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NASCAR Newsletter 197

In praise of NASCAR’s Tony Stewart

These days my enthusiasm for NASCAR is not, I confess, what it was, in part because I like the look of the cars way less than I did, and in part because the actual racing – always, after all, the lifeblood of NASCAR – seems to me less intense than it used to be.

Some years ago I bought a book, From Moonshine to Madison Avenue, which chronicled the evolution of stock car racing from its raw beginnings to its corporate present state, and it’s not by chance that all the good stories are to be found in the first half.

This is not to say that I’ve completely lost interest in NASCAR. On the contrary, I subscribe to a satellite channel solely because it broadcasts every Sprint Cup round (and nothing else of any interest to me), but in the last few years I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s preferable to record the races, then watch them a little later. That way you can fast-forward not only through the intrusive commercial breaks, but also – even more crucially – sidestep the endless pre-race ceremonies, wherein every week jets fly over, someone slaughters The Star-Spangled Banner, and drivers stand solemnly by their cars, babies in their arms. Curtis Turner it ain’t, but then the huge corporate dollars were not around in his day and everything has its price.

nigel newsletter nascar  In praise of NASCARs Tony Stewart

These things being so, I have become over the years increasingly a fan of Tony Stewart, perhaps the only current NASCAR star of whom free-spirited Curtis would have approved. Stewart may be a highly successful businessman, may operate his own team, may have won three championships and countless races, but the clue to the man lies in the fact that he carries the number 14 on his car. This was traditionally AJ Foyt’s number and Stewart adopted it in honour of his great hero – like himself a maverick, if ever there was one.

You might imagine that running a Cup team and competing in every race – about 38 every season – would be enough for any man, but Stewart’s roots lie in open-wheel racing, and he has never lost his passion for the dirt ovals on which he made his name. Indiana-born, he raced Indycars (winning the championship in 1997) before turning to NASCAR full-time in 1999, and it’s a source of great regret to him that victory in the 500 is missing from his CV.

nigel newsletter nascar  In praise of NASCARs Tony Stewart

Sprint cars remain a great love, and such is Stewart’s enthusiasm for racing that he continues routinely to compete in them – mid-week, between Cup events – simply because it gives him pleasure.

It must be said that Tony recently paid a high price for his passion. On July 29, the day after competing in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, he took part in a sprint car race in Canada, flipping five times but escaping unhurt; next day he raced again at the same track. The following Sunday he raced his Chevy at Pocono, then two days later was back in the sprint car at a race in Iowa. Once again he crashed (while leading), after clipping a slow backmarker – but this time he badly broke his right leg and will be out for the balance of the season.

The reaction in the States seems to have been mixed. Some have suggested that it’s time Stewart renounced everything but his Sprint Cup commitments, that as a team owner (as well as driver) he has responsibilities to people other than himself, not least his sponsors, who have now lost his services for the remainder of 2013. “Tony Stewart has too much to lose to be racing sprint cars” was the headline of one US website story I read, and there have been plenty of others taking the same line.

The response from most of his fans, I’m glad to say, has been the very opposite. It’s because Tony races from passion, because he is a throwback, that they love him as they do, and I really don’t find that too hard to understand. Such as Mario Andretti and Stewart’s hero Foyt continued to race sprint cars and the slightly larger championship dirt (now Silver Crown) cars long after they needed to, simply because they were addicted to them.

At the end of 1978, the year in which Andretti won the Formula 1 World Championship, I wrote a book with him. I remember still how his eyes lit up when we talked about the early days on the dirt ovals. “From the standpoint of pure fun, sheer pleasure,” Mario said, “I would have to say that championship dirt racing is what I really get a kick out of the most. To pitch those things sideways into a turn at more than 130mph is just something else. Just to see them sitting in the pits is enough to give you goosebumps…”

nigel newsletter nascar  In praise of NASCARs Tony Stewart

Stewart, now 42, is plainly cut from the same cloth, and is it any wonder that in a bland age, in which romance in sport is relentlessly dissipated, so many have adopted as a hero one so far removed from the PR-dominated world of the 21st century? Like his idol AJ, ‘Smoke’ is hardly whippet-thin, and clearly doesn’t live on health food, but his stamina has never been called into question – how could it be, when he races as much as he does? Like Foyt, too, he tends to say what he thinks, rather than what he thinks he should say.

A throwback, then, and more power to him. Our paths have never crossed, so unfortunately I’ve so far never met the man, but many whose opinions I value think very highly of him, and I hope he resists entreaties to ‘be sensible’ and continues to live life on his own terms.

If Stewart has any counterpart in Formula 1, only one name comes into the frame. From the very beginning of his career, Kimi Räikkönen went his own way – and this of course accounts for his enormous popularity. Yes, Kimi is a fantastic racing driver, but there are plenty of those. What confers on him cult status is that at a time when political correctness continues ever more to strangle society, it is immensely attractive to have in our midst a driver who remains immune to all that, who does his own thing, and isn’t greatly bothered what people think about it. Of course his monosyllabic responses can make him maddeningly difficult to interview – but he isn’t greatly bothered about that, either.

Räikkönen is fascinated by F1 as it was 30 or 40 years ago – not for nothing did he wear a James Hunt tribute helmet at Monaco this year – and has been known to say that he believes he was born in the wrong era, that he missed the time that would have suited him best. Difficult to take issue with that: a less ascetic period in motor racing would undoubtedly have been more to his taste.

nigel newsletter nascar  In praise of NASCARs Tony Stewart

Kimi might not say much but, like Tony Stewart, he says what he thinks, which is why – with no disrespect to Daniel Ricciardo – I was disappointed to hear it confirmed this week that the Finn will definitely not partner Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull team in 2014. For one thing, I relished the thought of Räikkönen going up against Vettel in equal cars; for another, there would have been the delicious prospect of a Red Bull driver impervious to the influence of Helmut Marko, one who simply didn’t give a damn.

You don’t get many mavericks to the pound in 2013. We should savour the ones we have.

Add your comments

197 comments on In praise of NASCAR’s Tony Stewart

  1. Pat Kenny, 21 August 2013 11:35

    Excellent article Mr Roebuck. Two very kindred spirits Stewart and Raikkonen. Long may they both continue to do whatever it is they want in terms of racing.

    I would put Robert Kubica in the same mould (but we all know you do too). On that point there are terrible parallels with the attitude taken to Stewart’s still competing in sprint cars and the unfortunate result of Kubica’s rallying crash. We have lost a lot over the years as drivers are less and less willing to take on different cars, on different tracks with less well known but seriously competent drivers in their own niche.

    I spent a few weeks in Florida in June and July and was terribly frustrated by poor weather cancelling any running at the local sprint car tracks. It was something I wanted to see with my kids. We did enjoy the tour of Daytona International Speedway though – pity we could not stay around for the race in early July.

    Off topic but F1 could certainly learn something about ticket prices from Nascar. Kids could go the Coca Cola 400 for $10 a pop.

  2. BOB MCLENNAN, 21 August 2013 11:59

    HI NIGEL,
    IN A RECENT ARTICLE IN ROAD AND TRACK, SMOKE WAS ASKED, WHY HE RACES SO MUCH. HIS RESPONSE:
    “THAT’S A STUPID QUESTION. I CAN RACE. I DO. WHO WOULDN’T?”

  3. Michael Spitale, 21 August 2013 12:15

    Very good read. Yes, they both clearly do things their way and Kimi like Tony with Sprint cars, loves to jump in a rally car, snowmobile race or motor bike.
    As for Kimi with Seb at Red Bull or even the small chance of Kimi with Alonso at Ferrari… I can’t see Seb or Alonso wanting another top driver on the team. They like things built around them and we all saw the fireworks in ’07 at McLaren. With NASCAR you may drive for the same team, but you have your own pit crews which makes things feel like there are 43 different teams.

  4. Dave Cubbedge, 21 August 2013 12:21

    Great article Nigel. I have a LOT of time for Tony and have followed him since his USAC days in the 90s.

    Every year we go to the little Lima Speedway to see Tony race the winged sprinter with the World of Outlaws at the Brad Doty Classic. It’s on a Wednesday night – Kasey Kahne is another NASCAR star with dirt experience who races there. We get pit passes for an extra $10 and hang down there with them. It’s enjoyable to watch Tony in his element, working on the car, fitting tires to rims, etc. We try to leave him alone, no pestering for autographs.

    One year there I was standing on the bank behind turn two and Tony came up to to watch cars doing hot laps. A guy came up wearing a Dale Jr. hat and asked Tony for an autograph, the reply being “If you were wearing my hat, you’d get one!” and he walked away!

    I was at Eldora in ’04 or ’05 when long-time Eldora owner Earl Baltes gave Tony the keys to the place. I recall seeing Tony in the vendor area with about a dozen kids around him and he was signing shirts, hats and sneakers. Showed me a real side to the man that we don’t often get at a NASCAR race.

    I hope he heals well, and I also hope he doesn’t change. Just try to be careful, we need him around for a long time!

  5. Tony Hill, 21 August 2013 12:24

    Ah! I do so agree with you Nigel.
    Those drivers who just drove for the sport and not corporate backing,were my heroes.I remember watching in the 60′s and 70′s at my local tracks Lydden Hill and Brands Hatch some fantastic wheel to wheel racing the guys just went for it and there was complete approval from us spectators.

  6. John Tondo, 21 August 2013 13:22

    Again Nigel is taking the thoughts right out of my head. I currently hate Nascar corp but always liked Stewart because he doesn’t always give a poop about towing the corporate line. One not too recent instence cemented my respect for him. After a race where the Goodyear tires were junk and caused all kinds of trouble Tony Stewart said when he got home he was going to take the Goodyear’s off all of his cars and throw them away. I could just see the nascar suits cringe. You know if he weren’t so talented and so followed by the fans they would have trumped up something to get him out of the series.

