Tony Stewart and Martin Truex Jr. exchanged words after their cars exchanged glancing blows in Sunday’s Auto Club 400, according to a report.
While there was no physical confrontation between the two after the race on pit road, each saw mid-race contact from a different viewpoint, according to USA Today.
“(Truex) had a problem with (Aric Almirola), and when he got done drafting with him, he drove across the race track into us,” Stewart told USA Today. “It’s just stupid. I don’t have a problem with it. I just don’t want my car tore up.
“He had a problem with somebody else, and I’m the one who paid the price for it. I got a hole knocked in it, and it takes us out of contention to have a top-10 finish.”
Truex countered by saying Stewart could have slowed down to avoid contact, a comment that didn’t sit well with the former three-time Sprint Cup champ.
“We are in the middle of the backstretch,” Stewart told USA Today. “Why is it my responsibility to lift because he is arguing with somebody else? It’s just stupid.”
Truex saw things differently, telling USA Today, “(Stewart) ran into the back of me and was mad at me for it.”
Despite the incident, Stewart finished with his best outing of the season: 14th.
“We are getting to where we were sniffing the edge of the top 10 anyway all day,” Stewart said. “We are gaining on it a little chunk at a time. We didn’t need to get it all today, but this is a big gain for us.”
In finishing eighth, Truex extended his streak of top-10 finishes to five straight races and tying a career high.
“To go out there and run with a completely different setup than we had Friday and Saturday and come away with an eighth-place finish really says something about this team,” Truex said. “We never give up and believe in each other.”