Monday, May 07, 2012

Stewart Delivers Scathing Talladega Rebuke

Tony Stewart was in rare form Sunday night, delivering a scathing, tongue-in-cheek assessment of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The three-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion met with the media minutes after seeing his hopes for victory dashed by a late-race crash, making it clear that he is no fan of the style of racing  that resulted in his 24th-place finish.

"We didn't quite crash half the field which is what we normally look to do here,” quipped Stewart. “I was excited about it. I thought it was a pretty good race. I made it further than I thought I would before I got crashed. I call it a successful day."

"I'm upset that we didn't crash more. I feel like that is what we are here for." -- Tony Stewart
He criticized recent NASCAR rule changes that limited the size of radiator openings and caused a number of overheating issues on a 90-degree Talladega Sunday, saying, “It's fun to be able to race and have to watch the gauges at the same time. It makes us drivers have to do so much more. Being able to make yourself run on the apron and everything else to try to get clean air, it makes it fun. I'm sorry we couldn't crash more cars today. We didn't fill the quota for today for Talladega and NASCAR."
Asked if NASCAR should reverse field and allow wider grille openings, Stewart again opted to take the sarcastic route, saying, “I think they need to close it down. (And) if we haven't crashed at least 50 percent of the field by the end of the race, we need to extend the race until we at least crash 50 percent of the cars. It's not fair to these fans… not see any more wrecks than that, and more torn up cars. We still had over half the cars running at the end and it shouldn't be that way.
“I think we ought to just tape (the cars) off solid and run them until they blow up,” said Stewart. “I think it would make it a lot more exciting for the fans."
He also bemoaned the cost of repairing crashed race cars, saying, “I feel bad if I don't spend at least $150,000 on torn up race cars going back to the shop. We definitely have to do a better job with that. I'm upset that we didn't crash more. I feel like that is what we are here for."
The Stewart Haas Racing driver also suggested changes to the Talladega Superspeedway, quipping, “If we could make it a Figure Eight, it would be perfect. It would absolutely be perfect… better than what we have. My vote next week is that we make it a Figure Eight, and/or we can stop at the half way (point), make a break and turn around and go backwards the rest of the way. Then, with 10 laps to go, we split the field in half. Half go the regular direction and half of them go backwards."


  1. Thank you Tony!!
    After listening (and turning off my Sirius Radio tuned to NASCAR stations), I can see where he is coming from. Sometimes I really wonder what people expect? Maybe "Death Race 500"??
    Having owned and run stock cars at a local level (many years ago) and knowing that the racing was excellent and the cost, both in drivers' health and torn up cars, found the racing GREAT when there were no wrecks. I don't pay good money to watch caution laps!!
    I think there are way too many TV fans. Good racing is not depicted well on TV, you can't see ALL the action, it is impossible. So my solution is to tell people to get off their butts and go to a race and find out!!

  2. Geosez10:18 AM

    Heard this on the radio this morning. From his tone of voice, you would never know he was being sarcastic. What a performance!

  3. Gary Thompson10:34 AM

    The plate races are becoming a joke. Drivers spend the first 75% of the race keeping their cars from blowing up, and the remaining 25% trying to avoid being taken out by someone elses lack of talent. Why not just do away with the lap counter and make it a timed event? It already seems to be about endurance.

    Fans who thought it was a good race are not true fans, and those who tune in for the crashes will more than likely move on to another sport in a few years anyway. Those of us who have been fans for 30+ years know what it takes to make a great race, and having just 24 of 43 cars take the checkered flag is not it. Smoke was right on it.

  4. Anonymous11:05 AM

    Totally awesome stewart is the best

  5. Anonymous11:17 AM

    Amen Tony and thanks Moody for the story. The fix that NASCAR did to coolant system was a quick fix or could it be as the story says. There are too many intelligent people in the garage to not be able to sling shot or run nose to tail without pulling out to cool the motor. With every fix they "NASCAR" back themselves into a corner with some other new problem. I dont have a solution but again it is above my pay grade. Just please do something where the drivers have more control of racing them worring about overheating

  6. Crash fans won't get the sarcasm.

  7. I also have to wonder what they were thinking about the racing. When you make it so there are more crashes you get more caution laps. When you hsve caution laps the drivers aren't racing they're just driving around. If we wanted to see people just driving we could sit by the side of a road & watch them there!

