Tag Archives: Stewart Haas Racing

The Time I Almost Met Tony Stewart

Unless you have been living under a rock, Tony Stewart announced this week that he will retire at the end of the next NASCAR season. Clint Bowyer will take over duties of the No. 14 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet. It was not expected but it was just the same.

I have never been a NASCAR fan who was into any one particular driver or drivers in general. I have always been into cars and the racing. That took me and my racing buddy who got me into this craziness to Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP). Racing in Indianapolis took us from watching, what was then the Busch series at IRP and the Brickyard 400 to watching the same plus the Trucks at IRP. In 2004 we stepped it up to also watch the USAC Silver Crown race at IRP on Thursday night.

If you had ever gone to the USAC Silver Crown race at IRP it was a big deal; but more importantly if you had a ticket you also had access to the track and infield prior to the race. Many NASCAR drivers who, like Tony Stewart, came up through USAC, raced in this race and were there. We took advantage of that.

We went into the infield and started walking around the inside of pit road. We saw a lot of famous NASCAR drivers and soon to be famous NASCAR drivers. This is the place to be for hardcore racing fans.

We came upon Tony Stewart and my friend says “Hey, lets go talk to Tony”. I answered back “No way! He is working on his car.” So we didn’t.

There in front of us was Stewart changing his tire on his own car. There was no one helping and no one standing by watching. That is the Tony Stewart I know; someone who, as famous as he was, just wanted to race and worked on his own car. He was alone; no public relations people, no handlers, just there to have fun and race. Though I didn’t meet him that day I will always remember that. When they say you are judged by your actions and not your words, that is totally true.

Tony Stewart, I wish you nothing but the best the rest of this year and your final year racing in NASCAR. I enjoyed watching you race and your passion for racing. I’m sure the racing fans will miss you; I know I will.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 313029 Racing Photo Archives/Getty Images

Kevin Harvick Hosts Military Troops at Outback for Folds of Honor

NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kevin Harvick took a break before the start of the Elimination Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup to host local Greensboro, NC military troops at the Outback Steakhouse. They were celebrating Outback’s partnership with the Folds of Honor.

Photo Credit: Jim Bounds/AP Images for Outback Steakhouse
Photo Credit: Jim Bounds/AP Images for Outback Steakhouse

The Folds of Honor provides annual educational scholarships to the military families of those who have been killed or disabled while in active duty. Folds of Honor scholarship recipient, Keisha Johnston, a senior at the University of North Carolina was also on-site to take part in the celebration.

Photo Credit: Jim Bounds/AP Images for Outback Steakhouse
Photo Credit: Jim Bounds/AP Images for Outback Steakhouse

Budweiser, the sponsor of the No. 4 Stewart Haas Chevrolet has been supporting the Folds of Honor since 2010. Kevin Harvick has been racing Folds of Honor themed cars since 2011. Harvick drove a Budweiser/Folds of Honor car this year in May at Charlotte, June at Sonoma and July at Daytona. He finished second, 20th and 39th.

Founded in 2007 by Maj. Dan Rooney, Folds of Honor gives back to spouses and children of soldiers fallen or disabled in service to our country. Folds of Honor’s mission is to provide scholarships and assistance to families left behind in the fight to preserve American freedom.

For more information visit Folds of Honor.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 299264 Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Tony Stewart Has Been Exonerated in the Death of Kevin Ward Jr.

Saturday Night August 9th, Tony Stewart was in an accident that caused the death of fellow Sprint Car racer Kevin Ward Jr. Read about the incident here from Dustin Long at MRN: Driver Killed In Incident With Stewart.

At the time of the accident the local authorities found no reason to charge Stewart with any crime. Days later, they back tracked and proceeded with a full investigation. After that investigation was complete, they submitted the results to the District Attorney. The district Attorney decided that the matter should be sent to a Grand Jury to determine if charges were warranted. The Grand Jury has come back finding there is nothing that would warrant criminal charges. He was exonerated!

Technically he wasn’t exonerated because Tony Stewart would have had to have actually been charged with something and been convicted. In the media there were some articles and commentary that read like he had. On social media sites, some people were commenting the same. It is unfortunate because in the United States of America you are innocent until proven guilty.

When prepping to write this I was discussing the issue with my daughter. She wanted to know for herself what happened. When beginning to search on YouTube, she typed “Tony Ste” and before she could finish up came “Tony Stewart Kills Man”.

When the tragic accident occurred, the titles written were salacious and convicting at the same time. If you are innocent until proven guilty why would one write such a title? Especially since these titles live on forever on the internet. It’s done to get viewers. I even did it with my title on this article.

There is hope for Stewart; it has only been a few hours and if you Google Tony Stewart there is an overwhelming number of articles about him being cleared. Those salacious ones are still there, but they are buried deep in the list.

Unfortunately in social media there will always be people who made up their mind via those salacious titles and articles. They are still there. It’s disturbing because we do have a pretty good video. It shows racing. It shows a driver wrecking not unlike what happens just about every Saturday night in America. It shows a driver getting out of his car and walking down the track while cars are still running. It shows the same driver getting hit by a driver. That is what the jury saw.

