Tony Stewart to media: Time to ‘pay attention to the Chase’
Tony Stewart is already over his well-publicized tiff with former teammate Ryan Newman and he said Thursday that the NASCAR press corps needs to get over it, too.
"I hope you guys are creative enough to get by this and actually pay attention to what’s going to happen the next 10 weeks," Stewart told reporters Thursday during Chase Media Day in Chicago. "If you think that’s going to be a storyline for 10 weeks, then you’re going to miss a lot because you’re going to be wasting your time on something that’s not even relevant.
"This Chase is going to be pretty intense in itself," Stewart said. "You got 16 great drivers in here. You got three-week segments where you keep knocking four guys off. So it’s going to be pretty crazy these last 10 weeks."
Stewart and Newman got into it last week at Richmond International Raceway during the final race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season, which was Newman’s last remote chance to make the field for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
During the race, Stewart deliberately wrecked Newman after Stewart said Newman hit him three times on track.
Afterward, Newman lambasted Stewart, saying, "It’s just disappointing that you’ve got somebody old like that’s retiring — should be retired the way he drives — it’s just ridiculous. I only hit him in Turn 1 when he cut across my nose, so I don’t think there was any reason other than him just being bipolar and having anger issues.
"Google Tony Stewart. You’ll see all kinds of things he’s done," Newman continued. "Look it up on YouTube and everything else. He’s quite the guy."
But Thursday in Chicago, Stewart said he’s already over it.
"We’ve been friends a long time," Stewart said of Newman. "We were teammates. I respect him a lot. It’s a high-pressure moment. I mean, I’ve been in those, too. I’ve said things. Whether he meant to say it or not, whether he believes it or not still, that’s up to him. But that moment is a hard moment for any of us. It’s tough in that scenario.
"So, you know, I can’t blame him."
Friday morning, Newman and Stewart met with NASCAR officials at Chicagoland Speedway for about 35 minutes and agreed that their disagreement was over and done with. The sanctioning body did not penalize either driver.