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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Stewart defends NASCAR fines; Gibbs team swaps drivers

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- In the past, Tony Stewart has been among the drivers most likely to criticize NASCAR publicly when he didn’t agree with them. But in regard to NASCAR’s recent decision to fine a couple drivers after their comments about the sport, he is not in the critical camp.

Toting the company line, Stewart said: “I’m not sure that NASCAR as a sanctioning body deserves some of the things that we say as drivers and some of the things that the media says. The sport and the racing right now is more competitive than it’s ever been. From NASCAR’s side, they’ve got to do what they have to do to protect the sport.”

He went on to say that most of the media does a good job in his view, but: “There are a few bad eggs in the media center who go out of their way to find negative things,” and hurt the sport in the process.

I just have one question. Where is the old Tony Stewart and can we have him back? I miss him.

Stewart to auction race-worn firesuit, helmet

In other Tony Stewart news, he will be holding an online charity auction, at

Through August 23, fans can bid on a race-worn firesuit and helmet that Stewart wore at the Chicagoland race in July. Proceeds go to charity.

Very cool item if you’re a Stewart fan and want to put in a hefty bid, but you might want to wash it first, unless you want the smell of Tony Stewart‘s sweat in your collectibles room ... which I suppose is possible.

Swap and learn
The Gibbs drivers haven’t exactly been lighting things up in the Cup series in the past few weeks, so they tried an interesting strategy Saturday at MIS in their efforts to figure out their woes: A driver swap.

In the morning practice, Kyle Busch drove the #11 car and Denny Hamlin drove the #18 car, to see if they could help each other out in getting some more speed.

Dave Rogers, crew chief for Kyle Busch, said it was a helpful experiment.
“It was a great exercise. One of the benefits at JGR is how tightly the three teams work. We just talked about it and said it would be really neat to switch drivers and just see what they feel. I think it was very productive. I think we learned a lot.”

Mike Ford, Hamlin’s crew chief, said you can get different perspectives from this type of swap.
“Basically seeing what you can learn from two guys that can be competitive in different thing with similar stuff. It gives you a benchmark of how far you need to work.”

Hometown pole for Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski has claimed the pole for this afternoon’s Nationwide race. The Rochester Hills native has now earned 8 poles in 127 career starts, and his fifth pole of the season.

“The Dodge Challenger is a beautiful car and it will look even better running up front. It wasn’t an easy lap, that’s for sure. I had my hands full, but Paul Wolfe gave me a great race car. This car is fast. It means a lot to get a pole here at my home track."

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