Tuesday, September 13, 2016

COMMENTARY: Newman's Comments Tough To Forgive

Ryan Newman let it all out Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway, in the aftermath of a Lap 363 tangle with Tony Stewart that eventually swept up Newman, Stewart, Carl Edwards, David Ragan, Brian Scott, AJ Allmendinger and Dylan Lupton. Moments after exiting Richmond’s Infield Care Center, Newman lambasted Stewart on national TV and radio, even referencing the August 2014 incident that saw Stewart strike and kill driver Kevin Ward, Jr., with his Sprint Car on an upstate New York short track. 

“(Stewart) cut across my line and couldn't control it,” said Newman Saturday night. “I guess he thought he was in a Sprint Car again and didn’t know how to control his anger. It’s just disappointing that you've got somebody old like that that (should retire), the way he drives. It's just ridiculous. I don't think there was any reason, other than him being bipolar and having anger issues. Google Tony Stewart, you'll see all kinds of things he's done. Look it up on YouTube. Quite the guy." 

Under different circumstances, Newman’s comments might be chalked up as simple, “heat of the moment” emotion; the unhappy words of a man who had simultaneously crashed out of an important race, seen his 2016 Chase hopes dashed, likely forfeited a healthy salary bonus for making said Chase and opened the door to increased speculation about his possible departure from Richard Childress Racing at season’s end.

Newman let loose Saturday
Any of those four factors would be enough to trigger an outburst of anger. But Newman’s comments went well beyond the pale, exorcising demons that appear to date all the way back to the end of the 2013 season, when Newman was unceremoniously released by Stewart Haas Racing in favor of Kevin Harvick. At the time, Stewart said his team was unable to accomodate four drivers, only to reverse course a month later when partner Gene Haas – unbeknownst to Stewart, who was recuperating from a badly broken leg suffered in another Sprint Car crash – offered Kurt Busch a contract to drive a fourth SHR entry.

Close friends with both Newman and Harvick, Stewart found himself in a decidedly awkward position. Newman said he understood, however, saying, "I don't think Tony lied to me at all. I don't think there were any hidden agendas on Tony's behalf. I've had a good relationship with him, and have been open with him, and my communication has been mostly with him (during) my whole relationship at Stewart-Haas Racing.

“I don't have any hard feelings.”

Saturday night, Newman’s comments were decidedly hard; filled with more anger than the on-track circumstances appeared to justify. Stewart responded to those comments with restraint, however, painting the incident as a case of too much contract by a driver (Newman) desperate to make the 2016 Chase.

Friends no more?
“That was the third time he'd driven into me during the night,” Stewart said. “How many times does a guy get a free pass until you've had enough of it? Ryan and I have been good friends. I don't do that to him. But he hit me in (turn) one, he hit me off of two and (the backstretch was) the third time. Three times. That's two more times than I normally let somebody run into me.”

For the record, Newman won four times during his four-year tenue at SHR, with just one Top-10 finish (a 10th) in the championship standings. After replacing Newman, Harvick claimed five wins and the Sprint Cup Series championship in his inaugural season, before finishing a close second to Kyle Busch last year. In his brief time with Stewart Haas, Harvick has 10 wins and has finished in the Top-5 an amazing 51% of the time.

Based strictly on the numbers, Haas’ decision to bring Harvick aboard has been a good one. That doesn’t prevent Newman from holding a grudge, however, even against a man (Stewart) he once called a close friend.

Unfortunately, Newman’s Richmond rant went well beyond persona and all the way to legal.

Despite being cleared of all legal charges in Ward’s tragic death, Stewart still faces a civil suit filed by Ward’s family. The basis of that suit is the contention that Stewart is a loose cannon, unpredictable and incapable of controlling his volcanic temper.

Now, one of Stewart’s fellow competitors – a former employee and close personal friend – has bolstered those allegations, using terms like “bipolar” and “anger issues” that will almost certainly be used against Stewart in a court of law.

In one moment of unbridled pique, Ryan Newman just became the lead witness for the prosecution.

And that, in my opinion, will be difficult to forgive and forget.

50 comments:

  1. Dwayne in Memphis4:27 PM

    I agree 100%. My first reaction when Ryan Newman dropped those lines was, "I'll hear that exact interview being quoted by a lawyer at some point."

    "Mr. Stewart, do you deny the allegations that even your friends and fellow NASCAR competitors have said about you...(insert Newman quote)..."

