Tony Stewart says he and Kyle Busch are “on the same page” regarding last weekend’s controversial finish to the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, in which Stewart took the win and Busch crashed out on the last lap. The Sprint Cup points leader says he called Busch early this week to discuss the incident.
“I checked first of all just to make sure he was all right,” Stewart said. “When something like that happens, you want to make sure that both guys are on the same page with what happened, and we definitely were. I mean, there was no question on either one of our parts of what happened. It’s just part of racing.
“I’ve mentioned it to Kyle, and even kind of laughed about it, the fact that everybody has made such a big deal about this all of a sudden happening. A good friend of mine reminded me of the very first TV race, the very first 500 that they showed on national TV, and it was Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough, same type of incident on the backstretch for the win.
“What happened (last) weekend, what happened at Talladega... none of this is new, and I think it’s our responsibility to educate everybody that, hey, this isn’t something that this is the first time this has happened. This is something that’s been going on for a long time. There’s little differences here and there about how the accident happened, but David Pearson and Richard Petty coming off of Turn 4 and both of their cars crashed and who could get it started and get it limped across the start/finish line to win? There’s just so many cases where that’s happened in the past, too – it’s really no different than what we’ve got going on, other than the fact that instead of two cars being involved, now we have 32 cars in the pack. That’s the only variable that’s changed. It’s a product of superspeedway racing.”
Stewart reiterated his belief that neither driver was to blame for the incident.
“Kyle knew that my job was to get to his quarter panel, he was trying to move up to defend his spot, and nobody in his position would have just stayed there and let somebody drive back by him,” he said. “You’ve got to do something, and he wasn’t trying to wreck us, he was just trying to make me make a move to slow me down.
It was good to have that conversation with him yesterday. I was glad he wasn’t hurt. And I got a chance to see Kasey (Kahne) last night and make sure he wasn’t hurt, as well. It was good to touch base and make sure we were all on the same page – which we were.”