Tony Stewart was cleared of all criminal wrong doing in the death of Kevin Ward Jr. several weeks ago. The driver, and former champion, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is moving forward and living life even though the shadow of a possible civil suit from the Ward family could be hanging over his head.
Everything was going fine until Brad Keselowski came unglued at Charlotte Motor Speedway during a Saturday night race under the lights. Following the completion of the race Keselwoski decided to ram a few cars including a brush-up of the back end of Stewart's car. The problem was that this happened while Tony was sitting in his car at a stop on pit lane waiting to be cleared to enter the garage area.
Stewart did what many drivers would do when rear-ended by a fellow driver while sitting at a dead stop. Stewart dropped the car in reverse and plowed into the front end of the No. 2 car driven by Keselowski. Now, even though Brad started the roller derby antics, Stewart is suddenly thrust back into the spotlight. You can almost hear Stewart whisper under his breath..."thanks Brad!"
Does it Matter?
The question is will the post race antics and fine levied against Stewart, as well as Keselowski, by NASCAR have any bearing on a possible civil case coming from the family of Kevin Ward Jr.? And that's even if the whole thing was instigated by Keselowski who had already rubbed other cars and tried to wreck one driver following the end of the race?
The answer is "yes" there defiantly is a possibility that the simple visual of Tony's car backing into Keselowski could have an impact on a civil case ruling. While Stewart can't be held criminally liable since he's been cleared by the DA's office and a Grand Jury in the State of New York a civil case has a lower standard of proof.
NBC Sports' legal analyst Jack Furlong says that in the case of a civil lawsuit they would look at other bad acts. And in the case of Stewart that would not be too hard. There are plenty of videos online of him tossing a helmet or simply being rude and snippy during his younger days during press conferences.
"We look to other bad acts, other examples of distemper, and other examples of acting recklessly on a track," Furlong said. "That can be before the incident and that can be after the incident."
Probation a Good Thing
The bottom line for Tony Stewart is to not let your emotions get the best of you even if another driver rams you in the back end while waiting for a post race inspection. NASCAR has place both Keselowski and Stewart on probation and fined them both.
That might be the best thing that could have happened to Stewart. Now he has added reason to behave. At least that's Furlong said his advice to Stewart would be.
"If I’m Tony’s lawyer I am saying to him run the other way," Furlong stated. "You cannot be in a confrontation because this will come back to haunt you and it absolutely could in this instance."