  7. John Helliar, 21 August 2013 13:53

    Thanks Nigel. Although I’m a Brit resident in the UK, I was fortunate to mark my 100th Nascar race by attending last month’s inaugural dirt race for the Camping World Trucks. This mid-week event was held at Eldora, the Ohio dirt track owned by Tony Stewart. A feature was the sight of Tony on his quad bike checking all was going to plan by talking to fans, officials, team personnel and track staff all around the site. Later, prior to the green flag, he walked the length of the grid for the main race, shaking hands with every qualifying driver. The all colour programme was only $5, the same price as two (excellent) hot dogs with a beer. A great driver and competitor but truly what an enthusiast! Thanks “Smoke”; get well soon. PS Nigel, have you spoken to Kimi about his rejuvinating experience in a Nascar truck with Kyle Busch Motorsport ?

  8. David Hutson, 21 August 2013 14:08

    Great column Nigel, and one that needs to be continually written. Far too many corporate speakers in this world and guys like Stewart and Kimi, and AJ and Hunt, Curtis Turner have made our sport magic and perhaps it’s not to late to recover just a bit of that.
    Best wishes,

  9. Burt "BS" Levy, 21 August 2013 14:27

    Dear Nigel:
    You don’t know how many times I read your stuff and I say to myself: “That’s it! That’s it exactly!” It happened once again with the Tony Stewart piece (my favorite oval-track driver by far for the same exact reasons you mention) and I just had to let you know how much your work is enjoyed, agreed-with and appreciated. We met once at the F1 race at Indianapolis where I was hawking my books in a friend’s stand outside the front gate (who could afford inside?) and again at the “non-race” in Nassau with Brian Redman as the hired-gun figurehead, and I do hope we meet again. You’re a hell of a fan, critic, thinker & writer–the very best, in fact–and that’s hardly a common combination.
    Burt Levy
    World’s Fastest Novelist

  10. Tony McCaughey, 21 August 2013 14:30

    A wonderful article Nigel as always! In agreement with you about “Smoke” but Nascar lost it’s soul with the death of the great Dale Earnhardt the “Intimadator”. He & Giles Villeneuve were extra, extra special but both their sons, Dale Jr & Jacques abilities have fallen well short of their fathers. I was equally disappointed that Kimi & Seb will not team up next year. I’m sure Seb would have rellished having Kimi as a team mate & I would be disappointed if it was Seb’s idea not to have him. Hows this for a fantasy F1 Team Giles Villeneuve & Kimi !

  11. Sandeep Banerjee, 21 August 2013 14:50

    Many say Tony should have been born 40 years ago and they’re right but I’m glad he wasn’t so that today, we still have a slice of what it was like back then.

  12. Terry Jacob, 21 August 2013 14:59

    Tony Stewart ….. A real racer .

  13. Rich Ambroson, 21 August 2013 15:06

    100% agreed.

    I also believe that Tony Stewart’s sponsors are better served by a man as he is, racing in more than one series. Even if he’s not in the NASCAR car the rest of the year, he still gets exposure for the sponsors, and the devotion his fans have for him also stands his sponsors in good stead. It would be unwise for said sponsors to ask (or otherwise) him to restrict his activities to “Sprint Cup”. Killing the golden goose, if you ask me.

    I wish Tony the swiftest and fullest of recovery, and will cheer for Mark Martin (as I have since 1990, as Martin is another of my NASCAR favorites) in his car until Tony Stewart is healthy.

  14. hugh cree, 21 August 2013 15:14

    Great article! One key point about Stewart racing at all these dirt tracks, is that is give every young (and old) racer in those races a chance to benchmark himself, experience a chance of being wheel to wheel with such a great driver, a legend! When was the last time a F1 driver did something similar? They use to race all over, not anymore, this is a sad reflection on the state of F1 drivers (and the sport) to-day. Only Kimi, come close to the past.

  15. kowalsky, 21 August 2013 15:59

    there were more kimi fans at montmelo this year than alonso fans.
    Nascar is good racing sometimes, but most of the time is just going around in circles. if stewart is the maverick over there, look what nascar did to montoya. is you listen what he tweets, would make you sick. He seems like a insurance salesman, not even a retired racing driver.

  16. Andrew Thompson, 21 August 2013 17:05

    Savour the ones we have , and remember those of previous eras , like Innes Ireland ( a favorite of D.S.J.’ s) , the aforementioned Hunt and our homegrown Jackie Pretorious ,
    a prodigious rabblerouser with a heart of pure gold . And he could drive .

  17. David H, 21 August 2013 17:16

    Great article. Can only echo the cheers of the other posters.

    Like to see someone tell Stewart that F1 and its single-series drivers, 40 hr or so a year, are the pinnacle.

  18. stephen blagden, 21 August 2013 17:32

    Dear Nigel I so agree with your comments about political correctness in general and more pertinently in F1. It is for this reason I never thought that Kimi would get the Red Bull drive.Not to disparage Ricciardo’s driving abilities but I do think his sunny disposition helped secure the drive,a smiling Ricciardo will sell more pop than a taciturn Kimi . In keeping with these Health and Safety conscious times I am writing this wearing my hard hat Hi-Viz jacket steel toecapped boots and marigold gloves in case of a KERS malfunction with my laptop

  19. Tom Claridge, 21 August 2013 17:33

    I concur with all you said from the perspective of a driver myself and from the perspective of having watched my first NASCAR race at Darlington around 1965 and having seen Junior J. collect a win! I have been a fan since. I wish they had more road races which being slower are more exciting to watch and less(none!)restrictor plate races which are dangerous and yet boring! Love driving the cars myself! TC

  20. curt watchorn, 21 August 2013 17:36

    excellent article, could Smoke & Kimi be our generation’s James & niki?

  21. Vicky Hartley, 21 August 2013 17:40

    Thank you for an article that expresses the feeling of Tony’s fans, we are proud of him no matter what type of racing he is doing. Another name that comes to mind also beside AJ is Red Farmer. Tony reminds me of him, he will be racing something well up into his 80s and 90s!

  22. Melissa Foote, 21 August 2013 17:40

    I commend you and this article! Tony is my hero. Thanks for agreeing that he should do what he loves and not what corporate monies dictate. He is a maverick, no doubt, and that is why I follow him and cheer him on, no matter what car he is driving.

  23. ShariSluder, 21 August 2013 17:43

    I think Tony (smoke) is and always will be a great Driver open-wheel or in Nascar. But I see this coming I think Smoke might be giving up driving in the Cup cars just because he does not have the passion he once had for it like the article said his love Is open-wheel. And that is alright with me what ever smoke wants I am a true fan and always will be. I love the Dirt tracks too Tony

  24. Linda Woodley, 21 August 2013 17:45

    I will defend Tony, he is a racer and should be able to do as he pleases. Too many people easily hand out their opinions, whether or not he should race out of NASCAR. Ultimately it is Tony’s decision. I’m so proud to be a fan, have for years, still now, and always will be. I will truly miss him this season but excited for 2014 to get here. Even though he will not be in his car for the Chicago race next month, I will still be attending, rooting and cheering big time for the #14 car. Loved your article.

  25. Carol Huneke, 21 August 2013 17:45

    I am a Tony Stewart fan and have been ever since my husband got me watching NASCAR. I commend him for doing what he loves to do, I have been in that position with another sport until I recently had to give it up, now I feel there is an emptiness in my life. Good luck Tony, get well soon, and keep doing what you love to do.

  26. Jan Zschach, 21 August 2013 17:46

    What a great article. I love Tony’s free spirit and at one time (much more less now) his open mind and never held back on his disappointments of NASCAR. He is a great guy and a damned good driver!

  27. winona lett, 21 August 2013 17:47

    He is a great addition to the sport ofNASCAR. To ask him to guit what he loves would break the spirit uf a great racer and he would no longer be the person all fans love and go to watch every week.

  28. brenda butler, 21 August 2013 17:47

    I was never a fan of Nascar until I started following Tony Stewart. To me he shows, in ever race, how much he loves to race. I hope he makes a complete recovery, I will surly miss watching him race.

  29. Sondra P., 21 August 2013 17:49

    Fantastic article.

    I wish more non-Stewart fans would read this simply because you nailed it. I was able to spend 10-mins with my hero in the back of the parade lap truck at MIS last year. In that 10-mins I saw a NASCAR superstar sit down in the bed of the truck beside me, quietly sign two items, YES TWO and careful hold on to them until I could take them back. He talked to me like a person, joked, laughed and smiled. At the end of it all, took my hand and helped me out of the back of the truck. That is the Tony I know and love.

    I understand that we see the social media constructed side of the drivers and a few of us see the real person too. I respect both sides of him. The incredibly talented driver who is willing to sidestep the constant control NASCAR imparts on the sports participants and the man who is just working day by day earning a living doing something he loves to do. We just make it so he’s famous, it’s not something he asked for.

    I went to Eldora twice last year; once for the Prelude and once for a race he was scheduled to participate in. If I had to choose watching him race on the dirt or asphalt, I would choose dirt every time. My jaw dropped more than once watching him drive those cars around that track. He is pure talent and his passion shows through in everything he touches if you just take the time to really look at the man behind the wheel.

  30. Sue Simons, 21 August 2013 17:49

    I, too, am a “Smoke” fan and this was very well written. I hope you get to meet him someday. You deserve it. Remember, where there is “Smoke” there is a fire burning and he wont give up on anything. (at least I hope not) I’m 66 and I absolutely I loved your article and the one in Rolling Stone magazine a few years ago – talk about being himself. I loved that one, too!!!! You’re a great writer. Keep up the good work and enjoy more races.

  31. blanche maddox, 21 August 2013 17:50

    love ur article ,tonys love for racing to me is a great thing ,does not matter to me if he gets mad and has a little temper ,thats good ,he says what he thinks and is one of the best race drivers there is today ,i get mad watching a race because one are two names are mention so much i will walk away from the tv,hope tony never gives up his love for racing .i love dirt tracks to being from ga i been to a lot of races here ,wish tony had bought the track at lavonia better beleive i would have been there to see him .,,as long as tony takes care of his business i think its his right to live life the way he wants to ,.so go smoke ,love ya,thanks for the write up nigel

  32. Brenda Collins, 21 August 2013 17:51

    Well said. I am glad that Smoke can do what he loves doing. Racing is his passion. I say enjoy every minute of it. Pray his leg heals quickly.

  33. Sharon Lambrecht, 21 August 2013 17:52

    I love Tony and I want him to race what every he wants. My only regreat is I counldn’t see them all!

