Let me start off saying that I don’t know exactly how this happened. That’s the honest answer, and anyone who tells you differently is wrong. Or lying.
It’s been a long day at Texas Motor Speedway. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race should have been long over by now, but instead, we sat through something like six hours of a rain delay. Day turned into night, and there we were, waiting for this race to get going under skies darker than smoke.
There I was, taking it all in—being Jalopnik’s weekend warrior, it’s not often that I get to go indulge my NASCAR side on Saturday or Sunday. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see Tony Stewart’s head on a stick ride by on a golf cart.
“I need a selfie with that,” the ghost of my inner teenage girl echoed through my mind. Anything warrants a selfie if you try hard enough.
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I resisted my urges to photograph myself with this head on a stick, thinking I was above it. But when I walked along the pit stalls about 10 minutes later, there he was, still sitting on the golf cart. I gave into the photo urges, and a man who sincerely appeared to be the golf-cart driver came over and offered Tony to me.
Let’s hope he actually was, and actually had the power to gift Tony to me.
“Here, take him,” he said, cutting Tony free from his secured seat on the cart.
Not knowing how to react, shrugged and took hold of the strange object being handed to me. Then, somehow, I was walking down pit road with Tony on a stick. You can’t get one of those at the concession stand.
After pictures with about 10 Stewart fans, Tony made it back to the media center. There was an open seat next to mine. It was meant to be.
“Please turn him around, I can’t focus,” echoed the journalists around me.
Nonsense. Tony will be put to work.
Here we go, Tony. This is the beginning of a new adventure. Now that I’ve got ahold of you, you’re not retiring anytime soon.
Update, Nov. 7 at 4:05 p.m. ET: Weird that there’s an update to this one, right? Well, Texas Motor Speedway said this about the Stewart face on Reddit: “Fun Fact: We had many of these to pass out to fans during driver introductions and some genius forgot to pass them out.”
My cats would love a few more, honestly.