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With no Smoke, will NASCAR still have its fire?



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Post Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:20 am

With no Smoke, will NASCAR still have its fire?

BRISTOL, Tenn. With no Smoke, will NASCAR still have its fire?
It was just one year ago Tony Stewart made ESPN SportsCenter’s “Play of the Day” with his two-handed toss of his helmet at fellow Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth’s car following a wreck in the August race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

That was one of the more recent incidents in which the cagy Stewart has been involved during his successful yet tumultuous NASCAR career.There will be no such antics in Saturday night’s Irwin Night Race, however, as Stewart remains sidelined in North Carolina while he recovers from a pair of broken bones in his right leg.Stewart, 42, suffered the injury in an Aug. 5 wreck in a Sprint car race at a dirt track in Iowa. He is expected to recover in time for the start of the 2014 season.
In the meantime, however, life goes on in NASCAR’s big leagues absent one of its most colorful characters.
“There’s no question Tony is missed,” NASCAR President Mike Helton told The Observer on Friday. “With the potential of Tony being in the Chase (this season), we’ve seen how he can add so much
drama to an event or a series. From that perspective, he’s going to be missed.“The biggest emotion though is being grateful he is going to heal up and come back.”

While it was assumed Stewart would be out a significant amount of time, it only became official this week that he would indeed miss the rest of the season.Stewart’s absence reaches far beyond his roles as a driver and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing.Throughout his NASCAR career, Stewart has also been a lightning rod of controversy. While he has at times had run-ins with media, fellow competitors and even NASCAR itself, there are few in NASCAR who also command as much respect.

In fact, the completion of last week’s deal to allow Mark Martin to leave Michael Waltrip Racing to become Stewart’s substitute driver for the remainder of the season was largely credited to the respect the participants involved have for Stewart.“I love Tony Stewart, who he is and what he stands for, and I love Mark.. He’s a special person, and I’m glad he’s going to be able to help those folks,” said MWR co-owner Michael Waltrip.“That was the motivation was just to be able to help Tony out.”

How does a driver raise the ire of many he works with yet hold their respect at the same time? It’s not a common trait.“You’ve got drivers that are bigger than life in many ways like an A.J. Foyt and Dale Earnhardt Sr. – he fits in that bucket,” Helton said of Stewart. “He’s real. He’s genuine.

“He can relate to a board of directors of a corporate sponsor. He can relate to a track operator. He can relate with the sanctioning body. And he can disagree with it and the whole world knows when he disagrees with it. You can be genuine and still disagree.

“Time has built a spot for Tony Stewart that has got him where he has so much admiration and respect.”Stewart’s career at times can appear as an inherent contradiction. He has complained about how his fellow drivers race but at the same time he’s also caused his share of accidents. He is one of NASCAR’s most successful drivers yet has also been one of the sport’s loudest critics.

Stewart spends most of his “off days” doing the same thing he does on work days – races – but will complain about wasting time answering “stupid questions” from the media.Through it all, however, there runs a common thread. What you see is what you get from Stewart and when it comes to his passion you get everything.

“Those on the inside know that he is an incredible, caring and amazing person,” said Martin, who will drive Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet in 12 of the 13 races left this season, including Saturday night at Bristol.“For the people who don’t get to know that side of Tony, they might have a different impression. He’s loved in the sport and respected throughout the sport universally for what a great person he is and the incredible driver (he is) and commitment that he has to racing.”



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Post Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:20 pm

Re: With no Smoke, will NASCAR still have its fire?

The post was awesome. The remarks by Hilton and Mark were deep and honest. Neither one wastes time saying what they don't believe. The one thing Mark has said was the fact Tony has the compassion either people don't know about or care. Part of Tony is that he doesn't waste time and foolish questions sets off a spark for him to rant. I've heard him say over and over " give me a real question and I'll be glad to reply". I remember an interview he had after his first Indianapolis win. The reporter asked why he took the car to an area he did and Tony said, " these are my fans and they've stuck by me always and they deserve a burn out." This man will always have a trail of smoke and fans following it.
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Post Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: With no Smoke, will NASCAR still have its fire?

Great post!

Especially loved the part about him disagreeing and making sure everyone knows it! That just made me laugh and smile.

Rachael J

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Post Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:27 am

Re: With no Smoke, will NASCAR still have its fire?

Great article! I sure do miss Smoke! Races are just not as fun to watch knowing he's not there. But I'm still cheering on the #14!
My favorite drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart
Never Never Never Give Up! -Winston Churchill



Post Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:37 am

I am lost without Tony!

Tony put the fire and excitement in every race! I can't wait till he is back. Races are just not the same without Tony.


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Post Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:57 am

Re: With no Smoke, will NASCAR still have its fire?

Nope, no fire until Tony gets back. Just the same old ashes........ :)
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