(WOMR file photo)
It has been nearly two weeks since Tony Stewart exhibited his arrogance and ignorance at California’s Auto Club Speedway, in reference to the Joey Logano and Tony Stewart semi fight.
At Auto Club Speedway, two weeks ago, Logano blocked Stewart on a restart with 15 laps to go, pushing the veteran driver down toward the grass. Incensed, Stewart confronted Logano after the race and landed a punch.
But in the time since, Stewart has heard cries of “hypocrite!” After all, Stewart tried to block a last-lap charge at Talladega last fall, triggering a wreck that took out more than half the field. Remember that Stewart blocked the twosome of Michael Waltrip being pushed to the lead by Casey Mears in turn #3 of the last lap of the race at Talladega in October.
Stewart said Friday that comparing the last-lap Talladega block and a block with 15 laps to go at California was, in his words, “ridiculous.” The difference, he said, was drivers have to block at restrictor-plate tracks because they can’t get away from each other; not so at tracks like California.
Does that sound like “Mr. Three-Time”, the self proclaimed world’s greatest race car driver, Tony Stewart, issuing some kind of justification? It sure does have that “big excuse” feeling to this reporter!
“I don’t like it at Daytona and Talladega, either – but it’s the position we’re put in there,” he said. “What happened at California is a different deal. The people that are trying to compare the two, honestly, I’ve read (which reporters) wrote it and it’s disappointing they don’t understand the sport any better than that. There is a huge difference between the two.
“I don’t like blocking. I never have, never will. It’s our job as drivers to go out there and try to pass people. That’s what racing is about. We didn’t have blocking 10 years ago. I don’t know where all the sudden it became a common deal and some people think it’s alright to do now and is just common practice. I don’t believe in it and don’t believe it should be common practice.”
At plate tracks, Stewart said, “blocking” can be interpreted as trying to move up in front of a faster line to get a push. That same line of thinking didn’t apply in Logano’s situation, he said.
“If that’s the case and that’s acceptable, then why wouldn’t drivers just do it the whole race and protect their spot the whole race?” he said. “Track position is important; why would you ever give up a spot?” Isn’t that exactly what Joey Logano was saying after the race?
“I’ve never wavered in all the years we’ve talked about blocking,” Stewart said. “I don’t like it. I never have, never will. If you do a better job getting off the corner or on a restart than somebody, you did your job. And for somebody to sit there and just try to block you and run you down the racetrack because they didn’t do their job right is not acceptable to me. That’s not what racing is about.”
Still, Stewart acknowledged there’s a divide in the garage. He heard plenty of voices saying he was right in the Logano situation, but also heard the critics.
All of that left him shaking his head wondering and saying, “You don’t even know what to believe anymore.”
“People are split on it,” he said. “Joey thinks that’s alright, and that’s his opinion on it, and I don’t think it’s right. Drivers are divided, and at some point it would be nice to know what that etiquette is. Drivers have always set the etiquette, but when we’re all divided on it, it’s kind of confusing to know what we should be doing.”
Stewart said he did not believe NASCAR should get involved in judging whether blocking is OK. His personal values have served as a guide throughout his career, he said, and there’s no need to defend his philosophy.
“I don’t think I won three championships by making bad decisions for 15 years,” he said. “I don’t have a ton of enemies in the garage area. I don’t think I made it this far by making that bad decisions.”
Logano hasn’t called Stewart to talk things out, but Stewart said he doesn’t care. A phone call, Stewart said, is worthless unless another driver wants to apologize.
“If a guy is calling to say he’s sorry about something, that’s one thing,” he said. “But I’m not going to sit there and argue with someone on the phone about how their opinion is different than mine.”
My question to Tony is; if you don’t like blocking – then why did you block Michaels Waltrip and Casey Mears, taking out more than 20 good race cars at Talladega? I do not see the rationale in Stewart’s justification, whatsoever!
I believe that the word hypocrite is the only appropriate words that can describe Smoke and his view on racing and blocking!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!