Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Whenever the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series runs
at Talladega Superspeedway, you can expect someone to speak his mind when all
is said and done there. This time, it was Tony Stewart.
Amid hot and muggy conditions, Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega featured a
high attrition rate, thanks in part to several cars overheating and two big
Stewart, the three-time and defending series champion, was one of those caught
up in the second "big one," a nine-car accident that occurred when A.J.
Allmendinger bumped into Paul Menard and spun him around just after a restart
in the closing laps. Stewart managed to finish the race two laps down in 24th.
Nine cars also were involved in the first big crash, which occurred on lap 143
when Dave Blaney and Aric Almirola made contact to trigger the pileup.
"I'm sorry we couldn't crash more cars today," Stewart said during his post-
race interview. "We didn't fill the quota for today for Talladega and NASCAR."
How NASCAR responds to Stewart's comments is yet to be known.
"I feel bad if I don't spend at least a $150,000 in torn up race cars going
back to the shop," he added. "We definitely have to do a better job with
In April 2007, Stewart got himself into hot water with NASCAR for remarks he
made about the sanctioning body on his weekly Sirius Satellite Radio program
following the spring race at Phoenix International Raceway. Stewart criticized
NASCAR for issuing a caution for debris on the track late in that event, which
he felt hurt his chances of winning it. He finished second.
NASCAR officials spoke with Stewart when he arrived to Talladega one week
after Phoenix. They did not punish Stewart for his remarks but did issue a
fine and probation to him for not fulfilling his post-race media obligations
Nineteen drivers failed to finish at Talladega, including Stewart's teammate,
Ryan Newman, as well as Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson from Hendrick
"I think if we haven't crashed at least 50 percent of the field by the end of
the race, we need to extend the race until we at least crash 50 percent of the
cars, because it's not fair to these fans for them to not see any more wrecks
than that and more torn up cars," Stewart said. "We still had over half the
cars running at the end, and it shouldn't be that way."
NASCAR fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. was one of those who managed to not get
caught up in any of the wrecks. Earnhardt Jr.'s ninth-place run at Talladega
continued his early season momentum, as he has finished in the Top 10 the last
"I knew there would be a lot of wrecks today," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I just
kind of had to play it a little too safe. It worked out, and we ended up
getting a finish and not tore up and on the hook."
The big wrecks weren't the only thing that had some drivers angry at
Talladega. Cars overheating also created mayhem throughout the race. Johnson
and Newman's day came to an end in the early going when they both suffered
engine failure. Gordon also experienced overheating prior to his wreck.
"This temp thing is kind of a joke," Gordon said. "They (NASCAR) are going to
have to fix that. We all knew that was going to be a big issue, but when you
can't really even race because the temps, even in a regular pack are an issue,
we have to address that."
Prior to the season-opening Daytona 500, NASCAR made alterations to the
restrictor plates and the front grille openings on the cars with hopes of
bringing back the traditional pack racing and reducing the two-car tandems at
Daytona International Speedway and Talladega.
Overheating was a concern for teams in February at Daytona, but higher air and
track temperatures at Talladega made it a bigger issue.
"This package might be a little bit more to the daredevil side, but I'm all
right with that," Talladega race winner Brad Keselowski said.
Concerns of overheating and major wrecks will be a topic once again when the
series returns to Talladega for the fourth race in the championship Chase on
The Sports Network