Articles I have written
I am into NASCAR as you can see from this site, however a lot have no idea my talent as a writer. So here is my earlier work.
Tony Stewart – Heart and soul in all his ways.
By: Krysta Stelter
With comments from: RindaLynn
You go to a race and spend hundreds of dollars to attend one of the most popular sporting events. A NASCAR NEXTEL cup race. You sit next to a variety of fans. Fans of all ages, makes, and sizes. You are seated in the middle of Jeff Gordon fans. When Jeff comes out for introductions, the reactions are a surround sound of boos. You find it not too shocking considering people love to hate him for his winning ways. The thing is, you are not there for Jeff, you are there for another guy. So you come all decked out in your driver’s gear and keep in mind; you are sitting next to Jeff Gordon fans who are also adorned in their respective gear. Next comes out a guy wearing a similar orange Home Depot suit that you are currently wearing, for intros and all you can hear are more boos. Why? Well, because your guy wronged their guy last week.
That Earnhardt guy is next, and to your surprise he gets a fair share of boos as well. For whatever reason, you have no clue. But nonetheless, deep down you know that comes with the territory of being the most popular driver. Does that make sense? The most popular driver getting booed? Oh, did I forget to mention this is the first race you’ve ever attended?
Let me give you a little background here. I am NASCAR fan through and through but I do pull for certain drivers on a weekly basis. My favorites just happen to be Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. I respect both of them for their respect for one another.
In saying that, intros end, racing begins. I guess my race to defend my guy.
I am flabbergasted by the media always attacking Tony Stewart. There are others drivers out there just as aggressive but the target seems to be on Tony. He is a passionate person who sometimes gets over assertive, but for critics to say he is out to ‘kill’ someone is not only pathetic but on the border of unlawful. He’s done his fair share of ruffling feathers, I won’t argue, but don’t forget there used to a guy of higher caliber not too long ago doing similar things. Do you recall a white number three on the side of a black car? Now you might be asking why I am comparing a guy very well alive to someone who is not. One reason, the talent. Don’t fool yourself, you know Dale Sr didn’t ever hold the Golden Benny when it came to ‘clean’ racing. Video and interviews will vouch that. Also take a look at these statistics, Dale Earnhardt who raced 21 years in the Winston Cup series, dented more fenders, caused more controversy than any dozen drivers you could find. When asked about Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip himself once said, “He took advantage of you. He would take a lot more than he would give. The idea was if you hit me once, I will hit you twice. He was very moody. Sometimes you would bump into him and it would be just racing. Sometimes he was out to get you.” To me that sounds a lot like Smoke’s doing now. So let me ask you this – if Tony reminds so many people of the late great Dale Earnhardt, (which seems to be what writers say.) Why has he been harassed the way he has? This is a new generation but not a new sport! Fans never seem to be satisfied no matter what he does.
Let’s start with the beginning: Tony came into this sport aggressive and maybe held a reputation of a ‘dirty’ driver at times. He has engraved a spot in the penalty box, no question. However he still won the Championship in 2002. Probably best noted as his worse media year. It just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Following the 2004 season, he changed his ways and became more mellow, and less angry. On top of that, he moved back to Indiana where he currently lives in the same home he grew up in. Tony did it mainly for himself, sponsors and his team, but fans might have had a hand in that too. Were the lasting results making the fans happy? Of course not. People starting thinking that he lost his edge and Will to win because he wasn’t behaving in the same matter as he did coming in nor winning as many races. Let the articles and letters pour in. They wondered what the heck was wrong with Tony Stewart. They seemed to have missed the old ways of Smoke (his nickname in his USAC days.) But Stewart was set in his new direction, and didn’t want to be angry at the world anymore. He won the Championship again in 2005 as the ‘new’ Tony Stewart. He also joins Jeff Gordon as the only active fulltime drivers with multiple Championships.
The beginning of 2006 started out a great year, he was probably just as shocked as us fans were by his success early in the season. Most of you know Tony normally starts winning in the summertime. So we were all shocked at his status in the spring. However, May came and everything went wrong. I mean how do you normally spend your birthday? In a hospital? Not me, but for Tony that was the case since he had a horrible wreck in Charlotte. He could’ve been really hurt but luckily that wasn’t the case. He fractured his scapula and was basically out for a week. (With the Nextel chase the way it is, you are eliminated from a chance to win it if you miss a race. You have to at least start a race to be considered for the points, you do have the right to have a relief driver.) To simplify, he had a bad month of May. Of course that couldn’t be the talk of the town because it isn’t dramatic enough. June didn’t treat him much better, so it became crunch time for what we call The Race To The Chase.
