Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011 | 11:35 a.m.
Changes. It seems like there have been a million of them in NASCAR over the past few season. Changes to the rules, changes to the points system and changes to the cars are the major adjustments NASCAR has made. And now the sanctioning body is getting ready to change the points system — again.
Although a lot of fans erupt every time a change is made, I can understand that some changes are necessary to keep the sport fresh, as well as keep it competitive with other sports and on a path toward growth. But sometimes it’s nice to have certain things that never change. It’s nice to have just one thing that remains familiar.
Thank goodness for Tony Stewart.
This week, police in Sydney, Australia questioned Stewart after he got into a scuffle with one of the owners of an Australian dirt track, where Stewart was competing. Stewart allegedly hit the track owner with his helmet and the track owner struck back by punching the NASCAR driver. That’s when the cops were called.
Regardless of what you may think about Stewart or this particular incident, one thing you can count on from Tony is that he will always be Tony. I’m not advocating that his volatile behavior is the most mature form of communication — and the use of violence isn’t the right way to have a conversation. But at least he’s consistently himself and doesn’t try to be anything else. That would seem phony. For all the criticism Stewart receives, and probably will receive for this latest incident, if he were to suddenly start acting like Mr. Rogers he would possibly receive harsher criticism for becoming a vanilla, neutered corporate shill.
So in a world of constant change, we can count on Stewart to remain constant. He’ll act out, and sometimes he’ll suffer the consequences. And the entire time we will stay riveted to every word. Who knows, consistency like Stewart’s may do just as much to keep this sport exciting as changes to the points system, cars and rules.