You don't have to be a NASCAR fan to have an opinion about the Tony Stewart crash in which driver Kevin ward Jr. lost his life. The nation has been divided into two camps since the footage of the accident began making headlines, and now Tony is seeing the balance being tipped unfavorably towards him.
Apart from the official investigation that is trying to determine if Tony had any criminal intent when his car hit and subsequently killed fellow driver Kevin Ward, Stewart has to make his own decision in regards to the future of his racing career, even if it's just for this season.
Stewart has to decide sooner rather than later if he is going to get behind the wheel of his sprint car again and complete the current season, after he announced that he was dropping out of the races taking place that weekend.
So far, Stewart has yet to return to racing, but as the events pile up, he is going to have to issue a statement regarding his future. Soon after the accident, the press had reported that he'd gone into hiding and his spokesperson merely stated that he had gone to stay with friends.
Sporting News seems to be in favor of Tony getting back behind the wheel, claiming that “the mourning period has lasted long enough.” As an example, they give the case of Dale Earnhardt Jr. who went on to race in the Daytona 500 back in 2001, a week later after his father had died a gruesome death in a car crash during a race.
Not only did he complete the race, but he came in second as the checkered flag came down, and many said it was an honor to his late father's name, as well as a testament of his courage. Now, some are expecting Stewart to do the same, although in his case the issue might not be that straightforward.
The police investigation into the case is still ongoing, and it remains to be seen if Stewart is going to face criminal charges. So far, the only thing he's had to endure was the public backlash from fans who are convinced that he ran over Ward intentionally.
His fellow drivers have mostly stood by him and defended him in the public forum. Drivers like Michael Waltrip who went on the record to say that “My heart tells me Tony just didn’t see the young man.”
He goes on to explain that “To say that he did anything intentional, I don’t see how people come up with that. Because what would he have been reacting to? He didn’t wreck. He didn’t even know he was in a wreck, in my opinion.”
Sadly for Stewart, no matter what decision he is going to take, there is no doubt that it is going to be debated and criticized by those who have already declared him guilty in their minds.