Tony Stewart, Goodyear, Tangle Again In Daytona
Both Tony Stewart and teammate Ryan Newman will be going to back up cars for tomorrow's Daytona 500, and you better believe the owner ain't too happy about it.
During final practice for the Great American Race, Newman said he felt a vibration in his No. 39 U.S. ARMY Chevrolet. He lost his right front tire in Turn One, and ended up collecting Stewart.
Stewart said he didn't blame Newman because it "wasn't his fault."
But he did have someone to blame.
"Apparently this is (Goodyear's) marketing strategy to get press. I'm just tired of talking about them, tired of them being an issue. And us talking about them right now isn't going to change anything because it falls on deaf ears and won't change."
Newman—along with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin—also had tire problems in the Gatorade Duels this past Thursday. Several tires also went down during Saturday's Nationwide Series event.
"This one is junk," said Newman as he looked as his wrecked car. "The right-rear tire exploded in the middle of [Turns] One and Two there. It gave me maybe 100 yards of a sign that it might. It started with the very, very slightest vibration. I was getting ready to come in and it was too late.
"It was just unfortunate. We took out my teammate. I don't even know who else was caught up in it. I'm just disappointed in the situation Goodyear has put us in. It is ridiculous the situation we are in with these tires."
"It's just a Goodyear right-rear tire," Stewart said. "So it's the same thing everybody has been talking about all week. It's the same stuff that we always talk about every year—the failures that Goodyear has. I think that's part of their marketing campaign. The more we talk about it, the more press they get. I think they forget that it's supposed to be in a good way, not a bad way."
When asked if he would talk to Goodyear officials about the incident, Smoke was insistent that he not talk to them, saying he didn't want "them anywhere near me" and that he "[doesn't] want anything to do with them."
Goodyear director of worldwide racing, Stu Grant, defended the company by saying that it was "obvious" that something on track caused the tire problem, not the Akron, Ohio based team.
"It's obviously something that was on the race track. It could have been something that had fallen off one of the cars ahead of him. It could have been something that laid on the pavement for a while, and as the cars went by it moved it to a configuration where it could puncture a tire. We see a lot of those kinds of cases."
However, there have also been several incidents that have been caused by Goodyear, starting with the disastrous Brickyard 400 last year, and includes races like Las Vegas and Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Grant said he understood Stewart's frustration and offered to talk to him.
Part of the problem could also be blamed on the fact that NASCAR had no testing this past offseason, so there was no way to see these problems coming.
However, if it is indeed a Goodyear problem, Stewart—and every other driver—has a right to complain.
Thanks to Jayski and NASCAR.com, SPEED Channel and ESPN2 for the quotes and information used in this article.
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