Bizarre or Vintage Tony? I say: Welcome Back Smoke!
Tony’s comments immediately after his frustrating finish at Talladega on May 6th have been labeled as funny, sarcastic, bizarre, disrespectful, a mockery and degrading to the sport. Questions have been raised about potential fines by Nascar for violation of Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR rulebook, which covers everything “detrimental to the sport.” If Nascar fined him for this, fans would be all over the sanctioning body raising cain!
Thankfully Nascar announced today they will not be penalizing the People’s Champion for his comments, saying they are not detrimental to the sport.
For those of us who know Tony’s sarcasm, the interview was vintage Stewart and we LOVE it! His sarcasm is part of what we like most about him. And truth be told, his comments were making a point! NASCAR needs to make a few changes before they return to this 2.66-mile track.
Too many cars were having problems with over heating, a point Jeff Gordon also made after the race. Saying “This temp thing is kind of a joke and their going to have to fix that..When you can’t really even race because the temps in just a regular pack are an issue. They’re going to have to address that”. Kevin Harvick also put in his two cents saying “Nascar got to figure out another way to restrict it besides engine temperature”.
Something that’s prevalent in pack racing, but not as severe in tandem racing. For as many fans that don’t like tandem, there are quite a few who do.
To his point about wrecking cars, many people have complained about over the past few weeks about not enough wrecks in a race. As a person who has been a fan for over 4 decades I would love to tell these people to shut up and sit down! We don’t want good racing, not a demolition derby! Pack racing creates “the big one” that so called new ‘fans’ want. If you need constant destructive action, I suggest you learn to like hockey.
The interview was conducted, outside his hauler with an only a handful of reporters there. ESPN was present with a camera crew. This tongue in cheek interview occurred before the drivers availability at the Media Center interviews. Jeff Gluck was the first to break the story on Twitter and also has the best insight behind the interview: Tony Stewart Gives Bizarre Post-Race Interview After Talladega Race.
A few other reports have taken Tony’s comments way to seriously and others seem to be too high brow to get the point of his sarcasm. This is vintage Tony, using words to release his frustration over having a great car that lead the first quarter of the race, challenged for the lead and then due to issues out of his control went south, fast! If you can’t understand that, then maybe you should be covering some other sport. Here in Nascar, we love our drivers when they have a real personality and speak their minds. (Yes I’m talking to you Dave Newton. You’re the mockery in the media center).
Since this story broke fans have been clamoring for a video to watch, an audio file to listen to. Late this afternoon, ESPN ran the interview on Nascar Now – Thanks to Jeff Gluck for tweeting the link! For those who know Tony’s tone, here’s a transcript of the questions/answers from the “Bizarre Hauler Interview”:
ON TODAY’S RACE
“We didn’t quite crash half the field which is what we normally look to do here. 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.”
A LOT OF TEAMS WERE HAVING TROUBLE WITH FUEL INCLUDING YOURS. WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH THAT?
“I wasn’t sure to be honest. I’m not quite sure what the fuel issue was. The racing was awesome. It’s fun to be able to race and have to watch the gauges at the same time. It makes us as 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.”
JEFF GORDON SAID HE THOUGHT THEY SHOULD OPEN UP THE GRILL OPENING FOR WHEN WE COME BACK HERE AND POSSIBLY DAYTONA IN JULY. DO YOU HAVE ANY SENSE THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?
“I think they need to close it down. Honestly, I think 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 because it’s not fair to these fans for them to 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.”
THE WRECKS WEREN’T CAUSED BY THE OVER HEATING?
“No, not at all. I don’t think any of the wrecks were an overheating issue. That is why I say I think we ought to just tape them off solid and run them until they blow up anyway. I think it would make it a lot more exciting for the fans.”
WOULD THIS BE BETTER IF IT WERE A SHORTER RACE?
“I don’t think it really matters. I think if you made it 20 laps we would all still crash with five to go or eight to go. If we did that we would be able to fill the time that the fans deserve. I mean they deserve to see us run 500 miles. Like I said if we don’t crash half of the field by the end of the race they really need to extend it because that is what the fans want they want to see that excitement. I feel bad that as drivers we couldn’t do a better job of crashing enough cars for them today.”
I CAN’T FIGURE OUT IF YOU ARE HAPPY OR YOU ARE UPSET WITH YOUR TONE…
“I’m upset that we didn’t crash more cars. I feel like that is what we are here for. I feel bad if I don’t spend at least a 150,000 dollars in torn up race cars going back to the shop. We definitely have to do a better job with that.”
WHY DO YOU HAVE THAT IMPRESSION THAT IS WHAT THE FANS ARE LOOKING FOR?
“Well, I don’t know that is what they are looking for, but I feel like that is the show we deserve to give them. That is what has made Talladega, Talladega.”
DID YOU HAVE FUN OUT THERE?
“Absolutely. I had a blast. It would have been a lot more fun if I could have gotten caught up in one more wreck. If I could have done that it would have been perfect.”
DID YOU HAVE THE ISSUE OF RUNNING OUT OF FUEL AT ANY POINT?
“I didn’t wreck because I ran out of fuel, but I ran out of fuel twice.”
THE RADIO GUYS WERE SAYING THAT MAYBE (GUYS RUNNING OUT OF FUEL) HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE EFI (ELECTRONIC FUEL SYSTEM) HAVE YOU NOTICED A CHANGE IN YOUR FUEL MILEAGE SINCE YOU WENT TO THAT ENGINE PACKAGE?
“I mean we have only ran two restrictor plate races so it is hard to say. There were definitely guys that were running out of fuel today ahead of where they thought they would.”
IS IT SAFE TO SAY THAT YOU PREFER THE PACK OVER THE TANDEM DRAFTING?
“I think we ought to make it a figure eight. I mean if we could make it a figure eight it would be perfect. It would absolutely be perfect here. It would be better than what we have. That is going to be my vote next week is that we make it a figure eight and/or we can stop at the half way make a break and turn around and go backwards the rest of the way. Then with 10 to go we split the field in half and half go the regular direction and half of them go backwards.”
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