Former three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart is never one to shy away from giving his opinion. Stewart, who is also co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, is back with some more harsh words for NASCAR.
NASCAR has seen plenty of major changes over the years, and those changes have brought a new style of racing to the sport.
Goodyear has been a major sponsor for the sport for a long time, and it is important to the company that tires don't constantly blow out during a race. As technology has advanced, the tires have gotten harder, not softer, and the Next Gen car was meant to level the playing field.
This is where Stewart took time to chime in about what he views has become a big problem for the sport he has invested so much in. Stewart made a recent appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to chat about where he thinks the sport is and what the future looks like.
Tony Stewart Slams NASCAR
Stewart's biggest concerns include how the new tires, mixed with the Next Gen car, have created a whole new era.
Things have come a long way since @TonyStewart?s time in the Cup Series ended in 2016.
He shares his take on increased aggressiveness in the Cup Series and why ?we have shot ourselves in our foot as an industry.?
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) August 1, 2023
"When I started ... just about every racetrack you went to, you could burn the tires off the car," Stewart said. "Nowadays, we're in this era where the tires are so good and don't fall off, and the performance doesn't fall off. So, you can run 100% every lap and not hurt your race car."
All the cars are the same in his mind, and it doesn't seem as if drivers are able to truly prove themselves. The field is so competitive that Stewart also believes driver etiquette is all but gone.
"So now, when guys are fighting for position, it's not, 'We'll give it away at the start of this run because we'll get it back on the end of the run.' The etiquette ... has kind of went out the window," Stewart said. "Circumstances have changed that etiquette. It's not that the drivers have said, 'We just don't want to do it that way anymore.' That's the hand they're forced to race under that."
It has caused so many feuds that is hard to really enjoy the racing, because everyone is so close together. Stewart blames the changes as a whole for these problems, going so far as to say NASCAR has caused its own problems.
"We have shot ourselves in our foot as an industry of complaining about races not being good because somebody won by 3 or 4 or 5 seconds ... . We sat there and preached that things are bad."
The best example is Kyle Larson's All-Star win at North Wilkesboro earlier this season. He was so dominant on that night that people were angry he won by so much. That's how racing is supposed to be, and the race showcased that it can still be done.
Although Stewart appreciates that NASCAR has tried to make the field tighter together, it has created a whole different issue.
"NASCAR has done the best they can to try and tighten the field up as much as they can. But with that, it makes it extremely hard to pass," Stewart said.
Things are surely not the same as when Stewart was driving. No wonder the drivers who had some form of etiquette are struggling. It looks as if NASCAR has dug its own hole. Good luck fixing it.
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