Stewart vows to keep wrecking drivers who block

Tony Stewart vowed Friday to wreck any driver who blocks him on

the track, even if that policing costs him a spot in NASCAR’s

championship race.

Stewart intentionally spun Brian Vickers last week at Sonoma

because he felt Vickers was blocking him during the race. Vickers

retaliated later by wrecking Stewart, who had a car capable of

contending for the win but wound up 39th.

It dropped him to 12th in the Chase for the Sprint Cup

championship standings.

”I am drawing a line in the sand and the next guy that blocks

me, he is going to also suffer the same fate,” Stewart said at

Daytona International Speedway.

He also upped the ante, stating in a calm manner that he’d wreck

the next driver enough to ensure he won’t be able to come back and

retaliate against Stewart.

”It doesn’t matter who it is,” he said. ”I’ll make sure that

when I do it the next time that the guy doesn’t have the

opportunity to come back and wreck me.”

His stance seems to be excessive, especially since Stewart is on

the bubble of making the Chase with only 10 races left to qualify

for the 12-driver field. Under new qualifying rules, only the top

10 drivers are guaranteed a Chase berth.

The other two spots will go to drivers ranked between 11th and

20th who have the most wins. Stewart is winless this season.

But racing smart to guarantee a Chase berth isn’t on his

agenda.

”I’m going to stay the course on it,” Stewart said. ”I’m just

to the point where I’m fed up with some of the way some of these

guys are racing each other. If we miss the Chase because of it, so

be it. That’s not what the team is going to want to hear. That’s

not what our sponsors are going to want to hear, but so be it.

”It is what it is. There’s 42 guys out there, and they know how

I race, they know what I expect. And I don’t race them that way, I

don’t block guys and I’m not going to block guys. But if they block

me, they will suffer the consequences.”

Stewart is often vocal about on-track etiquette and an unspoken

code of conduct, which he said he learned early in his NASCAR

career from veterans who made it clear how things worked in this

series.

But the new ”Boys, have at it,” policy, and a hunger for drama

and rivalries has made it impossible to teach young drivers the

same lessons.

”When I came in here, I thought I was going to change how

things worked, too, and Dale (Earnhardt) Sr. taught me how to do

it, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, my teammate Bobby Labonte taught

me, had to grab me and shake me beside a trailer one day and say,

‘Listen, you’ve got to understand,”’ Stewart said.

”Nothing like that happens in this day and age. It’s so

glamorized when two people do something on the race track, it’s

made to be such a soap opera, the whole point why it happened in

the first place isn’t getting resolved.”

Stewart and Vickers have talked since Sunday, and disagree on

the root of the issue. Vickers denies he was blocking, but Stewart

insists he was. They are in agreement that Vickers had every right

to retaliate.

”I told him, of all people, I didn’t want it to be you,”

Stewart said. ”But I told him I had drawn a line in the sand with

the guys that were doing it.”