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How will Stewart end his run with JGR?

By admin | September 11, 2008

By Richard Allen

How hard will Tony Stewart's crew work for the driver who criticized them so harshly?

Tony Stewart is about to enter the last ten races of a ten year run with Joe Gibbs Racing. To say it has been a successful pairing among the two would be an understatement.

Stewart has won two Sprint Cup titles for JGR. He is the only driver to win under the old format(2002) and the new format(2005). He has also amassed 32 victories driving the Home Depot #20.

Earlier this year it was announced that Stewart had entered into a partnership with Carl Haas to form Stewart-Haas Racing, for which he will drive in 2009.

So now, the question that remains for Stewart and JGR is how will they part company?

The final stretch together did not get off to a good start last week in Richmond. Stewart’s well known temper heated up on the cool down lap. Essentially, he placed the blame for the team’s 2nd place finish in that race at the feet of his crew. “Way to go guys, we just gave another one away,” Stewart said. “Great job!”

His normally more reserved crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, fired back at the driver, reminding Stewart that they win and lose as a team and calling ‘Smoke’s’ comments “crap”.

Stewart was shown on television throwing his steering wheel and other objects around inside the car.

Now that he is entering the final ten races for JGR, Stewart has the opportunity to go out a winner. He has qualified for the Chase for the Championship once again. However, he also has the opportunity to go out with a bad taste in his mouth and to leave a bad taste in the mouths of the people he has worked with over the past ten years.

Some will say that Stewart’s comments in regard to his crew were simply the angry words of a determined competitor that were fired off in the heat of the moment. Others will argue that the comments are a true reflection of Stewart’s character.

‘Smoke’ has proven to be a volatile personality and a very polarizing one as well. Many fans love him for his style and attitude. Many other fans dislike the way he goes about his business on the track.

What is most important for the next ten races is, how does his JGR crew feel about their driver, especially after Richmond?

 *Click the link below for video of Stewart’s in car comments.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

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2 Responses to “How will Stewart end his run with JGR?”

  1. Callaway Says:
    September 12th, 2008 at 8:59 am

    I personally think for all practical purposes Tony’s is already mentally not at JGR he might be there in the car but his mind has to be at SHR. He’s won two Championships and a lot of races for Gibbs with the same team, I’m sure that during those runs he hasn’t been Mr. Fred Rogers like to deal with so this is nothing new for them. The big difference now is ESPN with their no quote or camera shot off limits policy they broadcast it in real time and then re air the incident again and again. Now in the short course of a week with continued feed on the little in car chat between tow co-workers not for general consumption some unaware viewers will skip past the things such as the massive donation he made to the Victory Junction and numerous other good things he’s done out of the car. Is he shot fused oh I would say that was a given, have there been others the same way oh yes, these are not choirboys and it’s not a sport for those who are meek and fragile egos. Much the same as the continued overblown coverage of the two Junior’s Tony and Dale it finally took Tony Sr. to come out and say it’s no big deal, that’s the way they have dealt with one another since they were little kids and this as well is no big deal.

  2. Toni Says:
    September 12th, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    I got a kick out of this statement:”His normally more reserved crew chief, Greg Zipadelli”. I guess that you missed Zipadelli chewing out the pit crew during the Fonatana race. The pit crew had several slow stops. After one of the slow stops Zippy yelled over the radio: “G*d D*** you Mother F*uckers…you are pathetic…that was awful.

    Both Tony and Zippy have been critical of the pit crew over the radio. However, both Zippy and Tony have praised the crew over the radio when they do good.