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Gossage: Nothing can minimize the pain either Stewart, Ward family feels

Aug 13, 2014, 1:04 PM EST

Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage. Getty Images

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.”

  1. techmeister1 - Aug 13, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    Everyone handles grief differently. Some folks need to be around people, some need to be left alone. Some people need to get back to their work while they try to process. Some just need time. All directly involved in this tragedy are going to need lots of time and understanding.

    Attempting to persecute an innocent man is not going to bring Kevin back to life. If Stewart did something wrong then hold him fully accountable. If he did not then treat him as a victim also because he truly is if he did nothing wrong.

    • worknman24hours - Aug 13, 2014 at 7:59 PM

      How Tony is judged by history on this terrible accident will be determined by how Tony acts from now on.

      The less he says the better ,the less he races,at least this year the better.

      Tony has massive business responsibilities at risk right now and he needs to do everything he can to be seen in the right light,respecting that this investigation process moves forward and he can move on next year hopefully having done whatever needs to be done to at least show,he’s tried to be respectful of all parties involved.

      Tony’s very best move is to never talk about this accident again.

      Tony has already apologized sincerely in public and that should be the end of any statements from him about this.

      Private statements have a bad way of becoming public statements so that matters too.

      Nothing he can say will ever make what happened any better and everything he says can and may be used against him in court.

      Which unfortunately,extends to many years ahead to possible civil cases over this accidental death.

      • draconian1111 - Aug 15, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        A tragic accident. As far as court or civil cases go though – had Ward not taken the actions he did (walking into traffic, essentially) – nothing would have happened. EVEN IF Stewart meant to hit him – a court would still find Ward 50% at fault (assuming all attorneys are at least minimally functional).

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