Here is where we come to the problem. I’m not saying take out every driver you can and I don’t believe that is his way of thinking either but the Rookies seem to be his achilles’ heal. Stewart has not shied away from telling the media and the NASCAR world that he isn’t too happy with the respect they show on the track to the veteran drivers and that they should be taught not to mess with the masses of experience. Many times he has been right. Some he hasn’t, and it happen to be at Pocono last week that he got the most attention when he spun (Rookie) Clint Bowyer which also involved Carl Edwards, who was the innocent victim. And you might have felt for Carl until he retaliated on his own by spinning Tony on pit road. A story for another time. Early example – people will argue that he did wrong at Daytona (Feb) by taking Matt Kenseth out of the race. As I always have and always will, I can defend him on that too. You see the TV coverage failed to show the before math of Matt banging into Tony which resulted him going sideways in turn two before the incident happened. Do I agree with him spinning Matt? No, but he had an explanation and video proof when they showed it many weeks later as part of a highlight reel. There are good sides of his racing too but I’m not going to showcase that because it really is not needed. If you know, you know.
This is the racing side of him, take it or leave it, but don’t expect the guy to change. You certainly wouldn’t want him to change his empathy. Which seems to be the one thing people forget about him or lack coverage on. He is all heart no matter if its racing, family, life or kids. Why is this side of Tony always absent when authors write about him? Or if it’s not why don’t they spotlight this part of him more often? The work he has done for the Victory Junction Gang Camp, (he is a founding member of the camp for terminally ill children, in honor of Adam Petty, who was killed in May of 2000.) speaks volumes of his compassion, and all the charity work he has participated in, shows how much he cares for others. The world knows that Pattie Petty was deeply touched and speechless to his contribution. “I think that Tony has a heart that’s bigger than his driving talent, if that’s possible,” Pattie said as tears began flowing.
So is she wrong, too?
That is only half of the caring side he has shared with us. Even that seems to never make up for his mistakes. It’s funny how the fans dwell on his actions more than the drivers when its the fans it least affects.
Tony Stewart wasn’t born to be a loser. He has won and lost his fair share of races. More the latter than anything. So right there shows he is able to accept defeat. Automatically you think I condone everything he does, right? Not the case, and I do get upset with him occasionally but a loyal fan, such as myself, doesn’t jump from ship to ship. I always believed fans stuck around for the good and the bad and saw the person through it all. This sport is unique because you become so attached to the driver/s that you look at them as a family member, and when they are wide open on the bigger tracks you get nervous. No one here can argue against that, if you are a fan of NASCAR. So am I wrong to follow what I feel? Do I lack the understanding of what being a fan really means?
In closing – Tony is passionate. You can’t fault the guy for that. He races and will be racing for a long time. Get used to it. He’s a Champion, two times over. Smoke is a wheel man. No one will argue. He is only human, just like the rest of us. Expect mistakes.
My last question – if I was unable to change your way of thinking and your opinions, why do you feel you can change mine?
RindaLynn had some great ending thoughts, too.
Tony is now our connection to the past where Dale Sr. left off. Unfortunately, some out there only keep their eyes on the future and completely forget the past is important to learn from as well…. One can not walk forward, if they are afraid to look behind them. And, we all know Tony is not afraid of looking either way. But the young drivers eyes are totally focused on the future. Yet, they are undeveloped. They will learn. Tony will be among to teach them.
Tony is the real deal.
Written: In 2003
Tony has a heart of gold. He can amaze you more than you could ever know.
What we all know about Tony Stewart; the reining Winston Cup Champion is exactly that, his racing and success. That is what the public knows. Although, the fans of Tony Stewart know him a little different. We know about what a loyal person he is. How big of a heart he has for his favorite charities. Well, add the Victory Junction Gang Camp to that already long list. He is now officially a founder of the camp after he graciously donated over 1,000,000 dollars to Pattie and Kyle Petty who have dreams of helping children with chronic and life threatening illnesses have a place where they can set free of their problems even if its for a short time. This camp allows kids to spend time with other kids with similar illnesses. Tony wants to help that dream come true. “The Victory Junction Gang Camp was their idea, and they’ve done so much to make it happen. The Tony Stewart Foundation is proud to donate $1 million to the Victory Junction Gang Camp so that Kyle and Pattie’s dream can soon become reality.” Said Stewart. Now, Kyle and Pattie are edging ever so close to achieving their goal to open the camp, dedicated to their late son Adam. The camp is due to open June, of 2004.
“I’m doing it because I’m proud of what they’re doing,” said Stewart “I really admire Kyle and Pattie Petty for the people they are and for the work that they do,” he continued. “
This is not the only time he has donated to this amazing foundation. In 2001 he donated over 240,000 for each lap completed at the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca Cola 600.
He is also very much involved in many more charities for kids and natural environment.
People say that this man doesn’t care about his fans, well if that were true why is he always finding a way to help kids? I can name a bunch of stuff that Tony has done to help others but why should I prove it to you? If you know him and know your Nascar, then there is no need to ask.
I love seeing this man race day in and day out and seeing his car go around billions of times, it’s like taking a free ride with him every lap. His LIFE is racing! He doesn’t only race in Nascar but anything with wheels on it, he’s driven and most likely into victory lane. So many cars, so many championships, and so much talent. This guy is amazing!
