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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stewart shows he's a sore loser by throwing his team under the bus

There are certain things you don’t do in sports … period.
One of those things is be a bad loser and insult your teammates after a tough loss. On the contrary, you work together to fix whatever cost you the win and hopefully come out on top next time.

Apparently Tony Stewart didn’t get that memo.

After a tough battle with Jimmie Johnson, Stewart had to settle for second place at Richmond this weekend, and he was just inches away from making the pass to take his first win of the season.

The reason he had to try to make the pass was that Johnson passed him in the pits by just a hair, and apparently Stewart wasn’t very happy with his crew about it, and showed a very bad side of his character by attacking them harshly after the race. Here’s his exchange with crew chief Greg Zipadelli after the race ended, shortly after he threw a temper tantrum in the car.

TONY: “Good job, guys. We gave another one away today. Great job”

ZIPPY: “Great attitude there, Smoke. We stalled it a couple times on pit road and gave up a spot. Remember, we win and lose as a team. It was a great effort, OK. That’s enough of that crap.

TONY: “The difference is I got mine back”

Based on that kind of communication, I get the feeling that the sooner Tony Stewart is gone from Joe Gibbs Racing, the happier the members of the team will be. I applaud Zippy for not taking Tony’s insults and shoving it right back at him. These guys are like brothers, they’ve been working together so long, so they’ve probably already made up. But it can not have been easy to work so closely with someone as volatile as Tony for a decade. Zippy no doubt is looking forward to a more subdued relationship with Joey Logano when he jumps into the car. And you can bet Joey will have the respect not to insult his crew just because he didn’t get the win.

The worst part is that the crew made no huge, obvious screwup. Johnson just beat him off pit road. So it's not like Stewart could point out something they did terribly wrong to justify his anger.

I defend Tony a lot, and respect his absolute desire to win every time he gets behind the wheel. But these kind of outbursts are immature and insulting to the hard work that team puts in each week. Apparently, this kind of attitude is contagious at the Gibbs organization, as Denny Hamlin threw his team under the bus a few weeks ago after a bad finish, saying they didn’t “deserve” to be in the Chase.

This kind of trashing of teammates is unwelcome in any sport, and NASCAR is no exception. I understand Tony was frustrated, but maybe he needs to go back to those anger management classes that helped him calm down a few years ago. He’s still got a whole Chase to get through, and that team needs to be working together if they hope to contend for anything.

Since he’ll be a part owner next year, Tony won’t have anyone to get mad at except himself if his equipment is bad or his team screws up. Maybe he can scream into a mirror when that happens.

Watch NASCAR on the go
I recently had the opportunity to test out a Verizon cell phone equipped with VCAST, which allows you to watch live television on your phone. This is of particular interest to NASCAR fans, who often can’t be at home in front of the tube when the race is on.

The ESPN networks are among the channels you are able to view on VCAST, so this time of year all the races, and most qualifying and practice sessions, can be seen on your phone, should you happen to be on the run. The phone I used had a screen large enough to clearly see what was going on. I only had signal issues a couple times, during extreme weather. The rest of the time, pulling out the antenna will clear up any issues.

As a side note, there's also some other pretty cool NASCAR-related material available for purchase, including a downloadable NASCAR video game that's pretty fun to play.

If you are a NASCAR addict like myself and want to be able to see what‘s going on in NASCAR at all times, wherever you are, it’s definitely something to look into.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats pretty funny. Kyle does this all the time, Denny Hamlin has done it more than once this year and you go after Smoke. The other funny thing is they are all GIBS drivers. Maybe Gibbs is not the feel good, perfect, house of morals it is made out to be. Kyle and Denny do it and they are being ultra competive and guys that dont like losing. Tony does it and he is a trouble maker. I dont think its the best team building to go after your crew, but I wonder if they are really trying. Maybe the crew doesnt much care any more as Tony is leaving. Well they will have alot bigger problems on the #20 car next year anyway. They better get thick skins because they are gonna get thrown under the bus next year with Sliced Bread (what a stupid nick name)

September 10, 2008 at 12:04 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony had a car that should have won. He was not getting much help from his team. I feel for Tony as he built that team with hard driving and now hes leaving with Gibbs inc in better shape than him. JD, Denny, Kyle, and Joey? Are you kidding me!? Could you think of 4 more spoiled punks in Nascar? That Gibbs team is going down next year.

September 10, 2008 at 12:33 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the sooner Tony Stewart is gone from Joe Gibbs Racing, the happier the members of the team will be."

Yeah I'm sure... I mean replacing a driver of Tony's caliber is simple right....... any bum off the street could do what he does.

Keep that fire and desire to win Tony.... I love it!!

September 10, 2008 at 5:42 AM 
Anonymous New Britain RaceFan said...