  34. Beth Epperson, 21 August 2013 17:52

    I love this!! I have been a Smoke fan since his first NASCAR race and always will be. He is the kind of racer the others wish they were. I will miss him in the #14 for the rest of the year but SMOKE WILL RISE!!!

  35. Connie Saldivar, 21 August 2013 17:53

    Thank you so much for this article! Very much appreciated by a very true and emotional Tony Stewart fan

  36. Laurie Gotshall, 21 August 2013 17:53

    Exactly why I love Tony Stewart! He has a passion for racing and excels at it whether it be on a dirt track or paved surface, open wheel or NASCAR. I remember when he received $1 million dollars for an ARCA championship and said he would gladly give it up if Sprint Cup added a dirt track race to the schedule!
    Keep doing what you’re doing Tony! We love you and the passion you show for racing!

  37. Rich Post, 21 August 2013 17:54

    I have been a Tony Stewart fan since he was a standout USAC star. I also have had the pleasure of meeting the man on three occasions. I manage the security staff at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, in NY. Tony Stewart most definately a throwback to a time when racers were men that did just that, they raced! They did not worry about what they said to arporter or another driver, they spoke thier mind! Sprint car racing is this mans passion. He enjoys it. For the past three years Canandaigua Motorsports Park has seen Stewart race there three times. I aa huge fan and also have the duty to make certi

  38. Penny Illemszky, 21 August 2013 17:58

    Definitely Smoke is the man and will always be. Since loosing Dale Earnhardt Sr. Smoke has become the driver to speak up about things NASCAR should or shouldn’t do. More power to him for driving anywhere and everywhere he wants. I totally respect someone who lives by his own rules and allows no one to dictate his life. He was the one that went to the hospital to see the people hurt during the Daytona 500 when that car flew through the fence. He alone said with feeling about hoping the fans recovered while other drivers offered it as an after thought.

  39. cherie, 21 August 2013 17:58

    I think it’s great Tony Stewart does what he loves. I believe for Tonya that NASCAR is his livelihood, but racing sprint cars on dirt will always be his passion. He has been able to put himself into the position of having the right to do what he loves. I look forward to the day when he’s standing next to his #14 again listening to the National Anthem being played. Then racing will be complete once again.
    Dirt’s for racing….asphalt is for getting there.

  40. Theresa Hutchens, 21 August 2013 18:03

    Thank you for your frank reporting. We who love NASCAR wish there were more cursing, helmet throwing, speed loving, say it like it is drivers like Tony Stewart.

  41. Valerie Shackelford, 21 August 2013 18:04

    I enjoyed your article very much. I have only taken an interest in NASCAR in the last couple years and am drawn to Tony Stewart. I find that he is one of the few drivers that has such a passion for the sport. He conducts himself as an adult and inspires those not just around him but anyone that watches or reads about him. I hope that one day I have the pleasure to meet the man in person. I will always see him as an inspiration and a true role model for young and old.

  42. Ed Chapman, 21 August 2013 18:05

    And he had so much respect for AJ he asked his permission to use the 14 who hears of that type of thing in sports today. Don’t forget to mention when Smoke clipped that back runner he could have most likely escaped injury, but would by all accounts killed the other driver if not for his skills at the wheel to turn left at the last possible moment, according to the driver he hit and several others at the event had it not been a driver of Tony’s skill it would have ended differently, one went as far as to say only Tony Stewart could have done what he did. If you couldn’t tell I am a true “SMOKE” fan

  43. Paula Gray, 21 August 2013 18:05

    Great to see some positive press on Tony’s passion, sprint car racing. Thank you!

  44. Cheryl, 21 August 2013 18:08

    What a wonderful and true article. Tony in my opinion is the only true NASCAR driver out there today. He is straight forward and says what is on his mind. He races the way a racer should race, rather it be Sprint Cup or sprint cars. I hope he never changes and stays true to who he is as a person and a driver. I wish him a speedy recovery, and look forward to his return next season.

  45. Robert Lamunion, 21 August 2013 18:09

    I’ve been a Tony Stewart fan from the indy car days.He reminds me of A J Foyt and Dale Earnhart two of my biggest heros. I hope Tony never changes in the way he goes about raceing for fun. Thats why he started raceing. Take the joy out of raceing and tony would stop driving and I can understand why. Next season will be championship # 4 wait and see.

  46. Susan Coon, 21 August 2013 18:10

    Great story we feel the same keep it up Tony

  47. timothy tye, 21 August 2013 18:11

    This article speaks to the very truth about smoke that has made me follow him since his days in Indiana in the midgets, up through to the IRL and his championship there, on to his time with gibbs in the nationwide/busch series, then on to cup with gibbs for 10 long years and 2 championships with him, then the bold move to form the team with haas who had not really done much of anything in cup until tony came in and now they are a team who can contend week in and week out. Tony is one of the dying breed in nascar who is not afraid to tell you exactly what he is thinking at any given time. I remember being at martinsville in 2011 when he was battling edwards for the championship and watching how hard he battled in that race with hamlin to stay on the lead lap and then his persistence on the final restart to pass johnson on the outside to win the race, then in the victory interview his comments to edwards were simply priceless. I screamed so loud when he won that race I couldnt talk for 2 days, but it was well worth it. Tony is someone that you could put in any type of car that has wheels and he would make it run competitive and probably battle for the win, no matter what it was. Smoke will be back to smoke the field in ’14!!!!!!

  48. Mary, 21 August 2013 18:15

    Great article. You’ve captured the very spirit of Smoke. He’s one of life’s lucky stars as he gets to do what he loves and make money doing so. He’ll continue to be outspoken, live life on his terms and be a true hero for any little boy or girl who wishes to follow in his footsteps. In my opinion, no one will ever silence the passionate voice he has for the sport and if they try, shame on them.

  49. Sam, 21 August 2013 18:16

    Wonderful prospective that appears to be dead on track, after the loss of Dale Earnhardt Sr. Tony give us old fans a real reason to watch NASCAR. Yes, Tony most likely would have loved to party with Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly and some of the greats from the past. A.J. was discourage from running the Sprints the week before the Indy 500, which he just happen to win $20,000 the week before he had a bearing fail in the 500 before the first schedule pitstop which left his 500 hopes as an also ran. Tony’s a true champion and like A.J. is a true competitor in any car he sets in, both have what others describe as a temper, but their fans know this as true passion and competitive spirit. Thanks for the great article….

  50. Mike Mount, 21 August 2013 18:18

    Great story!

    I was able to spend about 45 minutes with Tony, one-on-one, while catering an event for Stewart-Haas & Mobil 1. Everyone knows how competitive he is, but what gets lost is how genuine he is too…he has this reputation as a rebel/badass but he’s honestly one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people (people, not just celebrities!) that I’ve ever met!

  51. Frances, 21 August 2013 18:24

    Tony Stewart is one unique person… what I really like is the fact that he does race out of passion…certainly he has enough money.. it is his life… he tells things as they are, what he says he stands by and you can bring it to the bank…He is not a Politically Correct person he is just correct… smile.. keep on keeping on Tony and I am so sorry for the fact you are out of the race…not for me who misses you…BUT for YOU who I know must have quite a time of it not being out there racing.. take care and heal well… see you when you are able..for sure.. but do miss you.. and I know it is you I saw in an Italian Restaurant on the waterfront in San Antonio… I asked if “you knew Tony Stewart” you were with two lovely ladies.. possibly Mom/sister, and one looked it up on her smart phone and both laughed and said no…you remained straight faced… good poker player.. and good thing because this old lady would have lost my tongue… smile.. seriously no one looks that much like you AND doesn’t know you…
    get better quickly God speed to you

  52. Ron, 21 August 2013 18:30

    I’m not an F1 or Indy car fan, I do watch some. I’ve been following NASCAR since the late 60′s. My brother had seats at Daytona every year from the mid-60′s and that is how I got into it. First, Let me say that this was pleasant article to read. I also admire Tony because he is a RACER. He would fit in any series he wanted. I can see him being an Honorary Ala Gang. Being a part of the Allisons, Cale, etc being friends with Dale Sr, Rusty, Darrell, Davey Allison. I became a Dale Sr fan by accident. Most of my family were Elliott fans and hated Dale. So, you know what I did, I started rooting for Dale. The rest is history. Some old style drivers still around that I also admire our Kenny Wallace and Schraider, Martin, Gordon, etc. But a smart move on Tony’s part was Harvick. Look what Delana and Kevin’s business grew into and Tony can use that also. Smart move.

  53. John R. Wright, 21 August 2013 18:32

    Hi NIgel:
    I would like to echo your comments on Tony Stewart. I had to pass up an opportunity to see him race at the Oshweken Speedway about an hour from where I live because of a serious illness in our family. Bear with me on this. A racer friend of mine with whom I served on the board of the Canadian Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame was organizing a bus load of ex-racers to go to Oshweken to see Tony race. Imagine that, a racer of Tony’s stature racing on a little track an hour and a half west of Toronto Ontario. However that track holds a special place in Tony’s memory as it was at that track he won his first big race. Can you imagine some of the other prima donas in our racing world going there? Tony is a racer and he’ll race anything with wheels and an engine. And those World of Outlaws cars are certainly that! I regret not being able to go but perhaps next year when he returns to Canada and to Oshweken I will get to see one of the greatest racers of the modern era do his stuff.
    Cheers,
    John R. Wright ex- token historian of the Canadian Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame
    PS always enjoy your work

  54. Arianna K, 21 August 2013 18:34

    You said it I have been a fan of Smoke since i got into the thrill of the race . His love for the race stands alone in my opinion and the fact that he’s not afraid too be out of the norm and speak his mind makes me respect him even more his down to earth personality makes his fans like me feel like we can connect with him . Since i live not far from Eldora Speedway i see all the good his heart and hard work has put in to the track and the local people his love has brought the place alive and everyone benefits in this little community he truly is a one of a kind and Hero to many :)

  55. Howard Hellman, 21 August 2013 18:36

    I appreciated you article. Tony has always been my MAN. He is cut from different cloth than the rest of the drivers today that look for big contracts and drive for money rather than the joy he get from racing. You said it all he says what he thinks and that is rare today. The is tough and remember and cherishes his roots. He is a true racer through and through. He has more racing sense than 90% of the drivers out there. I am proud he picked Mark Martin to drive his car. Again he is a true racer that drives for the pleasure of the race and another one o my heros.

