A Big Bullseye

Shame on you Phil Jewett. I wonder how you've been able to sleep the last couple nights.

Jewett is the latest "victim" of the Tony Stewart anger management tour. The Emergency Medcial Technician claims he was punched by Stewart while assisting the driver from his car after a wreck in last July's Winston Cup race at New hampshire International Speedway.

Jewett told the Concord (N.H.) Monitor that Stewart got physical with him as he was trying to do his job after the accident. ''As soon as he saw me in the corner of his eye, he swung at me and hit me in the left arm,'' Jewett said. ''I was pretty shocked.''

Well I'm the one who's shocked now Phil. After seeing the videotape which NBC showed during Sunday's running of the New Hampshire 300, Mr. Jewett should look up the word punched immediately. It's very obvious that Stewart did touch Jewett after climbing out of his wrecked car, but the contact was a slap of the EMT's arm and certainly nothing at all resembling a punch.

Now I'm not condoning Stewart hitting anyone at all. But in the context of what happened and especially in light of the allegation, this couldn't be more of a non-issue.

Do you think Stewart was a little upset after crashing his car in a race that was like running on an ice rink? You'd better believe it. And while it's the safety person's job to ensure the driver is ok after an accident, there can certainly be a little judgement applied. The last thing any driver wants after climbing from his battered racecar is to have his space invaded, whether it be a safety technician, media person or even a crew member. Upon seeing that Stewart was able to get out of the car under his own power, Jewett should have given him at least a minute to compose himself, rather than trying to grab Stewart's arm.

The video clearly shows Stewart slapping Jewett's arm away as he angrily walked to the ambulance for the mandatory trip to the infield care center. But that's it. No punch, no fight, no story.

Never mind the fact that it took Jewett two months to come forward. Forget the fact that the Concord paper conveniently ran the story just prior to NASCAR's return visit to NHIS. Stewart doesn't deserve this added accusation, which certainly smacks of an opportunistic move by Jewett to capitalize on the two well-publicized incidents Stewart has been battling.

Stewart's short temper and inability to control his anger and emotions and brought this situation upon him. But I believe him when he says he's doing what he can to control himself. The first part of solving a problem is admitting to it and at the least Stewart has taken that first step.

It's a shame that people like Jewett want to take advantage of someone's weakness for their own personal gain.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2002

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