CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tony Stewart was in a “virtual black hole of cell signal” in Waverly, Ohio, last Saturday when Clint Bowyer ran to Ryan Newman‘s car after the All-Star Race and threw punches in his driver-side window.
Stewart, who was competing in and won a sprint car race at Atomic Speedway, was ignorant of this fact until he was miles away from the track and had a better cell signal.
“I got five miles down the road and all of a sudden I’m getting all these texts,” Stewart said Wednesday after being elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “I’m going, ‘How do all these people know we won that fast?’ It wasn’t about us, it was about Clint’s deal. Finally got another five miles down the road, had a real signal. Somebody goes ‘Look at Twitter.”
That’s when the co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing saw the video of Bowyer, still wearing his helmet, furiously throwing both fists at Newman, who still sat in his car.
Bowyer was angry with Newman after contact between them on the cool-down lap after the race had sent Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford nose-first into the wall.
“That kid has got to take his helmet off if he’s going to fight,” Stewart said. “Kids leave their helmets on to fight. Men take their helmets off and they fight. If you’re going to fight, fight.”
While still on the highway Saturday night, Stewart let Bowyer know his thoughts on his fighting form.
“Listen, take your helmet off if you’re going to get into a fight,” Stewart texted Bowyer.
Bowyer responded by saying “I didn’t have time.”
Stewart, who has a long history of driver altercations and arguments, then offered his driver more encouraging wisdom.
“Don’t lose that passion to fight for what you believe in,” Stewart said.