Tony Stewart says NASCAR industry, “Shot ourselves in our foot”

Former NASCAR champion talks the NASCAR Next Gen Car, Softer tires and a change in etiquette

Tony Stewart is a three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion. However, the era that branded the sport in his 1999 debut is long gone.

NASCAR has seen a lot of major changes. Those changes have brought in a new style of racing.

Goodyear is a major sponsor of the sport. And, it’s important to them that tires don’t blow out during the race. As technology has advanced, the tires have gotten harder, not softer. At the same time, tracks are repaved more frequently and with better laser machinery, that only further reduces tire wear.

Tire fall off was formerly a major factor in races. In 2023, it’s far less so.

That’s not all, bring in the Next Gen car. NASCAR’s new car was designed to level the playing field. It has, which in turn has made drivers fight harder for every position.

The combination of identical equipment and low tire wear has brought us a new era of NASCAR…

Tony Stewart talks softer tire and the Next Gen car

“When I started, just about every racetrack you went to, you could burn the tires off the car,” Tony Stewart stated via Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.

“You absolutely could wear the tires out, you could wear the car out. If you didn’t budget, plan and take care of your tires, you’d be half-a-lap or a lap down, in one stint.”

“Nowadays, we’re in this era where the tires are so good and don’t fall off. The performance doesn’t fall off. So, you can run 100%, every lap and not hurt your race car.”

“That, along with how close the rules package is with NASCAR. Now, everybody has the same stuff.”

“Before, you had comers and goers. Guys that ran hard on the front of the run and burnt their tires off are going backwards. You don’t have that anymore.”

This week, NASCAR is currently testing a shorter tire at Richmond Raceway. They are also tweaking on the Next Gen car with an attempt to create more passing.

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“It’s not, ‘We’ll give it away at the start of this run because we’ll get it back on the end of the run.’ The etiquette has gone out the window.”

“Circumstances have changed that etiquette. It’s not that the drivers have said, ‘We just don’t want to do it that way anymore.’ That’s the hand, they’re forced to race under that.”

“In scenarios with drivers having feuds and talking about how they’re racing, if you’re going to win you’re going to be forced into those situations. You don’t have a car that’s 2-3 tenths better.”

“We have shot ourselves in our foot as an industry complaining about races not being good when somebody won by 3-5 seconds. We preached that things are bad.”

“NASCAR has done the best they can to try and tighten the field up. But with that, it makes it extremely hard to pass.”

“When they go to make a move, it’s a much larger move. When it goes wrong, it goes way wrong now.”

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Tony Stewart | Stewart-Haas Racing | NASCAR