Tony Stewart Not Happy With Goodyear, Again

Richard DeveauCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2009

Surprise, surprise!

Stewart is once again not happy with Goodyear tires, and who could blame him.

During Saturday practice at Daytona International Speedway in anticipation for Sunday's Daytona 500, Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, had both his cars damaged.

Teammate Ryan Newman blew a Goodyear tire and spun right in front of his boss, who collected Newman to wreck both cars in turn 2. 

After already bad-mouthing Goodyear at last year's Atlanta and Indianapolis races, Stewart seemed even hotter than usual this time.

"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."

Both cars will no doubt be parked for the weekend as the back-up race cars will be rolling out of the haulers for Sunday's big race, meaning both Stewart and Newman will have to start from the rear of the field.

"This one is junk," said Newman, nodding toward his wrecked machine. "The right-rear tire exploded in the middle of [Turns] 1 and 2 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's ridiculous the situation we are in with these tires."

Stewart, who will use his Budweiser Shootout car in the Daytona 500, was even madder about Goodyear tires.

"It's just frustrating because the gold-and-blue down there [where Goodyear is located in the Daytona garage] are the cause of another deal," Stewart said. "I'm just so tired of talking about Goodyear, it's ridiculous. I'm just over it."

"Apparently this is their 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."

Stewart added that he wasn't throwing any blame to Ryan Newman for the incident.

Stewart also said he took no comfort from the fact that his Shootout car was good enough to finish third in that event, reminding reporters that "we haven't really gotten any time in it except when it was really cold and in the dark." Sunday's race will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET, in full daylight.

Asked if he still has a chance to win the 500, Stewart bristled and replied: "I don't know, rocket scientist. I'm sitting here with a backup car. What do you think?"

Stu Grant, Goodyear's director of worldwide racing, said that his company definitely brought a competent tire to Daytona and that Newman's blowout was a result of running over debris.

"The tread is intact on the tire that failed [Saturday]. You can see a clear puncture through the tread and the belt package. The tread is still intact and this incident bears no resemblance to the one that happened on Thursday [on Newman's car during the duels]."

Grant strongly defended the tire Saturday.

"I honestly feel really good about our tire performance. I'm very happy with the tire we brought here," he said. "It's a good-performing tire, a good-wearing tire.

"It allows the drivers to adjust the car and improve the handling. I think they've got a few tools now to set the car up. And honestly, overall, I'm very pleased.

"Don't get them anywhere near me," Stewart said when asked if he had spoken to any Goodyear officials. "Don't bring them anywhere close; don't let them come close. I don't want anything to do with them."