I actually got to see him race in midgets and sprints last April in Madera California. I have to tell you that I was impressed with him, not only with his racing but what he did for a loyal fan was all too kind. First of all I must put you at ease by saying he DID win both races!
Anyway, there was a contest for ticket holders and you had to have the right ticket number. As we were sitting there waiting for the number to be revealed a pace car comes skidding across the start/finish line like a bat out of hell, and guess who shoots out of it? Tony Stewart! He was there to give out the prize which was a small replica of his Home Depot car, signed by him right there in front of everyone! He was generous enough to spend time with the winner, get pictures done and spend time with the media (and he is known to give the media a hard time, uh huh). He also gave a thank you speech to everyone that contributed to the Gerhardt foundation (even while racing he is helping others). That alone would have been a wonderful evening but it got even better. I was able to hang out in the VIP area and I had the privilege to meet Tony Stewart. I’m not a star struck type so I didn’t get an autograph nor seek for one. (I will next time, that is for sure!) But I did get pictures and had a few good laughs with the man. He always tries to find a way to make everything funny! I’ll tell you he is a character! That was an experience I will never forget.
Most know him as a hard aggressive racer, but outside the track he is the Tony Stewart us fans all know and love. We love his racing but we love his heart even more. I wish I could put emphasis on how proud I am to be a fan but words can’t describe in depth of what he means to me. It’s not only the love he shows for others but it’s also how he presents himself. It’s unlike anyone I have ever encountered. He has such a passion for his racing. If you don’t believe me, and if you ever get a chance, take a hard look into his eyes, you’ll see it.
With all this, how can anyone ever boo this man in the grandstands? You may find this hard to believe but I actually am glad they boo, it shows fear. They are afraid this man will run away into victory lane! (Who can blame them!) Well, best get used to it because he will be in the winner’s circle so many more times. His days of representing Nascar to a full is over, as he has handed the reins over to Matt Kenseth! Our new and final Winston Cup champion. That means, so many more boos should scream throughout the grandstands for his “aggressive driving” and I couldn’t be more happy about it. Hey, even the great Dale Earnhardt was booed all the time and one thing Earnhardt said was “worry when they aren’t booing”, so if Earnhardt says worry, then. Only then, I will.
Tony’s the Champ, Face it, Prepare Now Grace it!
Written: In 2002 (First public article.)
This is a perfect year for Tony Stewart, Joe Gibbs and his Home Depot team. If you think about it, it makes sense that he won the championship this year. His number is 20 and if you look at 2002 you see 20 frontward and backwards and that is exactly how his year was. Sometimes his placement in the field justified his year as well. He had his good days and he had his bad days. Whoever thought he could end the Daytona 500 last and finish the year in first! He has definitely gone through his share of problems this year, whether it be on the track or off. But in the end he has overcome every obstacle and is ready to show the world what he and his team are made of. Heck, he has shown that to us all his Winston career! He was Rookie of the year and finished the year in 6th; 2000, he walked onto the New York stage in 4th; 2001, he finished so close to first but finished second and now when the year that makes sense but seemed so impossible he finished as the champion. He will always be known as a Nascar Winston Cup Champion. So many years, so very few have graced that stage in first. He will forever be in the books with some of the greats; Benny Parsons, Dale Jarrett, Bill Elliot, Cale Yarbrough, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty and of course the late Dale Earnhardt. Now we can add Tony Stewart to that famous list!
Boy, it certainly didn’t come easy! This probably was a hard one to acquire. And it came with a price, literally! The media breathing down his neck and once in while getting a little too close to his face certainly didn‘t ease his nerves. Nascar didn’t always like what he did, nor did the public and it may have taken away some of his fans. But he still overcame all that and yes to top it all off, he finished the year on probation, one of the very few to do so.
Once people get to know Tony, the REAL Tony, the more they like him. And let me tell you I wasn’t a fan at first, in fact I’d always bet against him. But guess what? I started liking that he had emotion for a sport he absolutely loves. I saw his anger and his fire but when I read between the fine lines I really started seeing someone I liked and would be happy to bet on. If you look into his eyes you can see complete sincerity.
The name Stewart comes to mind when talking about a loss of temper and anger. So what if he loses his temper once in a while? Put yourself in his shoes. What would you do if you exited a race car after a crash or blown engine? Or look at it this way, you just got into a car accident on the freeway. How would you handle it? The last thing you want in your face is a camera and the media or questions. You just want time to cool down, think about what happened, and compose yourself. In auto racing, most of the time the cameras come into view at the second they’re fuming. Everyone deals with anger in their own way. Tony has to handle his publicly. But one thing I do not approve is if it came down to a physical attack. Thankfully we have not had to witness too many valid stories of such.
When you think of a champion automatically you think of Petty or Earnhardt, well now it is time to face it, Tony is a champion! Teams should take this as a warning, they better look in their rearview mirror because he will be right there if not already in front. He WILL be defending his championship, only time will tell if it pays off in the end. Prepare!
So maybe I ain’t the queen of writing, but I am quite proud of MY work!
Wanna leave me your opinions? Go for it!
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