Tonys communication was on TEAM RADIO not in a NATIONAL live interview. Tonys comments were directed at HIS team and were for HIS TEAM not the idiots at ESPN that feel just because they hear it they can broadcast it. Its wrong of ESPN or any tv outlet to air team radio communications like they do. As far as Tony and Zippy I laughed. I have heard them say much much worse while winning races. These guys are brutally honest with each other and say what they feel. I love how the media is trying to inject bad feelings were there arent any. They just cant leave it as Tony is leaving and people are happy for him. The biggest tension on this team this year has been the fools in the media hounding them over things like what is Tony gonna do or when will you all win. I swear sometimes the press has no sense. I dont blame Tony for giving them the answers he does they ask stupid questions most of the time and worse they act like they are gods. People say its refreshing to have someone be so honest like Tony then when he is and it isnt all golly geee milk and cookies crap they throw him under the bus. Get over it Life isnt all fair and sweet Tony's team is comprised of GROWN MEN last time I checked and if they cant handle MILD criticism they need to go play Little League then. I have heard Zippy say much worse to them and I have heard both Tony and Zippy praise them too. Get over it this isnt pre K where everyone is going to be treated equally and there arent any winners or losers. Fact remains the last pit stop cost Tonys team big time and it made the difference.

September 10, 2008 at 6:43 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tubby Tony gets cranky if he has to go more than three hours without a cheeseburger.

Wouldn't you love to have the catering contract next year at his shop? Tony and Ryan Newman in one building!!!

September 10, 2008 at 7:36 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you listen to the team radios, lots of drivers call out their pit crews for slow stops. Junior does it all the time. So why is it news when Tony does it. Surely you aren't surprised that he said something. The team is pulling his spotter for Logano, and I'm sure they are doing other things that we're not seeing, while blaming Tony for being "distracted." It's not necessary to pile on.

September 10, 2008 at 8:31 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess it is a short term memory issue the writer has since Kyle and Denny toss their pit crews under the bus with the greatest of ease. Tony is not the only one either since other notable drivers like Greg Biffle had also tossed their crews under the bus and in most cases it is well deserved, things like wheels falling off and such certainly are not the driver's fault. Tony was a "lame duck" when it started the season since JGR already knew that Tony was considering part ownership since it had originally been brought up in late 2007. Tony likes to win and is one of the best if not the best driver in Nascar and going in the pits first and losing positions and not being able to make them all up is frustrating.

September 10, 2008 at 9:00 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...


September 10, 2008 at 9:08 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess that you missed Zippy blasting the pit crew at Fonana a few weeks ago. After the pit crew had several poor pit stops, Zippy screamed into the radio: "G*d D*MN you mother f*ckers, you are pathetic...that was just awful"

Both Zippy and Tony have blasted the crew for mistakes. However, both Zippy and Tony have been quick to praise the team for great work.

Tony's comments were over the in car radio. During the TV interview after the Richmond race, Tony actually praised his crew. When Denny called out his pit crew last year it was during a LIVE TV interview.

September 10, 2008 at 10:31 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Never heard Kyle do this".....
and many other drivers have done
the same! Does it scare anyone else
that these people can vote?

September 10, 2008 at 10:58 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea we have heard it all before, I want to do this for these guys, a change in drivers won't effect the performance of "this" team, yadda yadda it's all malarkey. Tony Stewart is headed out the door and his mind has already left. Between crew announcements, new hires at SHR and putting together a working Cup team out of what Haas has must be a killer to keep up with enter Jay Frye. If he pulls that hire off he's well on the road to being in the Chased with at least one if not two cars next year. As much as all the fans would love to see him win one last one for the Gipper he's working on the future now and the future doesn't include the current lineup of crew members. Are they slacking it a little maybe but really who could blame them, next year will tough for the 20 team with a steep learning curve for a talented newbe but still an 18 year old kid seeing this side of the world for the first time full of torn up race cars and mistakes and it happens. I am getting tired of the lame duck driver situations however year in and out, they always say the same things but it never turns out to be anything but rhetoric in the long run. All the talk without the passion is just that talk, it might really be best and even more interesting in the long run for all involved if the driver changes occurs when the announcements are made but then what would France do with all those obsolete tee-shirts.

September 10, 2008 at 6:52 PM 
Blogger Matt Myftiu said...

To the Tony backers: I don't disagree with your respect for his desire to win. I share it, and he has a right to be upset when he loses in that manner. Ask every other driver in that garage, and they'll tell you winning is everything to Tony, and that's why he's won titles in so many racing disciplines.

But this kind of talk is unprofessional and should be reserved for the garage when the microphones and cameras are off. Say what you want then, and I'll have no reason to write about it.

To give an analogy, it reminded me of Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna going to the sidelines this past weekend and screaming at one of his coaches. It was completely rude and uncalled for, just like Tony's outburst on the radio.

September 10, 2008 at 10:56 PM 

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