The tragedy of this will live with Tony Stewart forever; as it will with every race fan that has seen it. It will live with Kevin Ward Jr’s family forever too. One can only hope that the Jury has spoken and that we can move on, heal and get back to racing.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 286607 Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images

Tony Stewart Has a Big Hill to Climb

It has been the talk of the media and social media since late last Saturday Night August 9th. Tony Stewart was in an accident that caused the death of fellow Sprint Car racer Kevin Ward Jr. Read about the incident here from Dustin Long at MRN: Driver Killed In Incident With Stewart. I have been reluctant to write about it because it is so tragic. My prayers go out to Kevin Ward Jr. and his family. They also go out to Tony Stewart. Watching this get reported and talked about in all media has been very painful for me.

First and foremost I am not a journalist; I am a NASCAR and racing fan who has gone on to write about it. What has gone on in the mainstream media scares me. It has been totally irresponsible. No matter what you think about Tony Stewart, in America you are innocent until proven guilty. As of this writing, there are no charges against Stewart and none pending. The local investigators stated it will take two weeks until they are done with their investigation.

Innocent until proven guilty! Here are some article titles: “Tony Stewart struck, killed driver in sprint car.” Fox Sports. “Tony Stewart Hits, Kills Out-Of-Car Racer” CBS. Though these titles are technically accurate, they lead the reader somewhere that may or not be true. They read like he purposely did this. There are many more even more salacious and wrong titles out there.

Here is an attempt to be more accurate: “NASCAR’s Tony Stewart allegedly hits, kills driver at dirt-track race in New York” CNN. Well he didn’t allegedly hit him, I saw it on TV. I liked Dustin Long’s title; it was the most accurate of them all.

I don’t want to be the one calling this out. I know some of these media people, but I live in the internet. That is what I do. These titles live on for eternity. One has to get the reader, via the search engines in 70 characters or less. Google Tony Stewart Murder, it’s awful even though he hasn’t been charged with a crime.

I know a truck driver who witnessed a kid who lost control of his bike and was run over by another truck. It is just as tragic as what happened at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. When that story was reported, the title wasn’t “Enter Name Here Struck, Killed Kid on Bike”; only for the title to live on the internet in perpetuity for the poor truck driver regardless of what the investigation proves or does not. Why is Tony Stewart different?

I have purposely refrained from reporting on and commentating on the accident between Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward Jr. I wasn’t there. I only saw a video on ESPN. Every time I tried to write about the subject it was impossible for me to not get sucked into the abyss of speculation and conjecture. Jerry Bonkowski laid it out better than I ever could in his article “Don’t be too quick to judge Tony Stewart, let the experts do their jobs.

Unfortunately even if the investigation comes out that it was simply an accident that may have been preventable, the damage to Tony Stewart and his career is done. Hopefully something good can come out of this but right now it doesn’t look that way. To me as a super race fan it is truly horrible. We just might lose one of the best drivers of all time over this.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 297144 Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images

 

Kurt Busch Takes Done to a New Level at Martinsville Speedway

Kurt Busch started the STP 500 from a disappointing 22nd starting point at Martinsville Speedway. He battled all day to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 83 races. He now has one win and is eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Battled is an understatement. He started deep in the field and at one point hit Brad Keselowski on Pit Road when several cars checked up entering their pit. Brad Keselowski came back on the track to execute payback or at the very least antagonize Kurt. Kurt Busch or should we say the new Kurt Busch wanted nothing to do with it. As well he should.

Yeah, I can’t believe he overreacted and he’s as upset as he is.  The 5 car was trying to pull into his box, Brad ran into the back of him, I steered right to go around Brad and then he clobbers our left‑side door, and it’s like, okay, accidents happen on pit road.” Busch added, “It’s congested.  It’s not a place to race, because of all the pit crew guys down there and I didn’t think much of it, and then once we were back out running, he targeted us, he was aiming for us.  He tried to flatten all four of my tires.  That’s a no‑fly zone.  That’s a punk‑ass move and he will get what he gets back when I decide to give it back.

After his contact with Brad Keselowski on pit road his car was damaged and Busch told his team the car was done. He would not be able to win the race for them. But, Busch made it into the top ten by lap 175. It was only a matter of staying there.

Busch was nothing but appreciated of the whole Stewart Haas organization and his team. He couldn’t say enough about the opportunity they and Hendrick Motorsports have given him.

Busch said, “To deliver for Gene Haas this early, it shows the potential of this team.  I know Kevin Harvick won earlier this year at Phoenix, and I think our strength this year with the Haas Automation Chevy and most of Stewart‑Haas Racing has been at the short tracks. A win like today is a great step forward.  I don’t want it to camouflage any of the work, though, that we still have to do to make our car stronger and to be more competitive week in and week out, but don’t think that I’m not going to enjoy this for one moment.

Kurt Busch has now won a race and might be locked into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. But he knows that he might not be. It might take more than one win and it certainly will take keeping up with the competition in order to actually win the Chase.

It’s going to fill up quick, and we have to do our job on this 41 team to develop as a team and to be a bona fide chase contender when the Chase starts.” Busch added, “So we’re not going to rest on this win.  We have a long way to go, though, to get up into that top 16 in points, and once we get there, let’s keep digging.  Consistency now is what we’ll focus on.  A win is a win.  If we get a second win, that’s when I would call ourselves locked in.  But we have this consistency battle that we have in front of us, and I’m up for this challenge, especially when you have all this weight lifted on your shoulders with a win so early.

It’s great seeing Kurt Busch have early success. It will be even better to see that success translate to more success. Just like cautions breed cautions, success breeds success. This is just the beginning for Kurt Busch and Stewart Haas Racing.

Kurt Busch gets to be the sixth new winner in the 2014 season to put the winner sticker on his car. Who will be next?

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 296903 Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images