|Brian Vickers displays the aftermath of Stewart's "lesson" at Infineon.|
Credit: Todd Pennington/Getty Images
Tony Stewart was not thinking as an owner at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway when he attempted to send a message to fellow Sprint Cup drivers that he will not tolerate being blocked on the race track. That message may have cost him more than a banged-up race car.
The action by Stewart, the driver, may have cost both Stewart and teammate Ryan Newman a spot in the Chase, made a few sponsors unhappy and left a bad impression on any driver that might be interested in helping the young Stewart-Haas Racing team expand in the future.
Stewart decided on lap 39 to give Brian Vickers a nudge when he felt he was being blocked. This caused Vickers to spin and the resulting melee resulted in damage to several cars, including Newman’s. It also meant that Vickers would eventually seek payback and cause Stewart to finish in the 39th spot.
"I probably had it coming because I dumped him earlier,” Stewart said, “but I dumped him because he was blocking. If anybody wants to block all year that's what I'm going to keep doing so they can handle it however they want. It was payback, but I dumped him first and I dumped him because he was blocking. I've been complaining about the way guys have been racing all year. I like Brian, I'm not holding it against him at all. I don't care if it was Ryan Newman I would have dumped him too. If they want to block that's what is going to happen to them every time for the rest of my career."
Newman was never able to fully recover from the early accident and was left with a car that never was the same although the No. 39 team worked hard all day to repair the damage. Stewart was able to continue running near the front before Vickers retaliated.
Stewart finished 39th and dropped one position to 12th in the points while Newman lost two spots in the championship standings after finishing 25th in Sunday’s road course race.