April 17, 2007
I just sent an email to Yahoo! Sports reporter Jonathan Baum.
In his latest "What Went Down" piece, Baum pays lip service to the blame d'jour after the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway: the idea that Juan Pablo Montoya was at fault for Tony Stewart's spin.
"The Montoya-Stewart battle was pretty entertaining...until the wreck," Baum writes. "Sure, maybe Stewart should have seen it coming, but the wreck itself was Montoya's fault...Incidentally, between Stewart and Montoya, doesn't one remind you of the other in driving style, attitude, etc.?"
But why does Juan Pablo have to be the bad guy?
I was watching the race. Was I the only one (besides Montoya's spotter) who saw Stewart run Montoya down the track?
It was pretty obvious to me as they came down the backstretch before the spin: Tony drove Juan down the track a full lane, then cut back right to make his turn entry.
In doing so, he created the circumstances for what happened to himself: He messed up Montoya's entry into turn three, forcing Juan Pablo to slide up the track into Stewart and send him into a spin.
So my email to Baum read like this:
"Why is everyone in the media, yourself included, pointing the finger at Juan Pablo Montoya for 'taking out' Stewart, while failing to acknowledge that Stewart ran him down to the inside on the backstretch just prior to the contact?"
Stewart's ego-driven, Earnhardt-wannabe behavior on the track (it was apparent a number of times this weekend with hand gestures...and recall Pocono last year when he took out Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards) needs to be put in check. And I think he got what he deserved in the run-in with Montoya.
Montoya drifted up the track because he couldn't set up turn three as he should have...due entirely to Stewart's action.
Tony Stewart is a great driver; I don't like him, but I do respect his racing ability. What he doesn't realize is that in pointing a finger at Montoya, he's pointing three back at himself.
The truth: I don't really give a rat's butt for Smoke. I didn't like Earnhardt for the same reason I don't like Stewart and his wannabe antics.
And by the way, nobody voted for Stewart to assume the 3's role as The Intimidator, Part Deux. Racing is one thing—acting like a moron by trying to teach lessons with a 3,000+ pound race car at 180+ MPH is another.
One thing Baum got right in his piece: Stewart should see a little of himself in Montoya. The difference is that Montoya's learning faster than Stewart ever did—and might prove to be a better driver in the long run.
God help Tony Stewart's little ego then.
Someone please 'splain that to me.
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