Aug 13, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT
Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage, who’s known as one of the better promoters in racing, said both Tony Stewart and the Ward family need time to heal and recover from the pain they’re both feeling as a result of Saturday night’s incident that claimed Kevin Ward Jr.’s life.
Gossage, who’s known and promoted Stewart’s races at least since he was then racing in the Indy Racing League at TMS’ first year of operations in 1997, and annually in NASCAR since 1999, discussed the situation Wednesday on Voices of the Game with Newy Scruggs, on NBCSportsRadio.com.
“It’s a sad horrible tragic mess. If I were in his (Kevin Ward Sr.’s) shoes, I’d be crushed, so I totally understand his feelings,” Gossage said.
“And the one thing I do know is that Tony would not (intentionally) have hit that young man… if he had a way to avoid it, he would have,” he added. “It’s just an accident, but a tragic one.”
Gossage said he didn’t know if Stewart will be able to find the mental fortitude needed to compartmentalize the events of Saturday night and race this weekend in Michigan. Stewart’s status for the race is uncertain.
“I don’t know. I’d have to know where his mind is,” Gossage said. “I can only imagine he is just crushed by this. Knowing how Tony is such a big-hearted, emotional person, that’s good and bad. In a situation like this it’s not something that you can easily compartmentalize.
“Tony doesn’t really have any family. His mom and dad, yes. But he’s not married, no kids. I don’t even think he has a girlfriend right now. There’s something to be said for having friendly faces around him.
“Nothing you can say can minimize the pain he’s dealing with, or the Ward family either.”
Lastly as a track promoter and president, Gossage understands the business side – Stewart, as team co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing and owner Eldora Speedway has what Gossage estimated as 600 to 1,000 people he needs to take care of.
“Without him, they don’t have a job,” Gossage said. “That’s something I know he thought about, a year ago; the impact it has on those people. It’s one of those things.
“Running Texas Motor Speedway, I feel an obligation to every family and knowing their way of life.
“Tony’s ‘golf game’ is running sprint car races on dirt. Sunday is when he’s working.”
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