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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Angry Tony Stewart vs. Goodyear continues to provide entertainment

I’m not much for superstition, but I’m pretty sure Ryan Newman is cursed. I first started to notice it last year, when every time I picked him on my Fantasy Racing team, he would have mechanical problems or crash. I chalked it up to a struggling Penske team.

Now before the Daytona 500 has even begun, he’s already wrecked a couple cars and blown an engine in his new ride with Tony Stewart’s team. The guy has loads of talent, but the racing Gods are not being kind to him lately. To be safe, I’ll recommend you all stay away from him in Fantasy Racing this year.

This brings me back to the most entertaining topic of the day. Newman’s latest wreck came when a Goodyear tire blew and he was then run into by his own teammate (and boss) -- Stewart.

Stewart, understandably, is mad at Goodyear, which has recalled several bad tires already this week, and claims it’s the tire company’s fault Newman wrecked and both he and his teammate will use backups on Sunday and start from the back. For the record, Goodyear insists the tire may have been punctured.

A reporter facing Tony at a press conference when something like this happens better wear body armor, since this time he’s double pissed.

Here are some of Tony’s verbal gems from today that reinforce just why I like the guy so much.

-- “It’s just frustrating because the gold and blue down there are the cause of another deal. I’m just so tired of talking about Goodyear it’s ridiculous. I’m just over it.”
-- “Ah, it’s just a Goodyear right rear tire. So, same thing everybody has been talking about all week. Same stuff that we always talk about every year is 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.”
-- “Us talking about them right now isn’t going to change anything because it falls on deaf ears and that won’t change.”
-- “Don’t get (Goodyear) anywhere near me. Don’t bring them anywhere close; don’t let them come close. I don’t want anything to do with them.”
-- “We’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m ticked right now. I’m not happy, I’m not cordial, I’m not nice, I’m not anything right now, and I shouldn’t be. If it was because two guys wrecked and it was a driver’s mistake, that’s one thing. But a manufacturer that has the sole deal here, they don’t have any competition and they can’t give us something to keep us from having problems like this. So I don’t know. I’m just amazed at how much everybody kisses their butts right now.”

And my favorite Stewart reply of the day, when some really unwise reporter asked him how the wreck affected his chances of winning the 500: “I don’t know, rocket scientist. I’m sitting here with a back-up car, what do you think?”

Welcome back, Angry Tony. Anyone looking for an autograph, I suggest waiting until next week at California. Also, Goodyear officials, I suggest you don’t try to go iron things out with Stewart. I wouldn’t put him past clocking you square in the jaw.

When it comes down to it, you can call Stewart anything you want, but he’s as honest as it gets in this sport, and I’m glad being a team owner hasn’t changed him in that regard. Also, he is showing that he truly cares about this race team and succeeding, something that is a huge factor in whether that success will actually come.

Stay mad Tony, and put that energy into getting the backup strong and doing well Sunday.

But cheer up a little: You did win the Nationwide race!

And your 500 winner is ...
The Hendrick cars have this place figured out, and one of them should come out on top. Your Daytona 500 winner is Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will hold off Mark Martin at the line. I would have thrown Stewart in as a wild card possibility, but the backup makes that unlikely.

Keselowskis end up mid-pack
It ended up as an average day in the Nationwide Series for both of the Michigan-born Keselowski brothers, but could have been worse because both had incidents. Brad ran in the lead pack most of the day, then smacked the wall late and ended up 22nd. Brian held his own all day, despite getting spun early in the race, and ended up 25th. Even better news was there appeared to be a sponsor on his hood. Even a one-race deal is good news for the K-Automotive team.

Remembering Rodney
It's easy to forget him because he never actually made a Cup race, but Rodney Orr died fifteen years ago at Daytona. The 34-year-old had won the 1993 Goody's Dash championship and was looking to go Cup racing in 1994. On a mock qualifying run during practice, his car lifted and the roof of his car smashed at 175+ mph into the wall and the catchfence. The horrific accident was particularly brutal on Orr, and his autopsy photos were later released publicly, something that Dale Earnhardt's family thankfully avoided.

R.I.P. Rodney.


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