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Tony Stewart and teammate Ryan Newman crash when Newman's right-rear tire blows in Daytona 500 practice....and they're both hot


Ryan Newman, with the remains of his Daytona 500 Chevy (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


   By Mike Mulhern

   Ryan Newman's bad luck continues, and Saturday morning it rubbed off on new teammate Tony Stewart, when a blown right-rear tire on Newman's Chevy took out both him and owner-driver-boss Stewart.
   They'll both have to go to backups for Sunday's Daytona 500 and start from the rear of the field instead of up front. Stewart, with his second-place run in Thursday's 150, was to start from the third row.
   And Stewart says going to a backup car will likely take him out of contention in the 500.
   Stewart was hot at Goodyear and said the tire company, which has already recalled a handful of Daytona 500 tires for unexplained reasons, may need to recall more.
   Newman said the incident occurred very quickly: "The right-rear tire exploded in the middle of one and two. It gave me 100 yards of sign that it might. It started the very, very slightest vibration.
    "I was getting ready to come in, and it was too late. I was just getting ready to pull off in turn two and come in.
    "It is ridiculous the situation we are in with these tires.
    "Just disappointed in the situation Goodyear has put us in."
   Newman over his career has also been a critic of tire issues when they occur.



No more smiles. Tony Stewart ain't happy with Goodyear (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)


Goodyear got considerable criticism at times last season, at Atlanta in the spring, and at Indianapolis in the summer, particularly, for tire issues. And Goodyear has changed its testing program to improve the product.
   One issue at some tracks is the extra right-side weight of this new car-of-tomorrow. And Newman said he hoped Goodyear and NASCAR will take this opportunity "to see if they might be able to help work on the race cars a little bit this year."
   Stewart has been one of Goodyear's most vocal critics over the years, whenever there is an issue….unlike most drivers on the tour who take the more politically correct approach.
   However Stewart now has his own team, and is paying his own tire bills, and after announcing that deal last summer, he was noticeably absent from the post-Indianapolis tire debate.
   Now, though, he's back speaking his mind:
  "It's just a Goodyear right-rear tire….same thing everybody has been talking about all week," Stewart fumed.
   "Same stuff we always talk about every year, the failures that Goodyear has. I think that's part of their marketing campaign: The more we talk about it, the more press they get.
   "I think they forget it's supposed to be in a good way, not a bad way.
   "It's just frustrating, because the gold and blue down there (the Goodyear haulers at the far end of the garage) are the cause of another deal.
   "I'm just so tired of talking about Goodyear it's ridiculous. I'm just over it."
    Friday's recall, Stewart said, was "apparently not enough.
   "Apparently this is their marketing strategy to get press.
   "I'm just tired of talking about them, tired of them being an issue.
    "And us talking about them right now isn't going to change anything because it falls on deaf ears, and that won’t change."
    NASCAR officials have generally stayed out of tire frays like this, deferring to Goodyear, which has an exclusive contract with NASCAR.
    (Goodyear's comments on the tire situation are in a story in Mike's Take.)
    Stewart, however, was fuming. How big a setback to his Daytona 500 hopes? Stewart has never won this, the sport's biggest race, but he had one of the fastest cars here.
   "I'm sitting here with a back-up car, what do you think?" Stewart snapped.


Don't think Tony is sending this Valentine to Goodyear. Smoke is smokin' ....smokin' hot, that is (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


"We've got a lot of work to do.
   "I'm ticked right now. I'm not happy. I'm not cordial. I'm not nice….and I shouldn't be.
    "If it was because two guys wrecked and it was a driver's mistake, that's one thing. But a manufacturer that has the sole deal here -- they don't have any competition – and they can't give us something to keep us from having problems like this…
   "I'm just amazed at how much everybody kisses up to them."
    Stewart says his two new crew chiefs, Darian Grubb and Tony Gibson, can handle this situation: "I'm not even the least bit concerned about that," Stewart said.
    "That's the least of my concerns.
    "It's the group at the end of the garage that I'm really concerned about.
    "Don't get them anywhere near me, don't bring them anywhere close. I don't want anything to do with them."
   Newman hasn't had a great SpeedWeeks anyway, and going to yet another backup car has left him in a sour mood:  "It is a bad situation….It is hard to talk about. Our people have a challenge."



Tony Stewart's crew unloads another Daytona 500 backup. This is an expensive SpeedWeeks for the new owner-driver (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


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