  56. Melisa Waller, 21 August 2013 18:40

    Great story! I think Tony is doing a great job and he needs to continue to do what he loves. Wishing him a speedy and complete recovery.

  57. Glenn Ratzlaff, 21 August 2013 18:42

    I agree totally ! Stewart is the only reason I still watch the races! I like other drivers, like Harvick, Martin,and I will always be a fan of the Labonte’s, but if Stewart isn’t gonna be in the mix, I just don’t feel like watching.

  58. Melissa, 21 August 2013 18:43

    I just recently got into Nascar – 2+ years! Must say, Tony IS the man! He’s real, he’s honest, he’s himself – as he should be! :)

  59. Patty Smith, 21 August 2013 18:45

    What a great article ! You have hit the nail on the head. Even those that dislike him, have to agree he tells it like it is. Even if he has to admit, it was his fault he does it. Racing is his passion and he wants to win races even on dirt. I say Tony Stewart the driver, the person who supports many charities “IS THE Man” and you can Quote Me On That !
    Keep doing what you want Tony !

  60. Charlene, 21 August 2013 18:48

    Amen! Tony Stewart is one of the few good things left in the Sprint Cup racing series. He’s passionate, he can be a bad boy and he can win. Since the loss of Earnhardt, few drivers have stepped up to the plate the way Stewart has.

  61. Carolyn Cochrun, 21 August 2013 18:48

    This is exactly why I like Tony so much. He does his own thing. To tell him to stop racing the other races would be like telling the wind to stop blowing. Tony was meant to race and he does it so well. I hope he stays with it many many more years. None of the newest guys or gals seem to have Tony’s spirit and that is what makes a good racer, the wild and free spirit of Tony Stewart. I despise the politically correct stuff of today. I believe in saying what you think the way you think it not the way people seem to want to hear it. The truth is the truth and that’s what needs to be said. I have never met Tony but would love to one day. But since I can’t afford to go to a race, it will probably never happen. I am your biggest fan Tony always have been always will be. There are others I like to see race but you have the spirit it takes to be a winner. I’ll be there for you as long as you race and after that too, for as long as God leaves me here on earth.
    Thanks for being you, a fantastic man and a fantastic racer. By the way, you could call me “mom” as you are the same age as my oldest son.

  62. clat, 21 August 2013 18:49

    AMEN!!!!!,smoke will rise

  63. Tom H, 21 August 2013 18:50

    You know another driver that is highly admired whos name isnt mentioned that also had no problem speaking his mind and NASCAR never challenged him when he spoke his mind was Dale Earnhardt SR he is also one that told you what he thought and how it was and Tony also reminds me of him keep it up Tony and Never Change !!!

  64. Alan Archambault, 21 August 2013 18:51

    I am a Tony Fan and was very bummed out that he got hurt.
    Speedy recovery to Smoke!

  65. maryann wever, 21 August 2013 18:56

    to me Tony Stewart is the real racer. He can race anything, anytime, anyway he wants. He does what all true racers do and that is race. You can get hurt anywhere. it was proven on Americans Got Talent as a guy was doing stunts and fell and broke the same bone as Tony. I will stand behind tony and other tony fans in wishing him a speedy recovery and get back to racing.

  66. Sheri Rozeboom-Kloes, 21 August 2013 18:56

    This is a very good article. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Stewart aka Tony or Smoke! I feel he is doing a good service to his sponsors by also having them on his sprint car. I know a couple of nationwide drivers that also drive sprint cars. I think it is a wonderful thing that they do this. Go Tony! Get well soon!

  67. Tammy Beauchemn, 21 August 2013 18:59

    Thank you from one of Smoke’s fan’s!!!!! well said and we do love him because he is who he is!

  68. Irene Golab, 21 August 2013 19:01

    THANK YOU Tony is like AJ and Mario! Only is an amazing racer who can drive the wheels off anything he gets into but is an even better humanitarian! Your article made me happy because it supported Tony being himself not a carbon cut out.

  69. Tim Hoover, 21 August 2013 19:01

    I say go Tony go!!!! The open wheels is what made you as great as you are, and you should never give in to any pressure from anybody. My all time favorite was A.J. Foyt, and now it is you pal, so keep on trucking. Dale Earnheart was my first Hero in Nascar, but with him gone, your all I have left to root for.

  70. Hector b, 21 August 2013 19:06

    Good story, great for the old school drivers. It’s a shame racing has grown in such a way that new fans are coming on board less and less. Only the strong will survive I guess. I will be a die hard fan till the end. Lets support these drivers as much as possible.

  71. Helen, 21 August 2013 19:06

    Great Read. Tony is the reason I watch NASCAR and Love seeing Him Race in Any Ride He Likes. Hope He keeps On in His Passion for Racing Everything. That’s what Life is All about. Loving what You Do!!

  72. Ruth Beeler, 21 August 2013 19:08

    Great article Nigel Roebuck. Tony comes to Fort Wayne IN (my hometown) every year to race the midget cars, awesome to watch. I am proud of the fact he is an Indiana boy, born and bred, same as Ryan Newman. Tony cemented “greatest race driver ever” when he passed over 100 cars to garner his 3rd NASCAR championship. It was one of the most thrilling races I have ever seen. Looking forward to your return Smoke and thank you for some great racing no matter what venue it is.

  73. Jeannine D., 21 August 2013 19:11

    Great column! I first saw Smoke race in 1997 in the Copper World Classic in Phoenix. He was racing modified, Silver Crown, and midget cars that weekend. Watched him come from the back to the front in no time. Have been a fan ever since. I really hope this doesn’t change his approach and he continues to do his own thing. For the rest of this year at least, I’ll be a Mark Martin fan!

  74. Jennifer, 21 August 2013 19:16

    Wonderful story!!

  75. spike jones, 21 August 2013 19:18

    So well put and if these modern day snieveling fans would jus watch who the press sucks up to an who they stay shy of is an easy example of who’s gonna suck up to them an who’s gonna lay the real facts out. The reason Smoke was willing to take on Foyt’s 14 was he knew that he could put respect with true rac’n in whatever he drove, an as the tale goes A.J. gave him blessing to drive an shine because he knew Tony was a real special type of racer. Need anymore be said.

  76. kAREN PYTEL, 21 August 2013 19:18

    MET SMOKE MANY YEARS AGO AT ROCKINGHAM, WAS THERE THE LAST WEEKEND THAT THEY RACED THERE BEFORE THEY CLOSED IT. HE WAS VERY FRIENDLY & EASY TO TALK TO. GO SMOKE! GET WELL SOON! GREAT ARTICLE!

  77. Michael Spitale, 21 August 2013 19:19

    I have been coming to this sight for years and I have never seen everyone so universally agreeing on a topic. Good to see we have so many “race fans”, not driving fans on this forum. Mr. Roebuck hit the nail on the head with this article and now we know why Tony and Kimi are two of the most popular drivers around.

  78. Peggy Stewart, 21 August 2013 19:25

    I will miss you so much, get well soon. And as hard as it will be for you do what the Dr says, he know’s what he is doing and you know racing. Hurry back, won’t be the same on the track without you.

  79. Dorrene Wallace, 21 August 2013 19:31

    I always love to read about Tony everything you have said about him was wonderful and right he is a great driver and owner and know one should question hem about if he races to much he know what he is doing is right so you go smoke keep doing what you do best race.

  80. steven gallagher, 21 August 2013 19:35

    Thank you, well said in every way

  81. Ann Chamblee, 21 August 2013 19:38

    Very well said. I could not have put your article into better words myself when describing Tony and why we love him and root for him . He is truthful and exciting and passionate about his love for racing and life on the speedways. No apology necessary Smoke! Enjoy your life. You owe nobody an apology. You have certainly delivered for all! Enjoy your moments on and off the racetrack the way you see fit to and apologize to no one! You always deliver the race performance and off the track you do so much for people that is not known out of the goodness of your wonderful heart. That is what you are. A very good man and good race car driver. We love you be well and be happy. We will. Miss you. BUt want you happy and know you rather be racing ! Keep being you that is what I want as your fan !

  82. tracie, 21 August 2013 19:40

    Well…I prefer Tony to stay in Nascar and not do other racing…but I know he loves the dirt and he wouldn’t have it any other way….so I will support him in anything he does in racing….I’m a big “Smoke” fan…and I’m not going any where….so race on Tony….good luck in whatever you do….just get better so I can watch you again in Nascar…..Miss ya “14″

  83. Glynis Pedley, 21 August 2013 19:47

    Thanks for the great article.. I know i speak for all the fans & friends Tony Stewart has made at Ohsweken Speedway in Ontario Canada. We all hope for a speedy recovery and look forward to his visit. We also wish him the best of luck when he gets back in the drivers seat of any race car!!

  84. gloria sparks, 21 August 2013 19:49

    One of the best articles, I have ever read in reference to errors in Nascar….but more for the tribute ot a wonderful driver, Tony Stewart, aka Smoke. thank you for you perspective…..

  85. Lisa poliquin, 21 August 2013 19:49

    I will miss you tony get better soon

  86. Pat Werth, 21 August 2013 19:51

    Well done, Nigel Roebuck, well done and well said. I have been following NASCAR since my dad starting taking me to Daytona in the late 50′s, and of course have had to change my “favorite driver” as men came and went. But Smoke is the real deal and the suits at NASCAR should pay attention and look for more of that kind of talent instead of the cookie-cutter PC guys like, oh, I don’t know, the other 42 guys on the track each week? Thanks for a thoughtful and insightful article….GOOD READ!

  87. Charlene Carpenter, 21 August 2013 19:51

    GREAT ARTICLE!! Love it..very well said.

  88. mark allen, 21 August 2013 19:52

    I became a nascar fan and a Tony Stewart fan on the same day, when as a rookie he ran the Indy 500 and the Charlotte 600 the same day ,and have followed him ever since then . I learned many things about him since then , like why he is so passionate about racing among other things in his life . Tony is one of a kind , he has always been straight forward and has never hid his feelings or thoughts no matter the situation , a trait that I wish more people had , because I feel this is what made the country what it is today . He reminds me so much of another great driver that so many Nascar fans loved and will never forget . The number is all that need be seen . The #3 !