  8. Anonymous11:54 AM

    Love Smoke!!! The key to his reaction obviously is in the first paragraph. "...met with the media minutes after seeing his hopes for victory dashed by a late-race crash."

  9. Isn't Stewart one of the ones that whines about plate racing no matter what the rules are? Maybe he can just skip those 4 races next year if he hates it so much......

  10. Love Tony..He knows how to get the point across ! Been a mess since the changes and the two car draft :(

  11. Anonymous1:29 PM

    Darling ton AND NASCAR advertised on the Internet AND on TV that this was going to be a crash-fest, and shame on them for that. Turning NASCAR into the Metal Wrestling League isn't what I signed up for when the current management took over. I want racin', not wreckin', and wreckin' ain't racin'. Stop catering to the idiot fans who love carnage. Years back hockey became so bad it lost all semblance of a sport and then lost it's TV contracts. It's filler on Saturday afternoon in the Spring when all else fails.

    Is that what NASCAR wants, 11PM replays the Tuesday AFTER the race on ESPN like Drag Racing now gets? Because they're nothing more than a glorified high-priced demolition derby?

    Doug from NJ

    1. Geosez10:02 AM

      "Metal Wrestling League" Good one, Doug. My thoughts exactly. Folks have been screaming for some credibility for our sport -- and yes, it IS a sport -- but then start promoting it like it's the WWE. I agree -- stop catering to the idiots.

  12. The Debster3:06 PM


  13. Anonymous3:50 PM

    If you want proof wreckin' ain't working, all you have to do is analyze this page. NASCAR is stagnant on TV, and that isn't good.

  14. I loved Tony's sarcasm filled rant.

    My question is, why didn't NASCAR use the common sense rule just a little bit, and thought "Well gee the temperature is going to be 20 degrees warmer here than in Daytona, so the cars are going to run hotter as well. Maybe we should give them a little more pressure, or a little bit of a bigger opening."

    It didn't have to be a huge change, just an adjustment to the conditions. It was a reminder of the awful race in Indy where no one could race for more than a few laps because of the tire situation because NASCAR didn't do a good job making adjustments to the tires after the track was ground.

    The race was good, but it could have been better if NASCAR would have made a few minor adjustments, like raising the PSI that the popoff valve or a little bigger opening so the cars could have run cooler.

  15. Anonymous10:23 AM

    Compared to several of the last 'Dega races, the last lap and finish of this one was a real snoozer. If I want to see a weak plot line and a terrible ending, I'll go to a theater a watch this season's "blockbuster."

    Rick in Indiana

  16. Smokin' hot, eh Tony? Talladega is Talladega. Getting to do the Petty Experience there myself, at a fraction of the speed, with only 1 other car with me, and its not aggressively racing against me. I found out a couple things. You feel everything, tires, chasis, everything! The car feels like it's riding on a rail. The other thing I found out is how much the cars move around. Getting near the wall, the air tries to push you back to the inside. The draft is crazy! You hang there gassing it to catch up, then you go flying up to the rear bumper. Then the air starts in on you again. Did I mention at a fraction of the speed? These drivers are amazing. Point being, Talladega has a ton of stuff going on. I always loved watching it, But I truly never "got it" until I felt it. TV does as good a job as they can. They're animated when they talk about what you can't see, and wouldn't know if they hadn't mentioned it. Something is lost in translation. For me, I get a pit in my stomach every time I watch the race at Talladega, I smell the fuel. Drawings to get fans out there for a couple ride along laps race weekend? Sweepstakes? I know they give pace car rides, but that doesn't translate either. NASCAR drivers have a disconnect with the casual spectator because they make it look so easy. They feel they have to do something to add to the drama, so we get pack racing and disgruntled Smoke. I will continue to watch and listen to the races, and take them as they are. Common Men and Women, doing uncommon things. They make it look easy, but its not. Look closer, learn more. We are lucky to have such competitive racing on a weekly basis. I for one, am gruntled. Would Smoke be if the #14 was on the top of the pylon at the end of the day?

  17. Smoke is awesome. A life lesson, saybwhatbyou feel I everything you do.