Tony Stewart is known for being generous with his time for grass-root racing and causes. This year is no different has he volunteered his time to work the Chilli Bowl National track. Riding the tractor he was giving it his best for the racers to have the best possible surface to race on and put on the best show.
Videos started showing up on the internet that show a Tony Stewart going up in the stands to have a chat with a spectator who is reported has having given him the bird and chanting repeatedly - for as much as 20 minutes - "killer" as Stewart would circle the track on his tractor.
Good? Bad? ugly?
I have a 5 fold opinion on it:
As a professional race car driver OR for the fan OR anyone at a track, the chest-pumping-insult-fisting behavior is unwelcomed in what is supposed to be a family-friendly environment. Much like any aggressive, drunk, pot smoking should not be. Do it in your kid-free living room.
Security should have handled the situation before it became an issue, like it is done at ball games, hockey match, cinema screening, etc. Heck I remember seeing people thrown down flights of stairs or entire row of seats by security at Expos and Canadiens games for alot less noticeable actions.
Tony should have friends or employees around to help manage his temper and behavior espacially since the Ward incident. Reports say he budged after enduring 20 mins of bs by this obnoxious fan. He had plenty of time and occasions to call upon someone... As a professional should to protect the image of his sponsors, his company and to an extent the Bowl and racing.
From a promotion side, the fact that punches weren't thrown, that a car didn't kill someone could you ask for anything better? Look and listen at the people screaming Tony Tony. It makes it look like a scene out of Gladiator with chariot racing or Bull fighters in an arena. And please tell me the social
media "coverage" isn't going to help future attendance or PPV subscription.
I probably would of snapped the second time around the track on that tractor. So I fully understand Tony wanting to "let him know his side of the story". Regardless of what I wrote above: Kudos to Tony for being what he is. Blame to track security for not taking care of business. After all, would the "face-to-face" defiance have been tolerated by officials had it been anyone else than Tony or a driver? I don't think it would have.
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