  89. Jens, 21 August 2013 20:09

    Great article – nothing to add form my Side – Greetings from a Smoke-Fan

  90. Alice, 21 August 2013 20:13

    Thanks for this article. Tony is my favorite driver and he is a race car driver that deserves the recognition of being a great driver and all has done for the sport. He does what he loves to do and I hope he to race cars, sprint cars, cup cars whatever he wants to drive. Again thanks for this great article.

  91. Lisa Hedrick, 21 August 2013 20:16

    I absolutely enjoyed this article. I also am a Tony Stewart fan because he is somewhat of a rebel and does what brings him pleasure in life instead of conforming to what everyone thinks he should be. He not only shows the love of racing, but also the love of humanity and animals in the charity work he is involved in. Can’t wait to see Smoke back in the driver’s seat and I hope he doesn’t change one bit!

  92. Janet Gibson, 21 August 2013 20:22

    I LOVE Smoke and I think it’s great that he loves to go to these dirt tracks and race. It also gives us as fans a chance to meet him when Smoke goes to the small tracks to race. Smoke’s NOT the first driver to have a wreck and broke something , I sure. It has put a lots of people in a bad situation but life goes on….It has changed me and Nascar with him not being there. I have plans to go to Maimi to the last race and I don’t care to go with Smoke not going to be there BUT I’m sure I will be going….I’m just looking forward to 2014…”GO SMOKE”

  93. Sara Gerhold, 21 August 2013 20:23

    I AMA fan of Tony’s, but was disappointed when I went to his web page and found there was a $35.00 charge to join his fan club. I am a senior citizen who lives on a very limited income, and that amount almost feeds me for a week. This greatly disappointed me.

  94. Donna Gibson, 21 August 2013 20:26

    Politically correct?? Meld in with the JJ’S? Un huh!
    Not Tony! I am from the old school. I am so proud of Smoke and his candidness! We all need to be mavericks in the world we’re in. Speak your mind, dance your dance, run your race. Don’t worry about the politically correct person. They don’t have a clue!
    Great Article, BTW, We are still FREE to be who we are!

  95. Shaun dodds-beal, 21 August 2013 20:28

    Tony races because that us WHO he is. I admit I miss watching him race on Sundays but I love NASCAR and TONY. Keep up the great work and continue to do what you love not what is the “right thing”

  96. Jackie Ballinger, 21 August 2013 20:30

    Well said!! Tony Stewart is a driver first and a car owner second. If all the other drivers raced with the passion that Tony does, the races would be good again.

  97. Jennette Terry, 21 August 2013 20:31

    We miss you,Tony. Get well soon. You are a great guy and racer. Take care,hope to see you soon at the track!!!!!!!!!

  98. Gordon Miller, 21 August 2013 20:33

    Tony Stewart, truly a man for all seasons!! PC is going to kill the America we have known and loved, so it is great to still have a Tony Stewart around to tell it like it is and PC be damned!!! Go Tony Stewart, get healthy for 2014 and get the Championship again!!! God bless!!!

  99. Cheryl Perry, 21 August 2013 20:35

    Tony is the best, not only in his racing diversity but as a philanthropist and business owner as well, Go Tony, I will ALWAYS be your fan.

  100. C.P. Carter, 21 August 2013 20:42

    Tony Stewart is a true American Hero to the people who have been around racing all their lives,,I congratulate him on his passion to continue do what he finds true pleasure in,,Drive Tony and never stop doing what You love to do because of some media Idiot saying its dangerous and not good for the sponsors

  101. Keith Mangrum, 21 August 2013 21:01

    I couldn’t agree more , Tony is a Real racer in a fake nascar world! I was in Eldora a few year ago for the Kings Royal. They had a dunking booth set up to raise money for something I can’t remember. This was in July and it was hot. Tony was supposed to go for 1 hour and be dunked, he stayed for 2 and was so entertaining, interacting with the fans, especially the kids. He earned my total respect that day, because he got dunked A LOT but he never complained once! Oh yea, he then raced in 2 classes that night!

  102. Linda, 21 August 2013 21:15

    Excellent article. I have watched NASCAR for many years and have been a Tony Stewart fan since he started with JGR. The past 2 weeks without Tony on the track have been deplorable. It is like the fire and SMOKE has left the sport. I understand these drivers have commitments to their sponsors and owners but they also have a viewing public that goes to the races and buys their souvenirs that should get to see good old fashioned racing . I wish Tony a speedy recovery and the best of luck. I am anxiously awaiting the time that “SMOKE will RISE”.

  103. Melissa W, 21 August 2013 21:29

    I love Tony…been a fan since his rookie year…his drive, passion and attitude have made him the racing icon he is….prayers for a speedy recovery…I miss you on the track!!!

  104. Tina, 21 August 2013 21:29

    Smoke is the best. People shouldn’t expect him to give up his passion. He lives for racing. More drivers should have the passion that Tony has. He is the best.

  105. LINDA BURNETT, 21 August 2013 21:33

    I have been a Tony Stewart fan since he started in Nascar. I live about 70 miles from Eldora. It is the greatest. Tony Stewart is one of a kind and the best in most everything he does. I have worked with several of the workers at Eldora at different times. He is always kind and loves what he does. Tony would not be Tony if he did not race all kinds of vehicles and especially on dirt. Yes sometimes you get hurt and that is the risk you take. We love him and want him to come back to all kinds of racing. but we want him 100% Don’t ever quit. We love you because of what you do and the way you do it. These people that criticize are just jealous because they can’t do all these things

  106. tracey, 21 August 2013 21:35

    i have been a race care fan since i used to lay on top the roof of my daddys race care as an infant.. might be why im part deaf . i love tony stewart he is a racer down to the core… love love your article thank you very much a great read!

  107. Michelle Gill, 21 August 2013 21:38

    Wonderful article. I am a huge fan of Smoke’s. I love his attitude and everything about him. And I love the fact that he does his job and has fun doing other things. I will be a fan forever.

  108. Catherine Brundage, 21 August 2013 21:40

    Tell it like it is, I think that is Tony’s motto. I am so tired of all the so called pretty boys complaining, Tony is a true race car driver it is just not a business it’s a life style. It is sad that so many professional sports players are only businessmen. Thank you for your well thought insight.

  109. Beth, 21 August 2013 22:05

    Tony is a true racer…it’s in his blood.. he’d rather race then ANYTHING else! I applaud him for that! That’s why he has the sponsor’s he does! The 14 will race each week! The sponsor’s will get their exposure…and Mark Martin’s the driver! He’s a CLASS ACT..so they are getting their monies worth!!! I’ve seen Tony race Sprint cup and on the dirt and it’s obvious that he’d rather be playing in the dirt then any place else… Go Tony Go! Do what you love!!!

  110. Vickie, 21 August 2013 22:11

    Have been a fan for many yrs. of Tony and NASCAR. I think u need to do what makes u happy, if racing any and everything that has wheels and goes fast makes him happy then that’s what he needs to do. I am praying for him to get better fast, he is missed on the track. Love u Tony Stewart.

  111. Kimberly L Rundle, 21 August 2013 22:14

    Tony, I enjoy Nascar because of you and can’t wait to see you race the 14 again, Martin thanks for filling in!!!

  112. Lezza, 21 August 2013 22:17

    Overall a Lovely article, but the second last para stands out for me. While I hope Ricciardo makes it to Red Bull, I agree that it would’ve been interesting to see Raikkonen come up against Mako. When Webber is in the Austrian’s orbit for the last time, I trust he will give him, and his little German friend, a no-holds barred Aussie spray.

  113. Peggy, 21 August 2013 22:26

    You captured the essence of why I am and will always be a Tony Stewart fan. I greatly admire his wit, his attitude of not taking crap from anyone, and least of all, his passion for racing. I happened to be at the track in Canada when he flipped several times. The way he acted after getting out and dusting himself off left no doubt he would have gotten right back in if not for the damaged sprint car. I pray for Smoke to have a full recovery, not so he can return to the corporatized NASCAR, but so that he may continue to live his passion on dirt.

  114. Doug, 21 August 2013 22:29

    Once in a while a GREAT ONE comes along. And SMOKE is JUST THAT ONE

  115. Dawn D, 21 August 2013 22:30

    Very well put.

    I’m an avid Tony Stewart fan because of the passion and drive he displays for the sport. He’ll bounce back from this, and will be even better next year!

  116. Shelly Turkow, 21 August 2013 22:34

    Great article …Smoke never give up sprint car racing & promoting our local ahort tracks..Wisconsin loves u Smoke!!!

  117. Donna Beth Lane, 21 August 2013 22:35

    Love the article!
    I am a diehard fan of Tony Stewart. Glad he’s doing what he loves.

  118. Shelly Turkow, 21 August 2013 22:37

    Great article ….Smoke never give up sprint car racing & promoting our local short tracks…Wisconsin loves u Smoke !!

  119. Diane Wetzel, 21 August 2013 22:39

    Let Tony do whatever he wants. Nobody can run and tell them what he can do or what he can’t do.

  120. Ellen, 21 August 2013 22:40

    Absolutely wonderful read !!! And I agree with everything you wrote. It is the “passion” in their blood that keeps them going. True fans acknowledge this passion, as we too, have it within us to watch every race, be in attendance when we can and yell as loud as possible for our favourite driver(s). I miss seeing Tony immensely, his determination on track, his honesty when it comes to delicate issues … get well soon Tony !!!

  121. Steve Miller, 21 August 2013 23:11

    Go SMOKE Go!!!! Sprint Cars all the way!!

