Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tony Stewart accuses NASCAR of 'playing God'

---MY HTOUGHTS--- To a degree I have to agree with Stewart. I think there are way to many cautions. Obviously if there is a wreck or oil on the track that is one thing, but it seems like a caution gets thrown, towards the end almost everytime.

I don't even like seeing wrecks anymore. Well.....they are kind of cool to see, but overall I am watching NASCAR to see some good racing and to TRY and pay attention to strategies and what not. The last thing I want to see is a caution.

Now that Tony has spoke, I would not be suprised if we start seeing every little piece of debris on TV. "There's a McDonalds french fry on the track, 30 laps to go, lets throw the caution for debris." How come a debris caution NEVER comes in "overtime"?

Story -
By Nate Ryan, USA TODAY
Two-time Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart accused NASCAR of "playing God" by using caution flags to orchestrate closer racing.

During his Tony Stewart Live program Tuesday night on Sirius Satellite Radio, Stewart lambasted officials for throwing four yellow flags for debris during Saturday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Stewart didn't feel any of the caution periods were warranted, implying NASCAR intentionally was trying to bunch up the field by slowing the pace of the racing.

"To me it's not all about the money, it's about the integrity of the sport, and when I feel our own sanctioning body isn't taking care of that, it's hard to support them and feel proud about being a driver in the Nextel Cup Series when they're throwing debris cautions," he said. "It's like playing God. They can almost dictate the race instead of the drivers doing it. It's happened too many times this year. You get so frustrated ... But enough of it's gone on that fans are writing in and talking about it.

"At what point does NASCAR get the hint? I guess NASCAR thinks, 'hey wrestling worked, and it was for the most part staged, so I guess it's going to work in racing, too.' "

SPORTS SCOPE: Listen to Stewart's comments

NASCAR officials had no immediate reaction Wednesday to Stewart's remarks.

Stewart was particularly displeased with a debris yellow that occurred as he was catching Kevin Harvick for the lead because "I was coming so fast, it was inevitable I was going to get around those guys, so NASCAR throws a debris caution ... I thought racing was about being better than the other guys."

The 35-year-old led a race-high 132 laps but finished second after falling behind winner Jeff Gordon when he pitted during the final yellow, which came for a three-car crash involving Dave Blaney, Kenny Wallace and J.J. Yeley.

"That was only the second legitimate caution we had all day," Stewart said. "I can't understand how long the fans are going to let NASCAR treat them like they're stupid before the fans finally turn on NASCAR," he said. "I don't know that they've run a fair race all year."

NASCAR has thrown 20 debris cautions in nine races this season, and finishes seemingly have been affected at least twice. At California Speedway in February, Jimmie Johnson was leading comfortably when a late debris caution eliminated his margin. After finishing third to Matt Kenseth, Johnson and runner-up Jeff Gordon both said he never saw any debris on the track to cause the yellow.

Two weeks later at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Stewart was leading when a debris yellow flew with 25 laps to go. After a round of pit stops, Johnson passed Stewart for the win with three laps remaining.

Stewart said the debris cautions were the reason he didn't address the media after the Phoenix race.

"The aggravation for me was I didn't want to go in the media center and bash NASCAR," he said. "I don't mind doing it on my own radio show. Anyone who thinks this debris caution stuff is the right direction for NASCAR, I think you're crazy."

NASCAR requires its top-three finishers to do interviews on pit road and the media center, but Stewart said it wasn't his obligation to comply. He's not expected to be penalized.

"The thing with the media is they think it's our obligation to do those things," Stewart said. "It's a privilege that they get to (talk to us). That's the way it's always been. Maybe it is in some of these other guys' contracts, but it is not in my contract that says I have to go do any interviews after the race is over."

Stewart, who was battling a 100-degree fever Tuesday and left the two-hour program before its conclusion because he felt so ill, also took issue with fans who were upset that Gordon chose to carry a No. 3 flag on his victory lap. Gordon was saluting the late Dale Earnhardt after tying him on NASCAR's all-time win list with his 76th victory.

Some fans threw trash at Gordon's car during the tribute.

"Absolutely, it was a class act," Stewart said of Gordon's homage to the seven-time champion. "You're celebrating Dale's career. I was unaware that fans were throwing things on the track (before Tuesday's show). That really disgusts me about being a NASCAR driver. It makes me almost ashamed at times that a few bad eggs ruin it for everybody. If you want to throw stuff, go in your backyard and throw stuff at each other and save the kids play for home."

source - USA Today

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