By admin | March 24, 2013
By Richard Allen
After the ending of the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday afternoon, Tony Stewart made his way over to the parked car of Joey Logano on pit road and engaged in a brief scuffle with the driver who he believes blocked him on the race’s final restart. At the end of the action packed final laps, Logano wound up 3rd while Stewart had faded to 22nd at the checkered flag.
The field took the green flag for the final time on lap 189 with Kyle Busch and Logano making up the front row in the double-file restart. Stewart, who had lined up just behind Logano, made a bid for the lead on the low side but the #22 Penske Racing Ford moved low and took away the line. From that moment, Logano and Denny Hamlin engaged in a fierce battle for the top spot before taking each other out in the final turn and allowing Busch to sweep by and claim the win.
It was at that point when StewartÂ stalked Logano on the cool down lap, climbed from his car and sought out his rival.
Stewart’s reaction might seem justified if it were not for the inconvenient facts provided by history.
The three time Sprint Cup champion has always had a short fuseÂ when it comes toÂ being blocked on the track. Last August in Bristol, Matt Kenseth said Stewart was angry with him because of a blocking incident at Indianapolis and that led to an incident between the two drivers as they raced for the lead on the high banked half-mile.
According to Kenseth, Stewart had promised pay back upon anyone who blocked his advances on the track.
But despite his vows of retribution, it was Stewart who threw a block that wrecked virtually the whole field in Talladega last October. He himself admitted as much in his post-race interview.
“I just screwed up. I turned down and cut across Michael and crashed the whole field,” Stewart saidafter a last lap crash last year in Talladega. “It was my fault, blocking and trying to stay where I was at.
“I was trying to win the race and I was trying to stay ahead of Matt(Kenseth) there and Michael(Waltrip) got a great run on the bottom and had a big head of steam, and when I turned down, I turned across the front of his car. Just a mistake on my part but cost a lot of people a bad day.”
In his post race interview in California, Logano said words very similar to those. Essentially, he was trying to win the race and knew his chances would be lost if he allowed Stewart to get by.
I am no fan of Joey Logano, Tony Stewart or even Denny Hamlin for that matter so I have no real rooting interest here. However, it just seems odd that Stewart is so unforgiving of someone who committed the same act he did just a few short months ago.
No matter what side you may take, the great thing is that there is finally some real emotion in NASCAR. And more importantly, the drivers actually look as if it means something to win races rather than just settle for “a good points day”.
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