    Irresponsible. Just plain irresponsible. I know he's slowed transitioned from being "Rocketman" at Penske to being an "also ran" at Childress. But just because both places you've left are doing better without you (not implying a correlation, just stating the performance) is not justification for reckless comments.

    Just reckless and irresponsible.

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  2. Anonymous4:40 PM

    After reading the headline, I thought I knew where you were going with this. I was wrong. Newman said “I guess he thought he was in a Sprint Car again and didn’t know how to control his anger". Doesn't that sort of go after Tony on the Kevin Ward incident? Then Newman made reference to googling and youtubing Tony Stewart. You must not think he was making an underhanded reference to Ward. I did. Tony wrecked Newman on purpose. To bad Newman didn't have the class to handle it like Brian Scott did the week before.

    Kevin F

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  3. Yeah, I thought of the same thing and it made me a little sad.

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  4. Anonymous4:49 PM

    Tony didn't kill Ward intentionally, but it seemed like he might have been trying to give him a dirt shower. Which to me makes him at least partially responsible. But that's just what I saw on the video.

    Newman's comments aside, Tony has not done himself any favors in the past two weeks to negate the claims he is a loose cannon with an uncontrolled temper, who is apt to make rash decisions on the race track, when he feels he has been wronged. He has done nothing but bolster that argument in favor of the Ward family.

    He has shown a complete disregard for his competitors two weeks in a row, showing absolutely no remorse for the results of his actions to all the other drivers that were involved. He has also shown that no matter how slight the contact he feels he suffered, he is going to react to it in an irrational manner.

    The problem I have with all of this, is that Matt Kenseth was suspened for blatantly wrecking Logano once. Tony is making a habit of it and getting by unscathed.

    I hope Tony hasn't grown too attached to his money. I have a feeling he will soon be parting ways with a good portion of it. He is his competitors, and his own worst enemy.

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  5. I about spit my malt beverage across the room when he did that. Tony definitely had some retribution coming from Newman but I didn't think the Ol Ogre would go that far.

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  6. wow im glad someone isnt ignoring this.Most everyone shying away from it n talking on Tony wrecking Newman. In my eyes what Newman did and say was way far worse than what Tony did. Newman forgets his not actually innocent when it comes to racing and temper or aggressiveness. I have seen Nascar fine or reprimand for comments made on TV and personally to me this way way worse than what anyone has ever said thats been fined. I will never respect him again.

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  7. Mike Gerovac5:22 PM

    As always Godfather..... Nail, head.....and you hit that SOB square in the center. Your analysis is DOBA ( dead on ball accurate). Simple, honest, accurate take on an unfortunate situation.
    Do you think drivers should be allowed 5-10 minutes after getting out of the car after an incident to compose themselves? I know the access us fans have is part of what makes our sport so great but is there a line? Thoughts?

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  8. I couldn't forgive or forget, Newman was very small minded with his want. I used to like him but now he just seems to think he's entitled to st whatever he wants. Sad, very, very sad.

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  9. I couldn't forgive or forget, Newman was very small minded with his want. I used to like him but now he just seems to think he's entitled to st whatever he wants. Sad, very, very sad.

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  10. Anonymous5:46 PM

    I Googled Tony Stewart anger issues. Bleacher Report(maybe the same one Pete Pistone works for) lists 10 times and that was dated in 2013... Maybe the truth is expensive

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  11. Life was so much simpler when they just raced. A world without litigation at the drop of a hat, media trying to play people off each other and the list goes on and on and on...where on track incidents were settled away from TV and the mass media.

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  12. Can't argue with this assessment.

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  13. Anonymous6:44 PM

    It's also incredibly ableist and disrespectful to people who actually struggle with bipolar disorder.

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  14. I hate to say it but Newman isn't helping himself and he probably will not be as relevant in NASCAR in the future as a driver.

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  15. I think if you do Google Tony Stewart you will see more drivers and commentators than you can count calling him bipolar or having anger issues. The video of his career on YouTube as well as in car audio will be far more damaging than the one more log on the fire Ryan Newman threw Saturday night.

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  16. I think if you do Google Tony Stewart you will see more drivers and commentators than you can count calling him bipolar or having anger issues. The video of his career on YouTube as well as in car audio will be far more damaging than the one more log on the fire Ryan Newman threw Saturday night.

