The Frontstretch: Scanner Static : Stewart, the Enigma by Jess Nicholas -- Wednesday July 26, 2006

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Scanner Static : Stewart, the Enigma

NASCAR Fans Speak Out · Jess Nicholas · Wednesday July 26, 2006


Q: You got all over Ryan Newman last week, so I'm interested to see if you'll be fair and do the same to Tony Stewart this week. I hope you're not going to try to defend that imbecile for what he did to Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards. He was out of control, and NASCAR should have parked him for two laps, not one. That way, he'd have stayed laps down and not been in contention for the win. 8fan

A: No way will I defend what Tony Stewart did to Bowyer. Bowyer didn't do what hundreds of drivers, Stewart included, haven't done themselves to someone else over the years. Bowyer didn't mean to run Stewart into the wall, and Stewart didn't even take a real shot when he hit it. What Stewart did to Bowyer could have taken out half the field if luck had been against them all. Stewart's postrace comments held some truth in them, but that truth was overshadowed by the fact that his petulant child side once again came out and destroyed the goodwill and press he'd brought to himself through his charity and his talent. Tony keeps wishing for the return of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. but if Earnhardt were able to come back, the first thing he might do is put the 20 straight in the wall.

Q: You called it when you said neither Dale Jr. nor Carl Edwards looked like they were going to make the chase. I just didn't realize it was going to take Tony Stewart to do it. MadMax

A: Dale, of course, got taken out by the usually conservative Dave Blaney, but Earnhardt said over the radio that - and I'm paraphrasing here - it wasn't so much that Blaney took him out as it was his own car was going backwards because it wouldn't handle. As for Edwards, I think Roush counted his chickens a couple of months ago and they never hatched. But Tony didn't help matters any on Sunday.

Q: I have to agree about Ryan (Newman)'s reputation being based mostly on winning poles. He has fewer wins than Dale Jr., and folks are always saying Junior's “success” is due to his name, not skill. So, where does that put the highly regarded Mr. Newman? Chris

A: Newman reminds me of the horse that sets the pace in a Triple Crown race, but rarely is in contention at the line. He's either putting his resources into the wrong place - chasing his reputation of a pole winner rather than a race winner - or he hasn't really learned how to win yet. As for his overall talent, though, I think it's better than most…but he's not one of the elite drivers. Yet.

Q: Jeff Gordon is sure proving the critics wrong, isn't he? Looks like a lot of people were counting him out too soon. TeflonTerry

A: It's a mistake to ever count Gordon out, and with Hendrick still a very viable team, it was doubly dumb for the anti-Gordon bandwagon to ever get fired up this year. He's only four points out of seventh right now, with one of his favorite tracks coming up; I think he makes the Chase easily from here.

Q: It's terrible that Darrell Waltrip's run at Martinsville in the Busch series didn't get more publicity. He finished on the lead lap and beat some good cars. Is there any chance we're going to see him race again in Busch or Cup? Josh P.

A: About as much chance as he'll start a race without yelling “Boogity, boogity, boogity,” I'm afraid, Josh. Ol' D.W. wasn't even going to race Martinsville until his brother surprised him with the opportunity. It was more a publicity stunt than anything. But like you said, too bad it didn't get much publicity when it finally happened.

Q: With everyone else adding teams for next year, what about the Pettys? They get the No. 44 back next year after Terry Labonte finally retires. Will they use it? MM

A: Probably not. The No. 44 will probably go to Michael Waltrip Racing for use on Dale Jarrett's UPS car. I think the Pettys need to strike while the iron is hot and add a third team or risk getting left behind again, but it doesn't appear it's going to happen. Maybe they'll combine operations with BAM's No. 49 car - that team seems to be looking for a soft place to land at the moment - but the chances of them running three cars full-time again looks pretty slim.

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