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Tony Stewart Slams ‘Vanilla & Wimpy’ NASCAR Drivers for Poor Etiquette

The former Cup Series champion echoed Kyle Busch’s calls to improve driver respect in the top flight of stock car racing.      

By Andrew Woodin
Tony Stewart at NASCAR Xfinity Series

Class is in session, and professor Tony Stewart’s here with another hard-hitting lesson on driver respect in the NASCAR Cup Series.

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Acknowledging that it has been difficult to stomach how the new generation of drivers and their personalities affect their treatment of others, the legendary driver and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing expanded on Kyle Busch’s concerns about a lack of mutual respect in the Cup Series.

What did Tony Stewart say about the current generation of NASCAR Cup Series drivers?

Stewart, who won three Cup Series titles as a driver and a fourth as an owner, delivered his fiery take on NASCAR’s respect issue on an episode of “The Kenny Conversation” on Kenny Wallace’s YouTube channel. While Stewart co-signed Busch's take that a lack of respect has been festering in the league, saying drivers in this new generation having little to no etiquette, unlike their predecessors.

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“A lot of the times when I got mad, people thought I just enjoyed being mad,” Stewart told Wallace. “I hated being mad. I don’t like being mad. … I hate getting mad at other competitors. But when I get mad at him, it’s always about etiquette.”

“It’s about the stuff that Dale [Earnhardt] Sr. and Rusty Wallace and Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon … all these greats that I raced with … they taught us the etiquette of how to do it the right way, and if you didn’t do it the right way, there was an easy fix for those guys. They turned you around and backed you in the fence, and when you’re sitting there, sliding down the racetrack or stopped or trying to get fired up to drive to the pits, you have that time to go, ‘I think I made a mistake,’ and you had to figure it out, but that’s how you learn.”

What role does Tony Stewart say social media plays in the issue?

Stewart took particular issue with drivers publicizing their beefs with fellow competitors on social media instead of in person.

“It’s sad in our sport how vanilla and wimpy all these drivers are,” lamented Stewart “They literally won’t confront each other at the track. They’ll just sit there and wait till they get home and beat on each other on Twitter where nobody has to face anybody.”

“We grew up in a different era,” Stewart continued. “I remember drivers coming up in the lounge, and it wasn’t always bad – sometimes they’d come in there and tell you when you did something good too and that you did something right, and they’d come in and praise you for it, but if you did something wrong… They would literally come in your trailer and talk to you in your own lounge… Talk in each other’s motor homes after practice was over after the race was over.”

“You handled it, and you did it eye-to-eye,” he added. “You did it face-to-face. You did it as men.”

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