NASCAR plans to talk with Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman before each driver gets on track Friday at Chicagoland Speedway to discuss their incident and comments at Richmond, Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday.
Stewart and Newman tangled on the track, leading to an eight-car accident that stopped last weekend’s race at Richmond International Raceway on Lap 339. The race was delayed 20 minutes.
“Certainly too late for us to do anything in terms of a reaction at-track,” O’Donnell said Monday.“After you hear the comments from both drivers, (it’s) disappointing in terms of how that played out and what was said on the air. We’re going to take a look at that now that we’ve got some time and certainly talk to both drivers before heading into Chicago and go from there. We’re still looking through everything to review the data and then have conversations with the drivers.”
O’Donnell explained on“The Morning Drive” how they might talk to the drivers.
“Any incident like that, we’ll sit each driver down prior to going on the racetrack and make sure, probably individually, that they’ve talked,” he said. “If they haven’t talked, we’ll make sure they’re together before any of the cars go out on the track prior to that first practice.”
“I guess he thought he was in a sprint car again,” Newman told NBCSN. “Didn’t want to control his anger. (The team) will keep fighting like we always do. It’s unfortunate. Not the end we wanted.
“Just disappointing that you have somebody old like that that should be retired the way he drives. It’s just ridiculous.”
Asked about racing Stewart aggressively and if Stewart had any reason to be upset with him, Newman said:
“I only hit him in Turn 1 when he cut across my nose. I don’t think there was any reason other than him just being bipolar and having anger issues. Google ‘Tony Stewart,’ you’ll see all kinds of things he’s done. Look it up on YouTube (and) everything else.”
“I go into (Turn) 1 there and he dive bombs in there and I’m already coming down,” Stewart told NBCSN. “It’s not like I was trying to squeeze him into the infield or something. Ryan and I have been good friends. I don’t do that to him. He gets me in (Turn) 1 and he gets me off (Turn) 2 and it’s the third time by that time. There was once early in the race that nobody saw. Three times, that’s two more times than I normally let somebody run into me.”