By admin | September 11, 2008
By Richard Allen
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. Stewartâ€™s well known temper heated up on the cool down lap. Essentially, he placed the blame for the teamâ€™s 2nd place finish in that race at the feet of his crew. â€œWay to go guys, we just gave another one away,â€ Stewart said. â€œGreat job!â€
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 â€˜Smokeâ€™sâ€™ comments â€œcrapâ€.
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 Stewartâ€™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 Stewartâ€™s character.
â€˜Smokeâ€™ 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?
Â *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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