Anyone who thought a decision last month by an upstate New York grand jury not to charge NASCAR star Tony Stewart in the death of sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. would be the end of the issue was sadly mistaken.
First, there has always been the possibility of a civil lawsuit by Ward’s family.
This week illustrated the far more likely and long-lasting effects of Stewart’s involvement in that incident.
Stewart backing down pit road and into Brad Keselowski’s car Saturday night went largely unnoticed and was relatively minor considering other events that transpired, but some news media were quick to jump on Stewart’s actions and portrayed him as the focus of the wild aftermath of the race.
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Was it fair? No. Was it ethical? That depends on your standards for today’s journalism.
Regardless, however, it is the reality of the world in which we live and what Stewart will likely face for the remainder of his career.
Stewart is just as likely to face the scrutiny and criticism whether he backed into someone on the track or in a local grocery store parking lot.
There are a great number of people for whom the grand jury’s decision reinforced their belief in Stewart and what transpired that August night. There is also a group who will continue to blame Stewart and believe he got away with something.
It is unlikely those in either camp will ever change their mind and they are not required to do so.
Anything Stewart does that can be considered the least bit “controversial” will automatically become ammunition for those with a differing view.
The only way Stewart comes close to escaping it is to leave racing and he already said he wasn’t going to do that.
So, this is what we’re left with.
Carolina Motorsports Park up for sale
The owners of Carolina Motorsports Park, a road racing facility located in Kershaw, S.C., announced Wednesday they plan to sell the 280-acre property on U.S. 521. The facility contains a 2.27-mile road course and a 0.7-mile karting track.
The course opened in 1999 and weekdays the road course is primarily used for race team practice, car manufacturer testing, TV show and commercial filming as well as law enforcement training.
Weekends are busy with auto and motorcycle races, track time events and driver education. In recent years several NASCAR teams have tested at CMP in preparation for their road course events.
Blaney to run Cup race
Ryan Blaney will continue his busy end-of-the-season driving schedule this weekend at Talladega as he makes his second career start in the Cup series, driving Team Penske’s No. 12 Ford.
Blaney, a regular in the Truck series, has competed in the last two Nationwide Series events and is scheduled to compete in the Nationwide race at Texas in two weeks.
Crew chief Jeremy Bullins will lead the team with the pit crew from Penske’s No. 22 Nationwide team. Blaney finished 27th in his Cup debut at Kansas in the spring.
Repeat winner in Truck driver challenge
Jamie Price, the transporter driver for the No. 18 Cup series team at Joe Gibbs Racing, recently won the 2014 Pilot Flying J Truck Driver Challenge, his second win in the competition. Price earned the $30,000 top prize.
Finishing in second was Tom McCrimmon, who drives the transporter for JGR’s No. 20 Cup team. He collected $7,500. Greg Sorber, who drives the transporter for the No. 22 Nationwide team at Penske, finished third and took home $2,500.
New Truck team based in Salisbury
Australian-based Roo Motorsports has moved into a facility in Salisbury, where it plans to field an entry to compete next season in the Truck Series with driver Scott Saunders.
Saunders, who has won several karting titles around the world, has made a handful of starts in NASCAR’s Nationwide, Truck and K&N Pro Series East series in recent years.
‘After the Lap’ tickets on sale
All 16 drivers who qualified for this season’s Chase will appear at the Dec. 4 “NASCAR After the Lap” event during Champion’s Week activities in Las Vegas at the Pearl Palms Concert Theater. Fans can purchase tickets at www.NASCARafterthelap.com.