  122. johnnie bordelon, 21 August 2013 23:14

    Being a 66 year old Granny just let me say thank you for this article on Tony!!!! I love the passion Tony has in everything he untakes to do in life.Nothing is half way with him.He does everthing with the same determination always, TO DO THE BEST HE CAN IN ALL THAT HE DOES!!! NOTHING IS HALF WAY, WHETHER RACING, OR BEING A BOSS AND OWNER.FEW
    PEOPLE HAVE THIS DRIVE TO LIVE LIFE LIKE
    THIS AND IT IS WHAT SETS TONY STEWART APART FROM MOST RACE CAR DRIVERS.HE IS
    TRULY A RACE CAR CHAMPION IN EVERY SENSE
    OF THE WORD (CHAMPION)! HE IS DESTINED TO BE ONES OF THE GREATEST RACE CARS DRIVER
    EVER IF NOT THE GREATEST!!!! HOPE HE HAS
    STILL GOT A LONG RACING CAREER AHEAD OF
    HIM FOR HE WILL ALWAYS BE MY CHAMPION.
    LOVE THE SMOKE!!!

  123. Scott Meyer, 21 August 2013 23:27

    I liked the article and I agree that if Stewart wants to continue the thrills of dirt track racing then more power to him. You only live so long and enjoy life to the fullest but you can’t compare or even mention Strewart in the same sentence with racing greats like Foyt and Andretti. One thing that separates him from the greats is that you never heard the greats whining about other drivers the way Stewart does. Stewart reminds me of a baby losing his pacifier. When he realizes that he never was and never will be the greatest all time, then he will be classified as one of the greats…

  124. Penny Olin, 21 August 2013 23:34

    It was so great to see someone like Tony step on a few feet and not be the kiss ass that many drivers are. The drivers are so afraid that saying something to a sponsor is taboo. I loved that a midwest born person like Tony is so real and genuine ( and cute)that I will stick by him forever and accept his driving in sprint and outlaw. Life is too short to worry about what others think you should do.Love,live and I’ll pray.

  125. Lin Daniels, 21 August 2013 23:43

    Love the article also Mr. Roebuck. You are absolutely right about Smoke and that’s what I love about him. His passion and dedication to the tracks he loves the most.

  126. Alan Peters, 21 August 2013 23:53

    Excellent article and I agree with you. I too feel as you do about NASCAR. It’s the only sport I give a damn about and it sure has changed over the years. Big money causes huge responsibility I guess, and political corectness which I cant stand! It sometimes seems very cookie cutter to me. That’s why I’m a Tony fan. (and my being from Indiana might be a part of it too) I love that he’s outspoken at times and tends to go against the grain. Besides all that I believe he is the purest defination of a racer.

  127. Lucretia Baker, 21 August 2013 23:57

    Tony is a true blue race car driver. He has proved it time an again. Take your time Tony and heal. We will still be here for you. Your favorite fan. Lucretia

  128. roger box, 22 August 2013 00:13

    i know tony has obligations but racing is his life his other drivers i think ar like his kids an tony fits right in i say do what you got do an we will back you all the way im 65 an i still feel like a kid good luck tony a devoted fan

  129. Barb Thase, 22 August 2013 01:01

    Right on! I love your article! Now go meet the man! Tony is unique in many ways and is an awesome driver. I love his passion…so let him race what he wants to race!. He’ll look at what happened and make decisions based on his passion for the sport. Can’t wait for him to return to Nascar! Go, Smoke!!

  130. Imelda Arris, 22 August 2013 01:01

    I have met Tony a few times over the years and he is just plain friendly and will give time to his fans! He is just wonderful, and he can drive anything, if it has wheels! I feel so bad that he got hurt, but that is the chance he takes, because of his love of racing! He knows the sport is not risk free, and he feels bad for is fans, more than for himself! I know that, because that is Tony!!

  131. Charlene Thomas, 22 August 2013 01:37

    Excellent! You have pointed out all the reasons in which I am and always will be a fan of Tony Stewart.

    True fans of his know that he is so good at what he does because of racing many types of cars on various types of tracks. He still speaks his mind and doesn’t sound like a robot, the way most of the other drivers do now.

    My love of NASCAR has also been diminished. Tony’s the reason I keep watching. I will keep cheering for the 14 and look forward to Tony’s return next year. After all, Smoke will Rise.

  132. Dawn Brown, 22 August 2013 01:46

    Amen and GOD bless you! It is so nice to finally see someone sticking up for Tony for a change. He’s a racer, a driver-what’s the problem? We all do what we love-whether it’s a hobby or what we do for a living! Thank you for the excellent article!

  133. Barb VanBogelen, 22 August 2013 02:00

    I agree Tony races out of PASSION for the sport. He is a proven driver, businessman,humanitarian. He has put together many many benefit races. I for one was so upset when Tony was hurt and could not race this year. I wish you a fast speedy recovery and I know in my heart that with the passion you have YOU will be BACK 2014 season to put the #14 car in the #1 spot!!!!!

  134. Barbara Huebner, 22 August 2013 02:11

    I like racing, but only when Tony is in there with #14. I’m not sure I’m actually going to sit and watch it anymore-maybe check in once in a while to see what’s happening. I wish Tony only the best and a speedy recovery-I adore him, and I’m 69 yrs. old!

  135. Barbara Huebner, 22 August 2013 02:12

    I miss Tony!!!

  136. alice, 22 August 2013 02:21

    Wonderful article about someone who I admire for all he does on a track, and off. He thrills us on Sundays, and keeps the small Saturday nite tracks alive. Also one of the most charitable people I have ever seen. Heal quickly, and completely. We miss you, but want you well, ASAP.

  137. Beth Creighton from Canada, 22 August 2013 02:28

    Tony is my ultimate driver, I wish him a speedy recovery & all the best in 2014. Tony is in my prayers.

    All my Love to Tony,

    Beth

  138. Barbara Stankey, 22 August 2013 02:29

    My favorite driver!!!. Because he lives and does what is in his heart ,Which gives him Joy !!! A man true to him self.. A great champion. Love how he loves racing dirt tracks. I truly enjoy every race he is in.. Smoke to me is the best.. Like that he speaks his mind.. Relieves the tension.. Wishing you the best Smoke!!! You are a very special man and greatest driver ever.. Race on!!! Throw the dirt any way you wish..

  139. randie shively, 22 August 2013 02:44

    I agree with u TONY STEWART is a man that when he has a set
    back he comes out like a ranging bull.NEXT

  140. Patsy Lopez de-Victoria, 22 August 2013 03:02

    I like you use to really like Nascar but over the years it has lost more than great drivers. One that I miss very much gets very little lamplight and that is Davey Allison and the Alabama gang. They like Tony, say what they felt and go on doing the things they loved. Tony is so strong, I don’t believe he will give up anything that is part of him and dirt track is Tony Stewart. I also like him because he wouldn’t drive a car that is not a stock car. I
    praise him for standing up for his beliefs no matter what they say. Hurry up and get well Smoke, we miss you badly.

  141. Elta Wilson, 22 August 2013 03:23

    I love Tony because he is what I would call the old set of Nascar racing. He has no fear and has the talent to go with it. I too like the oval dirt track. Dirt tracking is so much fun to watch. Usually there is a body of water and 2 or 3 of the cars will land in it. I would love to see a good dirt track race.I am so sorry that Smoke got hurt. I miss him already. TAKE CARE of yourself and I will be waiting for you to come back-better than ever.

  142. Kathy, 22 August 2013 03:24

    Xxx

  143. Lee Carey, 22 August 2013 03:56

    Your article is “spot on” I know Tony Stewart from my USAC Midget driver, KO, Kevin Olson. We ran the Indiana dirt Bull Rings when Tony was just getting started in Midget racing.
    Like Kenny Schrader, Tony is a racer’s racer. Beneath his sometimes gruff exterior, lies a really nice guy and one Hell of a Race Car driver.

  144. ralph, 22 August 2013 04:07

    YOU hit it right on the nose great read thank you

  145. Sheila Beach, 22 August 2013 04:16

    Great article!!!

  146. Linda Rice, 22 August 2013 04:32

    I’m a fan and and i think Tony should do what ever he likes i really miss him on race days .wishing him a great come back I no Smoke will rise again

  147. cathy lavigne, 22 August 2013 05:10

    I would like to deeply agree with you in regards to your feelings about Smoke. I myself was not much of a Nascar fan but surrounded by several until about 8 years ago. It was watching Smoke, climb the fence in his orange suit from Home Depot, to grab the checkered flag after he just won a race that caught my eye. And of course how he smoked up the track, now that looked like so much fun!! His passion shown through to the world and me without caring about what anyone else thought brought me to world of NASCAR. To see a professional driver, with so much passion and love for the sport came through loud and clear. Now, not a race day goes by where I am not cheering him on, or yelling at the tv during a race. Thank you Smoke for making the sport so on the edge, and real. I hope some day to be able to watch you race at Daytona. And even be lucky enough to shake your hand. So take care of yourself, and get back behind the wheel soon. We miss you. And far as I’m concerned, drive like you stole it, and enjoy every minute of it. Stay safe.
    A loyal fan,
    Cathy Lavigne

  148. ROBERT TILLMON, 22 August 2013 05:29

    I REALLY LIKED READING THIS AND I TO HAVE THOUGHT THE SAME ABOUT STEWART I`VE LIKED HIM A LONG TIME HE LOVES WHAT HE DOES AND I`VE LIKE HIM FOR WHO HE IS ON AND OFF THE TRACK AND HE TELLS IT LIKE HE SEE`S IT SOMEONE DOES HIM WRONG HE LETS THEM KNOW THANK YOU FOR THIS AND TO CLOSE SMOKE WILL RISE #14

  149. Karen J. Raufeisen, 22 August 2013 06:19

    Smoke will race dirt sprint cars for as long as he can!! That is what makes him who he is. Plus, I dare anyone to try to tell Smoke he cannot race them!! After they pick themselves up off of the ground they might have second thoughts!! LOL! I am brave, but not stupid. I would not dare to even attempt to stop him!! Neither will anyone else, I suspect if they value their lives!!

  150. Amber DuBose, 22 August 2013 06:24

    Great article Mr. Roebuck! Tony Stewarts passion is the key! I love his passion and I grew up with racing dirt , stock NASCAR !
    My Daddy was a race fanatic as well. Unfortunately I lost my father far too soon. He was racing street racing in 1962. I was just a toddler. I too carry that same thrill and passion. Only I watch not race! Tony Stewart is so much like my Father….he has as most say no filter…..I love that about him! Why sugar coat what is real? I admire Tony. He is a businessman and he is living life to the fullest! I have an anuerysm and I get that passion and I love it! I hope one day to finally meet the man and legend Smoke! # Smoke Will Rise! Get better Smoke we love you and racing just isn’t the same without you!

