Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tony Stewart was absolutely a pro postrace

LOUDON, N.H. -- In the immediate aftermath of the Lenox 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, it needs to be pointed out that Tony Stewart handled what happened to him Sunday about as well as any human being could have done it.

Those of us in the media are criticized, sometimes fairly, for piling on a driver when he handles himself poorly after a race. So when somebody does it right, we should note that, too.

Stewart sat in his car before the race was finally called because of rain and talked about having led until he made a final pit stop and then never got a chance to try to rally back from that misfortune.

Stewart probably couldn't have come back to win after restarting 14th with 22 laps to go. But he should get credit for driving his backside off to keep Jimmie Johnson behind him before that last pit stop.

Strategy wasn't going to work in his favor anyway, but for Stewart to walk away with a 13th-place finish was simply unjust. But it's not the first time this year he's had impossibly bad luck.

He had the Coca-Cola 600 all but won before having a flat tire with less than four laps left. He was on his way to a certain top-five finish last week at Infineon Raceway before getting hit by a car that ricocheted off another.

Stewart answered TNT reporter Ralph Shaheen's questions patiently and eloquently. Clearly he was frustrated, and he expressed that frustration in an entirely professional manner. He got it 100 percent right, in my view, and it's worth taking a moment immediately afterward to acknowledge that.

25 comments:

Karah-Leigh said...

I agree and you could tell that he was heartbroken yet again.

Kenorv said...

Charlotte and Infineon were bad but don't forget Bristol and Dega. He led the most laps at spring Bristol race for the 3rd year in a row(and failed to win all three of those races BTW) before an untimley caution put him in a darned if you pit, darned if you don't situation which ended with him getting wrecked by Harvick and finishing 14th. Then at Dega he led the most laps and cut a tire while leading and then got caught up in the big one while trying to make his way back to the front. Instead of a possible win there, he finished 38th.

Tony's 9th place points position doesn't reflect the 20 team's performance this year. They could easily have 5 wins by now. They've been one of the strongest cars just about every race this year but the finishes haven't matched the performance.

If Tony's bad luck ever ends then he could be a contender for the championship but as it looks right now, even if he makes the chase he won't be much of a factor just because of his horrible luck.

Melissa said...

Thank you david for pointing out what is probably going to get lost in all the other drama that happend this weekend. Tony has had to deal with alot of these frustrating finishes so far this year so for him to be able to give a calm classy interview after another heartbreak is pretty neat. I hope his luck turns around because he deserves it. All the good that he has done this year with raising a million bucks to the VJGC and giving his race winnings to his hometown flood victims, he really deserves to have some good luck on his side and win some races.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou Mr.Poole.......FINALLY a journalist that not only see's what most of the fans see but reports it too! Tony has had a really "luck-less" year in NASCAR.Everyone is caught up in the"where's Tony going story" the real truth gets shaded along the way.
Thanks for shining "light" on the racecar driver....not next years move.

Diane said...

David - Thanks for your latest comments about Stewart. He actually gives a lot of well-mannered, sincere interviews. Ralph asked polite answers and Tony gave him polite responses. That's the way an interview should be handled.

Diane said...

Sorry - my last comment should have read: Ralph asked polite questions and Tony gave polite responses.

Carolyn said...

I saw his interview and I felt so bad for Tony. I was more frustrated for him and give him a lot of credit for being able to do that interview. That team has had the worse luck and as others have said he should have 5 wins this year and to no fault of theirs they have had been taken out and run into rain! At least David you had the courage to speak up and defend him for a change instead of all the negativity that the media loves to dwell on when it comes to Tony!

debra said...

Tony wasn't feeling well, physically, had tears in his eyes and still managed to be the gentleman he truly is. When treated professionally, he acts professionally. It had to hurt even more to lose to Kurt Busch, yet he made no derogatory comments or insinuations such as those of his teammate, the winner's brother.

joeblow89 said...

So now Tony should be commended for doing nothing more than not acting like a jerk when something doesn't go his way? Give me a break, 90% of drivers would've handled it just like Tony did today, it's only "news" because we're so used to seeing Tony throwing hissy fits. Don't complement someone for acting like a man, it should be expected.

controlboy said...

I appreciate Mr. Poole pointing out that Tony Stewart did not act like a jerk in his post race interview, but that is an anomoly. He is civil only after he wins, and of course it is always someone else's fault when things go bad. After he threw Marty Snieder under the bus last week, I guess someone at JGR talked to him about being a little nicer to the media. I honestly think the way to handle Stewart is for the media to boycot HIM. Win or lose, crash and finish 41st, second place brilliant drive, all media should just ignore him. His ego will have him running back to all of you in no time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you David. With all the pro-Stewart responses to your last entry on this blog, you've proven that above everything, you're fair.

Brenda V. said...

Yes, we must give credit where credit is due, he was awesome, as usual, calm or not calm.

(Looks like he is trying to fit in to NASCAR's new good boy image.)

Daly Planet Editor said...

I think a lot of Tony's polite answer came from the wonderful way that Ralph Shaheen posed the question.

When the Sprint Cup Series switches over to ESPN it may be a challenge to have their pit reporters maintain that type of professional attitude.

Talking to any professional athlete at the end of an event that they did not win and should have is an art form and Shaheen did it quite well.

JD

Hilary said...

Couldn't agree with you more, and I think he would have been justified to have been his usual short-tempered self... kudos to Tony!!!

BC said...

tony is an idiot.plain and simple.he has very few people skills.as a driver he is one of the best today.that being said it does not excuse his brushes with the media.also is this a dale e jr website,because you have your nose so far up his rear end it is unbelievable.he is a clone of kyle petty.won a few races but never a championship.he sure can sell a lot of t-shirts.

Monkeesfan said...

Indeed.

Anonymous said...

BC- why do you say Tony is an idiot? He speaks his mind as the "old school drivers" did. As for Jr. ......I guess you aren't a member of the Jr. Nation, huh! Just why do you read this blog if you KNOW it is partial to Jr.? Ahhhhhhhh.. a "closet " Jr. fan, huh! :)

Anonymous said...

Indeed?

Sharon said...

Wow, this is a total 360' from your last column about Stewart. But you are right, he handled himself professionally. But sorry for my cynical nature, but you took a lot of heat for what you wrote. Makin nice is how I see this.

Jim said...

You know who I feel the most sorry for? It's for every single one of you who couldn't get far enough past your dislike for Tony to simply give him credit for handling himself well. Great job of kicking a guy when he's down, guys - what an incredible display of sportsmanship.

Man, I'd sure hate to see how you treat your friends and family. That is, is they're even still on speaking terms with you.

Anonymous said...

JIM!!!! You are the MAN.....couldn't have said it better but, was thinking the same thing the whole time I was reading responses.

Anonymous said...

Poor Tony. Poor Tony Stewart.

Greg said...

I held my breath waiting for Tony to blow his cool.

He seemed to be only skightly listening to Ralph Shaheen as the long-winded question was being asked -- and I fully expected Stewart to blast the pit road reporter -- which he did not.

Stewart was in fact paying attention, and he didn't go off on Shaheen as many feared he would.

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