Starting The Healing
3-Time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart, returned to the track this week at Atlanta Motor Speedway!
As a fan I’m elated. It takes a lot of courage to come out of safety of your home, no matter how big and beautiful it is; and walk into the lions den. Image having to face the reporters, especially the ones that don’t know you. Have no idea about racing and what’s involved. Ready to pounce with ignorant and meaningless questions. Especially when you’re still hurting and grieving over the loss of a young life.
In the lime light everyone, people who know him well, people who are professional acquaintances, even his biggest fans all commented that this was not our Tony. This is not the fun loving, quick witted, “most soft spoken bad ass” in Nascar.
As he spoke at his first press conference, his voice was shaky and sad. He read a statement that he prepared and choked up several times. Many of his female fans on Twitter were all reporting shedding tears during those few minutes we saw our favorite guy and wishing we could give him a hug. #IStandWithSmoke and #SmokeWillRise flew through time lines all attempts to show support and backing.
The Transcript of Tony’s Atlanta statement:
“This has been one of the toughest tragedies I’ve ever had to deal with both professionally and personally. This is something that will definitely affect my life forever. This is a sadness and a pain that I hope no one ever has to experience in their life.
With that being said, I know that the pain and the mourning that Kevin Ward’s family and friends are experiencing is something that I can’t possibly imagine.
I want Kevin’s father, Kevin Sr., and his mother Pam, and his sisters Christi, Kayla, Katelyn, to know that every day I’m thinking about them and praying for them.
The racing community is a large family, as you guys know. Everyone’s saddened with this tragedy.
I want to thank all my friends and family for their support through this tough emotional time, and the support from the NASCAR community, my partners, all of our employees. It’s been overwhelming.
I’ve taken the last couple weeks off out of respect for Kevin and his family, and also to cope with the accident in my own way. It’s given me the time to think about life and how easy it is to take it for granted.
I miss my team, my teammates. I miss being back in the race car. I think being back in the car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult time.
I also understand that all of you have many questions and want a lot of answers; however I need to respect the ongoing investigation process and cannot answer and address the questions at this time. Emotionally I’m not sure if I could answer them anyway“.
~ NASCAR Video – See the press conference from Atlanta.
We’re here to race this weekend, and I appreciate your respect. There will be a day when I can sit here and answer the questions. Thank you.”
So many of us want Tony to know how much we think of him and how much we support not only his return to racing, but his return to life. And we all wish we could do something to help the healing. But the most we can do is Tweet and comment on Facebook our support. Good wishes, thoughts and prayers.
Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, spent time with Tony during his self imposed exile said of his friend:
“It made my heart ache to see him so devastated by this incident,” Morris wrote in a statement, later adding, “(We have) a friendship that has given me the opportunity to get to know one of the most compassionate and kind-hearted individuals I have ever met.”
That’s the way we all think of him. Compassionate and kind-hearted always out to help others and give something back. A regular guy doing what he loves to do.
Some of us would give anything to see him win tonight. We want there to be some kind happy event to balance these weeks of sorrow. I keep imagining him winning, with tears of relief filling victory lane instead of smiles and screams of joy. Others say it doesn’t matter where he finishes, as long as there are no problems and no incidences on the track.
The race is only a couple hours away. What ever the outcome I’m praying the Great Spirits watch over him, take care of him. Please give the great #14 Crew a little extra tonight to take care of him too, keep his car smooth, fast and perfect. Give Chad Johnson the cunning and intuition to make the best calls that help Smoke get to the front and stay there to the last lap. But mostly I pray for healing and peace within Anthony’s troubled heart and head. This fan loves you Smoke, and we’re behind you; on and off the track!
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