  151. Rhonda Van Der Hart, 22 August 2013 06:54

    Very well said!!
    I was at the race at the Southern Iowa Speedway, I happen to think of Tony as a hero! Yes, he can race anything on wheels, yes he was winning this race! When the other car crashed in front of Tony, he had no where to go. Now, Tony could have driven straight into Higday (and most likely it would have killed that driver) instead Tony sacrificed himself and turned into Higday and I believe that had saved Both their lives. For that in my eyes makes him one hell of a man and good driver. And I thinking asking ‘Smoke’ to give up something he loves to do because of an accident that caused him an injury that is going to keep him out of NASCAR for a few races is totally selfish!!
    Smoke loves what he does, and is great at what he does, and sometimes getting hurt is part of the risk EVERY race car driver takes every time they jump in that car – regardless what type it is or where.
    Would they still be gripping if he had injured himself in Pocono?!? I think not!!
    He might be a NASCAR driver, but his roots are planted in dirt!
    Let the man be a man! He will race what he wants when he wants and I say “Good for him!”
    This is not the end of his racing career, he just hit a pump in the road, he’ll be back and when he is look out! He’ll be ready to take home his Daytona 500 and 4th championship win!!
    So, Tony if you’re reading this, I say thank you for showing me a true hero side of you! I hope you are back up on both feet soon and I look forward to seeing you race sprints again here in Iowa!! And I look forward to seeing you again here in Knoxville!!!

  152. Toni McCartney, 22 August 2013 07:27

    I love Tony JUST as he is….and I totally agreed with Kenny Wallace, who said, “Tony has EARNED THE RIGHT to race whatever and whenever he wants.” God Bless Tony Stewart!!

  153. Steve W, 22 August 2013 08:11

    “someone slaughters The Star-Spangled Banner”…

    HAHA. So true. Our National Anthem surely must be the most abused song in history. Not just in racing, but in just about every sport.

  154. Andre van der Poel, 22 August 2013 09:08

    I’m a fan of Smoke since he started NASCAR in 1999, actually I was still a fan of Dale Jarrett as well until his retirement.
    Go Tony, wish you a speedy recovering, miss you!

  155. angie, 22 August 2013 09:46

    Couldn’t have said this better if I tried. Tony Stewart is the driver that got me into watching NASCAR. His love for the sport amazing me:). Wishing for next season to get here ready to watch smoke race. Thanks I enjoyed reading your piece also learned things I didn’t know.

  156. Angela Feeley, 22 August 2013 10:16

    Thank you for believing in the man of Tony Stewart and his passion.

  157. Brent Crousene, 22 August 2013 10:17

    HERE, HERE! Thank You very much for your take on my hero! The very traits of which you wrote are the reason he is so revered by myself and most of his fans. Smoke is Smoke and whatever he does in his time away from the cup scene is good with me as I know from his past, He’s gonna do whats in his heart and not let the pc world affect his decision.
    God Bless the TRUE racers! Thanx again,
    A Fan.

  158. Beverly Mintern, 22 August 2013 10:18

    I just finished reading your article and wanted to thank you for standing up for Tony Stewart . I do not understand those who say Tony should remove himself from his passion for Sprint car racing. I believe this idea began from the so-called professional announcers for NASCAR cup races who only follow The #48 team, Tony suffered the pain and will have to bare the recovery time. Tony is the ONLY one who can and will make the decision return to open wheel racing. Thank you again for supporting Tony. You have made this “Tony Stewart fan for life” very happy .

  159. frank dessert, 22 August 2013 10:45

    tonys the man . i’ve been his fan every since the great ERIN ERVIN. retreatedfrom winston cup. i seen tony race at pocono in 1998 driving the white number 20 car.isaid to myself..he’s going to be my next driver to follow in racing.. the next year his rookie of the year……..HE MAN.. SMOKE WILL RISE!

  160. Betty Majure, 22 August 2013 11:27

    Loved your assessment of Tony Stewart. I adore him and his views of life. I have Grand-Children his age so I couldn’t be considered a “Roady”. I hope God blesses him in every way and let him forever be a Free Spirit. A member of his Fan Club since Joe Gibbs introduced him to NASCAR. Thanks for your article.

  161. tTm Stewart, 22 August 2013 12:11

    Maybe all you guys should read the blueprint, Touch Wood by Duncan Hamilton. Not for nothing did Stirling Moss once call Innes Ireland a “paler Mike Hawthorn” those guys in the 50s made Master James look like a choirboy

  162. Bob Gilbey, 22 August 2013 12:21

    Gone are the days when F1 drivers drove anything with wheels – I wonder how someone such as Jim Clark would have got on against Tony Stewart in dirt track cars.

    Gone are the days when there was a sports car race then a saloon car race and then a Grand Prix – and some of the drivers took part in all of them!

    Will never forget seeing Jimmy three-wheeling a Lotus Cortina or a Lotus 30 (pig) and then drive the F1 car – bet that Tony Stewart would have enjoyed the opportunity!

  163. Jane Hadley, 22 August 2013 12:36

    I appreciate your thoughts about AJ and Tony. They are an integral part of racing in the Hoosier State as well as on a national level. I am old enough to be a huge fan of both drivers, never missing a 500 until the IRL went crazy and then when Tony went to NASCAR I followed. Its just not the same without him in the races and I pray that he comes back full force ASAP. Thanks again for your good words.

  164. jevialyn Robinson, 22 August 2013 13:06

    Great article Tony Stewart is the best to me.He has HEART

  165. Tom Letourneau, 22 August 2013 13:15

    Truth be known (and admitted???) NASCAR has become a sad, sorry joke and excuse of what racing has become under their (NASCAR) umbrella!

    The incessant YELLOW Flags often for not much more reason that some farted is deplorable….more-so the never ending, almost every race, and every NASCAR series, of orchestrating the results of the race by throwing those Yellow Flags so we can bunch everyone up for a Green, White sprint to the Checkered Flag and maybe even have “The Big One”!

    Especially frustrating is when they also do this on road courses wherein those of us that follow and participate in road racing know that 99% of the time it (Yellow Flags) are absolutely unnecessary….and again an attempt by NASCAR to orchestrate races and create their idea of excitement!

    Worse is now, with NASCAR, also behind the new, American, Road Race Series combining what was Grand Am and the Rolex Series Cars…. they have also carried their Yellow Flag mentality and conduct over to that series….all but ruining it!

    Tom Letourneau
    Cumberland, RI

  166. Elizabeth, 22 August 2013 13:26

    it warms my heart to see this many people love Tony! We all love him how he is and what he does! He won’t ever change himself for politically correct reasons, he is true to himself and his millions of fans. You go, Tony the Tiger!! Love you and heal well!

  167. Andrew, 22 August 2013 13:40

    Hugely enjoyable to read, thanks Nigel, hope you get the chance to meet “Smoke” some day and that he gets back soon.

    Great comparison with Kimi, it is a shame, but no surprise that he didn’t secure a RBR drive for next year. I sense a combination of Vettel’s influence and RB “corporate input” that drove that decision.

    One final point Nigel, I have longed for a follow up to your book from the mid 80′s, “Grand Prix Greats” ……Kimi would surely be a contender for inclusion (among others)…. I’m sure there are others who would love to see a second offering of this….keep up the fine work

  168. Richard Yelich, 22 August 2013 13:58

    There are 100s’ of thousand boys’ and men wanting that passion that only a few have persuade and don’t really understand what it takes to get to that caliber of racing. Lot of dedication of young age and parents to sacrifice things that they have giving up to have there children persuade there dreams. These is in any sport that brings out those athletes. I tried it in later years but, had to make the decision between family or racing.

  169. Sandra Newcomb-Grosso, 22 August 2013 14:23

    Tony , we saw you here last year it person here in Syracuse area New York , and it was a blessing and a dream come true !! You see we don’t live on a lot of Money , and to see you here at a local track with your Sprint car was just as exciting to us as seeing you with your racecar!! I say that , because I don’t know if we will ever have the money to go to a Nascar race , so as I said , it was a blessing to see you here and be right next to you , get pictures of you up close , I was also interviewed as one of your fans by our local paper!! God Bless you Tony , I pray for a Quick healing and a full recovery . Despite everything that people may say about you , we love you Tony and we are here for you!!!! Blessing’s Sandra By the way my hubby is a Petty fan from way back!!

  170. Glenda, 22 August 2013 14:39

    Excellent article!!

  171. Wilma Phoenix, 22 August 2013 15:21

    Good article…yes I support Tony fully in his racing…that is his passion..take away the passion and you take away the driver…I’ve been along time fan of Tony…I like the way he tells it like he sees it..not the sugar coated version that some want to hear…I have met him several times and will remain a fan…Go Tony…hope you heal well and look forward to the 2014 season…

  172. Kathy, 22 August 2013 16:44

    Yes Tony may be a driver/owner with alot of responsibilities but where does it say his life is no longer his to do what enjoy’s/loves doing just for his own personal enjoyment. He is respected by his Peers an inspiration to the up and coming and as for sponsors use it to your advantage if you can that’s what I’d do example : Mobile 1 Tony may be broken down at the moment but he’s not done he’s just in the shop for repairs he’s tough just like our oil ….ok it’s cheesey I know but you get my meaning

  173. Daniel Nekolite, 22 August 2013 17:30

    Great article! Stewart is a true race car driver who drives anything he can and keeps in touch with his roots! Something too many people are so quick to loose and forget, It shows that he has great character and strives to be challenged on a day to day basis. I hope Tony Stewart continues to race sprint cars!

  174. Fluffnutter, 22 August 2013 18:15

    Where there’s “Smoke” there is fire!

    Tony has that racing fire in his gut! I was skeptical at first whether it was in his best interests to race dirt tracks but after reading this article, I’m convinced that he should be able to do what he loves! The best drivers in Nascar come from the dirt tracks.

    I remember the days when you were lucky to get race coverage on TV….I would listen to them on the radio with my father and sister. Dad would take us to the local dirt track (Lernerville, PA) every Friday night.

