine. You are basically direct coupled to the rear end. Now the rear end is another peculiar story. A regular street car differential has gears which allow one rear wheel to turn faster than the other. If you try to run a street differential (rear end) on an oval track, and especially a dirt (mud) track, what happens is the left (inside) rear tire will unload in the turns and spin free, while the right rear wheel just coasts along with no power applied. The remedy for this situation in sprint car rear ends is to run a locked or live rear axle where both rear wheels are solidly tied to each other and spin at the same rate. This presents a problem because to go around a turn the rear tires have to turn at different speeds. The solution is to run a smaller diameter tire on the left rear. The difference in size between the two rear wheels is called "stagger", and it's adjusted to match the geometry of the turns at a particular track. If the stagger is exactly correct for the track the car will naturally try to follow the radius of the turns at racing speed, but at yellow flag speeds that tuning goes out the window.

Between that situation and the fact that most sprint cars also run a smaller tire on the left front than the right front, the car can be a nightmare to drive in a straight line on the straightaways. One way to overcome these difficulties is to use enough throttle to break the rear end loose and aim the car where you want it to go, rather than steering it with the front wheels. After you've driven a sprint car on dirt for a few laps, steering with the throttle becomes second nature. When you turn the steering wheel you automatically blip the throttle to break the rear tires loose.

Additionally, driving on a dirt track is a lot like driving on ice. If you are forced to change direction suddenly you will feel the rear end skidding out from under you toward the outside of the turn. The victim here forced the cars going by him to turn down the track, thus forcing their rear wheels out toward where he was standing. If the right front wheel came close to him it's a sure thing that the right rear wheel came even closer. At the same time it would be natural to give the car some throttle when turning down track. It's not something you consciously do. It's an automatic reaction to what your hands are doing.

Now lets talk about vision. Small oval tracks at night are notoriously poorly lit. Cost conscious promoters aren't happy to add to their already high electricity bills, which can run hundreds of dollars per week, with the main component being lighting. The track itself has the consistency of stiff modeling clay, and in these videos it's nearly black. When the car in front of you passes over a piece of track it throws bits of that modeling clay in your face. That's why drivers wear face shields with tear off layers, so that when their face shield becomes coated with mud they can simply tear off a layer and see again. These multiple layers generate distortion and glare. Now place an individual in a black fire suit and black helmet against this black background, under poor lighting and a lot of glare, and try to see him through a dirty face shield. Now put another car between you and the victim to block your view a little further. Then there is the banking. I have driven a race car on a short track, and I can tell you that you'd be amazed at what you can't see. Going into a turn on a banked track the roof cuts off the entire second half of the turn. It looks more like you are driving around the inside of a wine barrel than a banked oval.

So the end result is that Stewart was driving a car that he couldn't easily stop or steer at yellow flag speeds. Upon entering the turn he likely couldn't see all the way around it to the victim, and he had another car in his line of sight. With poor lighting, poor visibility, and a black on black victim angrily approaching his car, it's a pretty safe bet that he didn't see the victim until the last second, at which time he abruptly steers left and blips the throttle to get the car to turn left. I did not see the rear end kick out. It appeared to me that Stewart was holding his line until the last second when he saw the victim. Also keep in mind that he had no clutch with which to "free wheel" the car when something did happen. The engine is directly coupled to the rear wheels.

Oh, and a word about helmets and HANS devices. The HANS device attaches to your helmet and it is anchored by the shoulder straps of your harness going over it. Once you are cinched into your seat it's just about impossible to turn your head. You're pretty much stuck looking straight ahead and limited to shifting your eyes around. Somebody approaching your car on the track from a 45 degree angle would be hard to see.

So all of those "experts" out there who've never done anything more than sit in the grandstands need to just STFU for a while and let the real experts figure out what happened.
 
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Obviously the person running into the middle of the track, dressed in black, on a dark race track, with speeding cars going by was not to blame at all. It is unfortunate that a few members here and many in the media are quick to place the blame on Tony Stewart. It reminds me of current liberal politics, blame the other person rather than have the individual who created the problem take any responsibility for their actions. My prayers go out to Kevin Ward Jr's family and to Tony Stewart.
 
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ZigZagZeke

ZigZagZeke

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headline:
MAN WHO CAN'T CONTROL EMOTIONS LOOSES WRESTLING MATCH WITH RACE CAR! GENE POOL SAVED!

Sorry Kevin, but that's how I see it!:(
But it's Stewart who's being portrayed as a "hothead". Try to think of a famous race car driver who's never gotten into a fistfight with a competitor. I'll wait.:rolleyes:
 
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But it's Stewart who's being portrayed as a "hothead". Try to think of a famous race car driver who's never gotten into a fistfight with a competitor. I'll wait.:rolleyes:
Danica Patrick.

Actually I can name a ton, but I get your point and I do t feel like typing all those European names, let alone find all the character's for the Fins and Swedes

And frankly it has nothing to do with being a racing driver and more to do with being the type of person you have to be to compete at the top level of any sport.
 

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