NASCAR finally decided it was time to play sheriff as far aggressive driving is concerned. After inconsistent responses for much of this season, NASCAR proudly waved the black flag on Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards in two separate on...
NASCAR finally decided it was time to play sheriff as far aggressive driving is concerned. After inconsistent responses for much of this season, NASCAR proudly waved the black flag on Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards in two separate on track incidents at Pocono International Raceway.
Just 31 laps into the race, Clint Bowyer ran Tony Stewart up the race track and the No. 20 Chevrolet tapped the wall. In retribution, Stewart stuffed Bowyer, who ended up spinning and collecting Carl Edwards.
NASCAR black-flagged Stewart and held him for a one-lap penalty on pit road for aggressive driving. To further make their point, he was ruled ineligible to receive the lucky dog (lap-back rule) for the remainder of the race.
"What happened with me and Clint had nothing to do with Carl," Stewart said. "I'm sorry he got into it, but it all started with the 07 car. If he would have just used a little give and take at the beginning of it, none of us would have been in that position in the first place. So instead we had two guys that had driving penalties and two other guys that got their cars tore up. So one guys not being patient and using give and take cost four guys a rough day."
Edwards just couldn't let bygones be bygones and sought his revenge on the orange car some 40 laps later.
During a round of pit stops at lap 70 as Edwards and Stewart approached pit road, Edwards spun Stewart out. NASCAR black-flagged Edwards, also holding him a lap and made him ineligible for the lucky dog as well.
"Man, I've got to choose my words carefully," Edwards said. "Let me just say this, if it weren't for respect of the sport and the people watching and his team and everything, he'd be out there bleeding right now. That's so frustrating. How can a person make it this far in life being that much of a jerk. He ran into Clint (Bowyer). I saw it on the big screen.
"He turned into Clint and took both him and me out and probably made it just about impossible for us to make the chase, and then when I pull up beside him and wave my hand like, 'What was that about?' He gives me the finger. I mean, what a jerk. I don't even know what to say. It's amazing to me that someone can be that special."
NASCAR warned both the No. 99 and the No. 20 to settle down on the racetrack. Additional penalties and/or fines are normally issued by NASCAR mid-afternoon the Tuesday after the event in question.
Penalties for aggressive driving can go either way with NASCAR: sometimes they feel that the in-race punishment should suffice; sometimes they feel that a harsher message is required. If there is a point deduction for the No. 20 team it would be disastrous. They just climbed back into Chase contention two weeks ago and sit in tenth place, just 15 points out of 11th.
"Just because we are outside the top ten for a week, don't get too upset because we're going to get ourselves back in the top ten , so don't worry about it" Stewart assured.
Considering Stewart is a proponent of drivers giving more respect on the race track, he didn't seem to be dishing out what he's been preaching this weekend. Four-time champion Jeff Gordon offered his insight on Stewart: "He's one of the best race car drivers I have ever raced against. The problem Tony has is that he has a little bit of a temper and sometimes that gets the best of him."
Heated tempers certainly were the culprit as far as the Edwards and Stewart situation was concerned. And the revulsion was palatable to Edwards long after the races completion.
"I want to like Tony," Edwards explained. "He's a hard racer and all that, but how can you like somebody like that. It's just amazing. If you hold that guy up, like if he thinks you held him up, he gets so upset and then he can wreck two guys and give you the finger. That's spectacularly self- centered. I can't imagine being like that."
Bowyer, however, managed to stay out of the on track drama after his initial spin, and was unsure what he had done to rile Stewart's ire. After the event Bowyer approached Stewart's car, didn't see him and told a member of the No. 20 team, "Please have Tony call me next week, I am not sure what I did but I don't want to do it again."
Stewart drove like a man on fire the rest of the event, and wound up racing his lap back and finishing seventh. Edwards was 39th and Bowyer 41rst.