    I have attended several races and will never attend one again. Mostly because of all the hoopla! Especially when they still proceed with it knowing rain is in the forecast. Too much of my hard earned money wasted.

    Good Luck on your recovery Tony, and I would bet my next paycheck that he will be racing dirt tracks after his recovery!

  175. Tiger Al, 22 August 2013 18:16

    You should watch the truck races, Nigel; they are usually the best race on any given weekend. Great short oval action, last week on DIRT (!) and next week at Mosport; and lots of great young character drivers. Uniquely American racing, well worth a look!

  176. Kevin, 22 August 2013 19:23

    Great article Nigel – please cover more NASCAR stories in Motorsport.

  177. Dave Cubbedge, 23 August 2013 00:05

    Wow, 176 posts on a NASCAR topic! I think you hit a vein Nigel! Other drivers take note: Be like Tony and you’ll have responses like this! I am hugely impressed!

    Today they say Kimi is still in the running for that RB seat. I hope like crazy that he gets it!

    Go Tony!

  178. Karen Trippe, 23 August 2013 01:16

    This was a tremendous article. It showed Tony’s passion for racing. His fans love his drive and getting out there for everyone to see him. I love him as a fan – Tony – Please get well and come back even stronger.

  179. Michael Spitale, 23 August 2013 16:11

    Kimi’s quotes from today could have come from Tony just as easily…. HA

    “I still don’t have a contract so what else can I say?

    “Until I can tell you anything 100 per cent, you keep asking and I keep saying the same things.

    “We will not get anywhere and then there is a lot of bullshit in the papers about the different options, that this will happen, that this guy said that.

    “There must be much more interesting things to write about and tell people than the same things over and over again.”

  180. Dave Cubbedge, 23 August 2013 16:34

    Absolutely Michael! Two peas in a pod!

  181. Giancarlo, 23 August 2013 19:10

    Great article Nigel well done !
    Tony Stewart is one of the very few left total racer and I do remember him racing the same day on 2 difference tracks playing with the time zone. If I might I would mention another AJ Foyt’s pupil Robby Gordon who would race on everything.

  182. Ginger, 24 August 2013 01:30

    Thank You so very much for this Story Line!!! Great Job!!! Yes, Tony Stewart is His own Man and I am sure He will continue on His chosen path……..For Me, a 68 year old Grandmother, He is NASCAR and the only reason I watch the series. Would Love, someday, to meet The Man Himself!!! Old people have Dreams too!!! Don’t change Tony ~ I have so very much respect for You!!! But, do us all a favor!!! Please Don’t bring the likes of Kurt Bush into “StewartHass”, not when You have a Winner in Ryan Newman already in place!!! I so missed when You did not do “Prelude to a Dream” at Eldora this summer!!! Just get better ~ That is all that matters now ~ Your Health and being back in Youe #14 Chevy for 2014!!! Don’t push it Man!!!
    No Backsliding on this repair. If it is going to get better, it must be done the right way!!! You get no DO-OVERS at 42 and it gets worse the older you get!!! Love You Tons ~ and, God Bless, You are always in my Prayers…………!!! XO

  183. Sandy Powers, 24 August 2013 03:14

    Your article regarding “Smoke” is so on target which obviously means that I absolutely agree with your critique of him, both as a racer and just as importantly as a human being. Thank you for articulating his attributes so well. He is a rare combination of a naturally talented racer on many levels, passionate, outspoken, a “bit of a rebel”, never boring, and a kind, caring individual. Already looking forward to Daytona 2014!

  184. Mike Elliott, 24 August 2013 03:34

    Couldn’t agree more! I’ve been a Smoke fan since he came to cup racing, and I’ve followed his progress intently over the years. It’s been an interesting ride, and I don’t think it’s anywhere near over. I look forward to watching him race exclusively on dirt, when he decides he’s had enough of the political game at the Cup level. He’s a real treat to watch on a dirt oval. No doubt, Smoke will rise!

  185. John Forbesw, 24 August 2013 04:07

    On july 29,2013 when Tony Stewart raced and flipped 5 times
    at Oshweken Racetrack in Ontario, Canada a friend of ours got a message to Tony about my wife who was dying of cancer and that Tony was her favourite driver. Tony came to our campsite at about 11.00 that night and spent over a half hour talking to my wife. I will always be grateful to Tony for making the highlight of my wife’s life that night. thanks Tony for being such a great person.
    John A. Forbes

  186. Rusty Weaver, 24 August 2013 17:07

    You are a great driver as well as a great person.Was so happy to see ya get awat from them toys.lol. and start your own team with chevy.Aways knew you would go back to chevy.Recover quickly you are missed.Glad to see Mark in the car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! peace!!

  187. Lynda Cray, 27 August 2013 05:01

    Thanks for truth in your journalism. Tony built a fan base upon his integrity and passion for racing. Young people may not understand what it is to live what you believe and count the cost, and that is why they need Tony’s example. And now that I know Tony is an AJ Foyt fan…I admire him even more! Race on, Tony and keep the faith.

  188. A.S. Gilbert, 27 August 2013 06:50

    Great article, can’t agree more.
    I do think Tony mirrors A.J.Foyt, and that great era, in racing’s and America’s history.
    I attended a World of Outlaws race here in Edmonton, Alberta on Saturday night past. Sprint cars are very impressive, “lighting in a bottle” rockets that take a great skill to master.
    Mr’s. Cubbage, Ambroson, and Spitale are familiar commentators. A drink someday gents, I hope !
    Somebody, should build a 3/8 or 1/2 mile banked dirt oval, or several, in Europe. Sweden, Germany, Russia and the UK likely. Thinking about the hot rodder bent, and fertile new interest, here.
    Given the response to this article, from many welcome new respondents, I wonder if perhaps it was syndicated more widely than MotorSport itself. Thank you all, check in again.
    NASCAR grandstands are gaping on race days, sponsors are increasingly difficult to find. I think much of this due to Nigel’s observations, about how the show almost parody’s itself.
    Formula 1′s under current stewardship is in the same boat. Diluted, and playing in uncaring venues, to vice like specifications, that promote clinical domination packages.
    Kimi and Tony take us to a place where better values, greater love of endeavour, and the elbow to “party line” are credible.
    To what end ? Most popular, bankable gents in the business.
    To me the most telling of so many, is Mr.John Forbes’ account, moving, and so human. Prayers with yours, sir.
    Kimi and Tony, would’ve stood out in any era, but they are too unique in the current one.

  189. Eric in New Jersey, 28 August 2013 02:58

    Fantastic, someone who agrees with me, I feel absolved! I, here in the USA, have always had limited availability to European racing growing up. There was some F1, but I was inspired by the BTCC, DTM, WRC etc. Here, in the US, Indy was good, CanAm was evoking and GrandAm was available. NASCAR was always there. It was a simple form of automotive entertainment, but pleasing. In the early 2000′s, NASCAR became so very commercialized, that I lost interest. I follow F1, ALMS, WEC and the like. But Tony Stewart has shown a kindred spirit of racing. He swapped cars with Hamilton at Watkins Glen and competed in the Race of Champions. A true racer. As an American, I love international racing of many sorts and would love to see American drivers or teams back in F1.

  190. Kathy Reed, 28 August 2013 03:17

    Thank you for the article. Nice to have someone defend Tony for a change. But his fans have always understood him as you do. He is one of the best drivers ever & I agree he is a maverick and please never change Tony! That’s why we love you! Get well cause I really miss you in the #14.

  191. Rob Sawyer, 29 August 2013 16:48

    That is possibly why he didn’t get the drive for Red Bull, not quite house-trained corporately.

  192. Trappeur Coller, 29 August 2013 22:39

    It appears that you touched a nerve with this article. Great stuff, and Smoke is the best of the best in NASCAR.

    Boy, would I love to see him at Le Mans someday, hey AJ did it!

  193. gene van meter, 31 August 2013 19:58

    I grew up in Salem,In. you are the reason I drive 50 miles and spend over 10$ to get the lastest Motor Sport. As Burt Levy said ” thats it, thats it exacly”. Bob Sweikert used to come and swim in our pool in 53 and 54 so I love all of your stories. The last open wheel non wing race was held at Salem a couple of years ago, Donald Davidson was there and talked of you, which I thought was so cool. Thanks

  194. Ruth Ann Dubois, 1 September 2013 15:26

    Tryin to reach Tony to attend benefit on Oct 12 for Sydney Bowling…she met him at the Brickyard and they hit it off and she would love see him again. Please if he can contact me and we can make arrangements ti surprise her. 17652650820 is my number please contact me with any help or info to contact Tonys manager. Thank you

  195. Teresa Hoffman, 3 September 2013 00:01

    Wow, best article yet!! You captured Tony the person dead on. I’ve always been loyal to racers who race for the Love of it. I’m a big fan of late Alan Kulwicki, Terry LaBonte and Tony Stewart. In my eyes they represent the real down to earth racers that truly have a passion for the sport. They aren’t there for the fame and notoriety.
    Wishing Tony all the best in his recovery. It’s going to be a lo-n-g winter. Looking forward to Smoke’s return. And yes Smoke will raise again!! God’s Speed!!

  196. Bryon Heisey, 4 September 2013 03:21

    I have to tell you when I first met smoke. I’ve worked on sprint car for 30 years. In the winter months we build new cars and play around with rc cars. Tony was still driving in the IRL. One Saturday Smoke showed up at are local rc track. He was there to race just like us .h pitted be side me and it was like I knew him my hole life. We talked about just about anything to do with racing. I see him alot at sprint car races in Central Pennsylvania. I know just how he feels. We make eye contact and we s
    mile and laugh. After 30 years he is just the same person who has never changed. I give him his space because I remember how he feels to be able to injoy just having fun. I’ll go down to the corner enjoy the race and he’ll find time to catch up. He never forgets. Thats a real friend. People need to know what a great human being he really is. Thanks for letting me share with you my story about my friend SMOKE.

  197. bob mclennan, 2 October 2013 12:13

    In recent article in Road & Track, Tony was asked why he races so much? his response,
    “Because I can!” Simple and straight forward.

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Nigel-Roebuck-2011

Nigel Roebuck

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