Last weekend, former NASCAR champion Tony Stewart struck and killed another driver during a horrific sprint car crash, making much of the racer's future uncertain. For many, however, the only question was whether Stewart would continue to compete, which was seemingly answered Thursday when Empire News reported "Tony Stewart to Announce Retirement."
The online response was immediate and emotional, resulting in a near-deluge of bitter cyber-tears.
Tony Stewart retiring and sold 50% of Stewart haas racing. POOR TONY 😭😭😭😭 YOUR FANS LOVE YOU. You are such an amazing person and driver
— Kimberly Orellana (@KimberlyO_16) August 15, 2014
The word is that Tony Stewart is retiring from racing!? 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 NOO!!!!
— Jake Daugherty (@OMG_ITZ_JAKEE) August 15, 2014
OMG tony Stewart is retiring😭😭😭😭😭 this breaks my heart NASCAR will never be the same
— KŸRÅ (@kyritaaa) August 15, 2014
Cannot believe Tony Stewart is retiring all because that drug addict moron got out and ran infront of him. Very disappointing and sad.
— ✌Paris (@ParisRoxanne0) August 15, 2014
Empire News cited a number of sources to support their claim, including ESPN's Nicole Briscoe and NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, who reportedly said, "I talked with Tony yesterday and he made it clear, he is done with racing." Fortunately for the Internet's Stewart supporters and their beleaguered emoji, Empire News are a bunch of filthy liars.
Yesterday, both Wallace and Briscoe dismissed the article on Twitter, the latter saying point-blank "the 'story' regarding Tony Stewart's impending retirement is a hoax."
For the record, I have neither spoken with Tony Stewart nor AP regarding his retirement. Any such statement is a hoax.
— Rusty Wallace (@RustyWallace) August 15, 2014
To be clear, the "story" regarding Tony Stewart's impending retirement is a hoax. I've had no such talks with Darrell Waltrip or the AP.
— Nicole Briscoe (@RB_Mrs) August 15, 2014
Sadly, some NASCAR fans still didn't get the message, moving directly into the bargaining stage of stock car racing grief.
@TonyStewart Tony. Pease if the rumer is not true. Dont retire. Take the rest the season off. But no retire.
— smokeracing1420 (@mcgee1420) August 15, 2014
[Image via AP]