Tony Stewart on young NASCAR talent and the new driver career cycle

Brian France to Tony Stewart: “This sports been here long before you got here and it’ll be here long after you’re gone.”

In recent years NASCAR has been in a transitional period. There’s been a shift in the format as well as a shift in the drivers. Now, both of those things have also led to a shift in the fan base.

But, the driver cycle is nothing new. Every couple of years a new crop of positions open up, all at once. Those positions are quickly filled by new talent. Back in the early 2000’s, a similar cycle took place. A new generation of NASCAR was born. Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer all joined the sport between 2003-2005.

Now, in the last 3 years NASCAR has seen it’s fair share of retirements all over again. Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and now Danica Patrick have all left the sport in the previous 3 years.

“The sport’s going to be just fine. There’s plenty of good talent that are makin’ names for themselves,” Tony Stewart stated the new faces.

Tony Stewart 2017 Dirt Schedule
Tony Stewart

“I remember, Brian France called me down to Daytona one day because I was in big trouble. For whatever it was, I can’t remember, one of the multiple things I did to get him mad. But, he said, ‘This sports been here long before you got here and it’ll be here long after you’re gone.’ ”

It’s a line that might or might not be from Days of Thunder. I don’t have the film with me at the moment or I’d double check for you. I do remember something similar being said in the movie. But, that’s not really the point anyway.

“It really is the truth. There were great drivers before I got here and there’s great drivers coming behind us,” Tony Stewart continued.

“Before it used to be guys getting their opportunity in their late twenties and early thirties. Then it was guys in their mid-twenties, then their early twenties. Now you got teenagers that are getting great opportunities.”

“But, they’re producing results, at the same time.”

A reporter chimed in to mention that the scene Tony Stewart described was from Days of Thunder. “I did?,” Stewart responded. “That’s a true story sweetheart. Apparently, you’ve watched it too many times.”


Related: Tony Stewart’s statement on Danica Patrick’s departure from Stewart-Haas


Tony Stewart | NASCAR