NASCAR class is now in session, and professor Tony Stewart is coming in hot with a lesson on respect in the Cup Series.
The always-opinionated racing legend firmly believes that the new crop of drivers have a big problem when it comes to treating their fellow competitors, and he shared his fiery take on NASCAR's respect issues on a recent episode of Kenny Wallace's YouTube show The Kenny Conversation.
Stewart, who won three Cup Series championships as a driver and a fourth as the owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, echoed comments made by Kyle Busch back in March. While Stewart agreed with Busch's take that a lack of respect has been festering in the league for some time now, he also added that the new generation of drivers doesn't share the same etiquette of their predecessors.
"A lot of the times when I got mad, people thought I just enjoyed being mad," Stewart told Wallace. "I hated being mad. I don't like being mad. ... I hate getting mad at other competitors. But when I'm mad at 'em, it's always about etiquette."
Stewart went on to talk about how fellow NASCAR Hall of Famers would handle dicey situations back in the day.
"It's about the stuff that Dale Sr. and Rusty Wallace and Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon ... all these greats that I raced with ... they taught us the etiquette of how to do it the right way. And if you didn't do it the right way, there was an easy fix for those guys," Stewart said. "They turned you around, backed you in the fence, and when you're sitting there, sliding down the racetrack or stopped or trying to get it fired up to drive to the pits, you had to have to go, 'I think I made a mistake,' and you had to figure it out, but that's how you learn."
Stewart made it clear that he really has an issue with how some of today's drivers will publicize their beef with competitors over social media and not settle things in person.
"It's sad in our sport how vanilla and wimpy all these drivers are," Stewart said. "They literally won't confront each other at the track. They'll just sit there and wait till they get home and beat on each other on Twitter where nobody has to face anybody."
Stewart talked about how much different the era he grew up in was from today's NASCAR. During his day, drivers would visit each other at their haulers after races or in their motorhomes after practice and actually have constructive conversations about what was happening on the track. If there was any disagreement between drivers, it was usually settled.
"You handled it, and you did it eye to eye," Stewart said. "You did it face to face. You did it as men."
Clearly, today's drivers don't have the same mindset, and it only seems to be getting worse. This all begs the question: which current drivers in the Cup Series actually possess the etiquette that Tony Stewart is talking about?
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