It's appropriate to call Tony Stewart a "bad boy," but you have to have to have the right connotation. I'm not talking "bad boy" like James Dean, all sultry and seductive. I'm talking "bad boy" like Chuck Norris. On second thought, maybe what I really mean is "bad ass."
Because Tony Stewart, or "Smoke," is definitely a bad ass, in that "I don't give a crap what other people think, I'm going to be me and do my thing." And his thing is racing. He looooooves racing.
I've hung onto a six year old quote from Smoke, because it epitomizes what I think is awesome about him, but also what I want my protagonist to feel about racing. He's talking about the 24 Hours of Daytona:
"I do (the 24 Hours) just because it's another race I can go run," said Stewart.... "If anybody wants to go out and have a foot race after we're done with the media session, we'll go outside. I've got new shoes on, they're soft on the bottom and I think I'll have a traction advantage over you Docker fans. I'll race anything. It doesn't matter to me." (Racer, August 2006)
His passion for racing often means a spectacular display of driving, such as the final race last year, which he had to come from the back of the field (twice) to win outright to take the season championship. It can also mean some great displays of temper, such as this weekend's helmet throwing incident.
Now, I don't know if he was right or wrong and Kenseth was crowding him or driving fair. I don't really care. Because I love that Smoke is fired up enough to throw his helmet. And you know? Maybe he swore on tape, but I doubt it. He's savvy enough to know it's good TV and a good show of temper to throw his helmet, but not to curse a blue streak or make obscene gestures. Smoke tends (as far as I know) to leave it on the track.
Which makes for a damn entertaining show. Anyone else a fan?