This is an old story from last year about SHR and Tony Stewart. It was not nationally publicized but we got the story from people we know and posted it. There are plenty more like it but it might give everyone an inside into what kind of person TS is and what he does for the racing community. Original date for this article was June 30, 2013
We’ve said it numerous times and we’ll say it again, there is no better community of fans and team members than the Nascar community. With there being so many great stories that go unnoticed we felt the need to share this one. This story will make you proud to be a fan of SHR and the Nascar community.
This weekend driver Tony Stewart of Stewart Haas Racing did something for one of his crewman that some people would call incredible. To those who know Tony, it’s simply Tony. Gas Man Justin White of SHR got a surprise text from his expectant wife in the early hours Sunday morning and it was an all out scramble from 3:30 am on. We caught up to pit coach Joe Piette of SHR to get the story.
So why did we see back up Gas Man Chuck White gassing this weekend instead of Justin White?
Well, lets start at 3:30 Sunday morning. I got a text from our Gas Man Justin White saying, “Call me asap, my wife is going into labor.” Not long after I read the text I heard the phone ring and it was Justin calling to tell me his wife’s water had broke and she was in labor.
So once you realized what was going on what was the plan?
By the time word got around to Greg Zippadeli, Eddie Jarvis, and Jeff “Gooch” Patterson things started rolling. Those guys really made this whole plan come together and I can’t thank them enough for all the help they provided. Basically the plan was this, we looked at all the commercial plane options there were out of Cincinatti and none of them were going to work. At that point we knew we had to do something fast or Justin wasn’t going to make it home. You got to realize, this wasn’t supposed to happen for a few more weeks so we didn’t really have a plan for this weekend. Any ways, once the commercial plane option was out, the guys that I mentioned above; Zippadeli, Jarvis and Patterson, got in touch with Tony’s pilots in Indianapolis and the next thing I know his plane was on the way down to Kentucky to pick up Justin.
How hard was it to get all the logistics together and make sure it all worked out?
That was the tricky part. “Gooch” and I were in charge of getting Justin to the airport and meeting Tony’s pilots. As soon as the plane showed up he got on it and off to Concord Justin went.
By the time Tony’s pilots were woken up, made it to the plane, and got down to Cincy, it was about 7:15 am. Pretty darn good job on their part to be woken up in the early morning hours and make it to Cincy in just a few hours. Once they left Cincy it only took 50 minutes to make it to Concord, NC where Justin’s car was. Once they landed it was around 8:05 am. Justin got in his car and headed to Huntersville where his wife was. We are told he got to the hospital about 9 am.
So did the plan come out with a happy ending?
Oh yeh, he got there and his wife was pretty well into labor. He made it in time for the birth of his first child, a baby boy. I think the official time was around 11:15 am.
During this whole time did you ever think, wow, this is really happening?
To be real honest, I never really had a concern that we wouldn’t get him home. My only concern was if we could get him there in time. All the people at Stewart Haas Racing did a great job. People have no idea the effort that Greg Zippadeli, Eddie Jarvis and Jeff Patterson gave to make this happen. Those guys were so proactive in making sure that Justin was given every opportunity to get home. I’m glad it all worked out well.
From what we have been told this is not the first time that Tony has gone out of his way to help someone in the racing community?
Anyone that knows Tony, and the way he is, won’t be surprised by this story. The guy has a giving heart and would do anything to help someone.
Well thanks Joe for taking the time to share this incredible story with us and we wish Justin and his family all the best.