Sunday’s Auto Club 400 was a fairly clean event, but that does not mean there were no ruffled feathers at the end of the 209-lap event.
After climbing from their cars, Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Tony Stewart exchanged words on pit road.
"If you want to f–k with him than f–k with him, but I’m f——g out there and you come darting across," Stewart is heard saying to Truex in a video captured of the exchange. "I wasn’t involved in your s–t. That’s all I’m saying."
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The post-race confrontation stemmed from an on-track incident where Truex came up the track and across the nose of the Stewart’s No. 14 SHR Chevrolet. In doing so, the two made contact and a hole was punctured in the nose of Stewart’s car.
Truex would go on to finish eighth, his fifth straight top-10 finish, while Stewart earned his best finish of the season, 14th.
"There is a big hole underneath all of that," Stewart said of his car’s nose. "It just so happens that the right rear of (Truex’s) car is all tore to hell. He had a problem with the No. 43 car (Aric Almirola) and when he got done drafting with him he drove across the race track into us. It’s just stupid."
Stewart was not necessarily upset with Truex’s move to cut across traffic, he simply had an issue with the fact it caused damage to his car.
"He had a problem with somebody else and I’m the one who paid the price for it," said Stewart. "I got a hole knocked in it and it takes us out of contention to have a top-10 finish. Like I said I wasn’t delusional that we were going to win the race or anything, but if he has a problem with somebody else and he has his hand out the window changing three lanes. Then drives back across and punches a hole in my nose, he is like ‘well you could have lifted’. We are in the middle of the backstretch, why is it my responsibility to lift because he is arguing with somebody else? It’s just stupid. Same stuff we always deal with with kids."
Truex did not address the issue with Stewart after the race, instead focusing on his continued strong start to the 2015 season.
"We were way off after Saturday’s final practice but came out today and did what we needed to do. I am proud of the guys for going to work last night and not being afraid to take a big swing at the setup," he said. "To go out there and run with a completely different setup than we had Friday and Saturday and come away with an eighth-place finish really says something about this team. We never give up and believe in each other. As mad as I was with the pit crew today I still feel they are good and we’ll get it right."