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  17. Also, consider the fact that after the wreck with Newman on Saturday night, NBC shows Stewart's altercation with the 44 car the prior week in which Stewart claims it was not intentional to NASCAR. Steve Letarte then states "he's not buying it because Stewart has way more car control than that". So, now you have an expert stating Tony will clearly lie about intentionally wrecking another vehicle and possibly harming another driver. Which is worse for Stewart? The point is his career is full of such highlights. While Newman might have restrained himself a little better, it was far from the final nail in the coffin.

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  18. Bipolar is something not to make fun of. I have friends that are and I would never hit them aND call them oUT on TV and say other things about tem too.

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  19. Bipolar is something not to make fun of. I have friends that are and I would never hit them aND call them oUT on TV and say other things about tem too.

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  20. Newman's remarks were wrong on many levels. One of them was to make light of a mental illness in that way, was deplorable. And Nascar accepting this behavior, just makes it worse.

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  21. Anonymous7:03 AM

    Newman has always been a jerk and known as a bully. I hope he's driving the car that Clint is driving now, next year. He's got no class.

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  22. Sometimes we are wreckless with our choice of words. On national tv makes it a bit different and more complicated. I however would never say I could not forgive someone. Unless they had brought physical harm against family or friends. Just my opinion.

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  23. Stewart is an angry diva, I'm glad Newman wore him out, more people should have over the years

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  24. John Irby10:25 AM

    This incident is not over for Newman. I wonder if Richard Childress will decide to talk to the #31's sponsors about putting Ty Dillon in that car early and letting Newman go before the end of the season. The fallout from the Newman-Stewart spat might just spur that idea along. If RCR does this, then Ty Dillon will get some much-needed Cup seat time and Newman would be free to find another ride.

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  25. Is there any evidence Stewart is NOT mentally challenged? These things seem to happen MUCH more often with him than with other, lesser, drivers. I frankly think Newman just expressed what others were thinking but feared to say because of Stewart's popularity.

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  26. Anonymous10:41 AM

    Stewart is an angry guy. And it's sad that after such a long career he's still an angry guy and still crashing other drivers intentionally. Newman wasn't wrong. Stewart's inability to control his anger played a role in Kevin Ward's death.

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  27. Its about time somebody called out Tony Stewart. While he may not have meant to harm Ward but he did intentionally spin his car towards him which makes him responsible for Ward's death. I think what continues to amaze me is the slack he receives from the media, with you Moody being a perfect example. The media continues to prop him up as a "good guy" when his past actions clearly say otherwise. Tony Stewart has a very long record of being a hot head who takes out competitors when he feels wronged and assaults the media and fans when he doesn't like what they say. I applaud Ryan Newman for finally calling him out. I only wish the media and Nascar would grow a pair and do the same.

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  28. Anonymous12:25 PM

    Tony Stewart is far from the horror known as Bipolar. It is anger, and an inability to control himself. It is similar to athletes in other sports who are coddled when young, coddled when older and being told they are the best and can do no wrong.
    Chevrolet made a mistake by woeing him with the ability to be a partner at Haas Racing with no real financial commitment, again, in Stewart's mind, justifying the fact he is "special."
    NASCAR is lucky he hasn't hurt someone in one of its races. He can't control himself. Spoiled bullies very seldom are controlled.
    You will read an article one day of something really bad happening around him. The shock is no one will be surprised, and everyone will be confused why it happened. He should have been banned many years ago.
    Sad, because he is, deep inside, a good person who had no, as we say in the south, upbringing.

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  29. What is tough to forgive is Tony Stewart blatantly and intentionally taking out drivers two weeks in a row, capping a career that is full of such incidents. If Stewart had a problem with Newman, what is the justification for taking out half the field along with him? The man has clear anger issues. Using the term bipolar was probably inappropriate, but I would go so far as to say Tony shows all the marks of a person with a serious personality disorder who should NEVER be behind the wheel of a lethal weapon like a race car. Stop apologizing for this jerk. NASCAR accepting Tony's behavior is deplorable.

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  30. John Doe Sr.1:07 PM

    Newman is gone next year. RCR gave him good equipment and he has done very little with it. Childress' grandson will be driving the 31 next year. No top team will sign him with the possible exception of FRR so it looks like Ryan will finish his career out driving second rate equipment with a lower tier team. Too bad.

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    1. Anonymous2:21 PM

      He started that ride in second rate equipment at Daytona in February of 2014.

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    2. I'm a Newman fan and it was sad to see that reaction. We don't know what has gone down behind scenes off the track. I do know that the RCR horsepower is not up to the level of HMS, SHR & JGR. The decline started during Harvick's final year with RCR. I would like to see Newman land with RPM, as they're in the process of stepping up their program.
      With his Engineering background, he'd be an asset to their team. Newman has a lot more than racing in his life and I can't see him taking time away from his family to get lapped in the 38 car.

