COLUMBUS -- Despite many bad breaks this season, two-time NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart isn't feeling sorry for himself. Instead, he's focused on having a good race on Sunday and helping out some folks in his hometown.
After finishing 35th last Sunday at Pocono and falling to 12th in the points, the 1989 graduate of Columbus North High School found some perspective when he went home and found much of his town under water, with people displaced and many homes damaged or destroyed.
Stewart, known for his charitable work, quickly decided he needed to do something to help. The result: he will donate his share of Sunday's race purse to the American Red Cross in Columbus, with the money earmarked for flood assistance.
"I went down on Monday and visited the guys at the city garage who have been working long hours trying to get the streets and everything cleaned up," Stewart said. "I just went there and told all those guys, 'Thanks.' Most of them have been working 24-hour shifts getting everything cleaned up.
"We went by the junior high I used to go to, and that's where the Red Cross has their shelter put up, and I went in there to try to lift everybody's spirits up and just visit with everybody," Stewart said. "It's just hard. A lot of these people have lost everything, and I just wanted to let them know we were thinking about them."
Told Friday about Stewart's visit, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said he wasn't surprised by the driver's generosity.
"I thought he might," Daniels said. "That's just like him.
"By the way, next to our weather, Tony's had the worst luck around," Daniels joked. "So he's about due to win. He's due for some good luck, too."