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  31. Anonymous2:04 PM

    Hopefully this will signal the beginning of the end of Newman's career.

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  32. Whats the deal Moody? No sack to post any opinion that doesn't agree with yours?

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    1. I see plenty of them here, Jim.

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    2. Went on the sirius app to hear audio of this from Tuesday..already expired. Is it any where else?

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  33. In one moment of unbridled pique, Tony Stewart ended the night for a dozen drivers. And for your information, Moody, there is NO prosecution in a civil case. The Ward family is the PLAINTIFF. And Tony's repeated enraged actions speak louder than anything Ryan Newman could say.

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  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Seriously? Do you read? LOL

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    2. Oh, I can read, Dave. But you seem to have held up the publishing of negative comments a long time, while posting the ones that agree with you immediately. LOL

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    3. No, I did not. They were all reviewed and published at the same time, earlier today. Anyone with any experience with this website knows that the only two things that get your post deleted are profanity and name-calling. Disagreeing with me is fine.

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  35. Anonymous4:15 PM

    The others nailed it. By now, Newman knows he's gone. Pop-pop is not going to farm out his grandson to another team. And Harvick saw this handwriting on the wall and so seeing Newman wasn't really setting things at Stewart-Haas ablaze took an opening. Look at the results. Yes, RCR talks about a fourth car, but they are NOT doing ANYTHING without getting a charter for it. Hmmm, dumping a driver that is not funded or not related - much more cost-effective solution. Which of course leads to Ryan's foot-in-mouth moment. The interesting point - a few years ago this would have been all over the place. Now, NASCAR can't even get much of a rise out of the sports world over it. Colin's antics during the Anthem trump Sprint Cup bad blood these days!

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  36. Anonymous4:46 PM

    Stewart admitted he did it on purpose as payback. What's the difference between that and the Kenseth/Logano mashup last year?

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  37. Personally, I took Newman's comments as a heat of the moment action. In all his years of racing I've never know him to be so negative about anyone. Newman was "racing for his life" so to speak and under the hope, stress and let down, would any of us honestly have acted any differently? Think about the last time someone cut you off in traffic...'nought said!

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  38. Anonymous8:10 PM

    Just remember,what comes around goes around. While I do not agree with Newmans comments,I can see him making sure that Stewart has trouble in the chase





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  39. Anonymous9:35 PM

    Don't make the ogre angry.

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  40. Anonymous10:08 PM

    Newman probably went a bit far with his comments. They came from an angry place too so calling out Tony for anger issues... at least Newman only wrecked Tony with words. But they cut pretty deep.

    Tony gets hot when he gets rubbed and then turns a race into a demo derby and wrecks half the field to show the offending driver how your supposed to race.

    Starting to seem like in this curatin call end he's just gonna wreck everyone he's been wanting to wreck but hasn't yet and wreck anyone that comes into contact with him. You know? Go out with class.

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  41. Anonymous12:03 AM

    Y'all are crazy Childress needs to get stuff figured out our he'll be on his way out! Sponsors like winners & there cars don't win!

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  42. I worked for Mark Lanier in his Houston office; he's the attorney representing The Ward family. When I read he had took on the case I was really floored. Lanier is a beast in civil litigation. But being a Nascar fan, I also knew the circumstances that led to the death of Kevin Ward Jr. So I was left a little perplexed as to why Lanier would take on the Ward lawsuit against Stewart. But, in civil litigation, you only have to prove reasonable doubt. All Lanier has to do is prove there was reasonable doubt in Stewart's defense of the incident and it's very possible he will get the verdict the desires. It's obvious Lanier did his homework on Stewart before he took the case. The funny thing is I was watching Newman's interview Saturday night and as soon as I heard when I heard from his mouth, the first thing that crossed my mind was Lanier is going to subpoena Newman so fast it's going to make a 13 second pit stop look as if it was a minute long. Newman has no idea what his mouth has got him into.

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  43. I seriously doubt Ryan or his comments will be entered into evidence in the Ward civil suit, because Newman is not an expert on psychological disorders. A video clip of Tony's rage incidents over the years will be far more effective. Plus Tony's own statement that he wrecked Newman intentionally. A pattern of prior bad acts and continuing bad acts may give the plaintiffs the edge when the jury looks at the preponderance of the evidence, which is the standard of proof in a civil suit.

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