Tony Stewart insists he will continue to retaliate against drivers who he feels have blocked him, following his clash with Brian Vickers last weekend at Sears Point.
The two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion lost any chance of contending for victory last Sunday when Red Bull's Vickers punted him off at the final hairpin, with Stewart's car ending up perched on a tire barrier with massive rear-end damage. Vickers' move came after Stewart had turned him around early in the race, alleging that he was getting blocked while trying to overtake.
After the race, Stewart said he would do the same to any driver – even his teammate – if blocked again, and speaking at Daytona on Friday he revealed he has already exchanged views with Vickers and reiterated his warning to rivals about blocking moves.
"We had our drivers meeting that NASCAR asked us all to participate in yesterday and he was one of the first people I saw and we were laughing about it and talking about it," said Stewart. "He told me that he wasn't blocking. I just explained to him that of all people I didn't want it to be you either. I told him that I had drawn a line in the sand with the guys who were doing it.
"It's kind of like a... 'We didn't even agree to disagree' situation because he explained his side and I understood his side and he understood my side. I've talked to other drivers, too, and I didn't anticipate to get the kind of support that I'm getting with some of these guys. It's not the whole field saying that by any means – I haven't talked to everybody.
"I did talk to two or three different guys yesterday and the two or three guys I spoke to mentioned and agreed that it's a problem that's getting worse, not better.
"Honestly, whether they agree or disagree, I don't care. I've drawn my line in the sand and the next guy who blocks me, he is going to also suffer the same fate. It doesn't matter who it is. That's what it's going to be."
Stewart stated that next time he punts someone off he will make sure there will not be an opportunity for further retaliation from the other driver. Last week at Sears Point, Vickers took revenge on Stewart and evened things up on the track while the driver/owner was running strongly in the closing stages of the race.
"I'll make sure when I do it next time that the guy doesn't have the opportunity to come back and wreck me," said Stewart, who shrugged off the effect that such issues may end up having on his Chase hopes. Last week's 39th-place finish cost Stewart to drop two places in the drivers' standings, placing him 12th in the points.
"I'm going to stay the course on it," stressed Stewart. "I'm just to the point where I'm fed up with some of the ways some of these guys are racing each other. If we miss the Chase because of it then so be it and that's not what the team is going to want to hear.
"That's not what our sponsors are going to want to hear, but so be it. It is what it is and there's 42 guys out there and they know how I race and they know what I expect and I don't race them that way and I don't block guys and I'm not going to block guys. If they block me then they will suffer the consequences of it."
Stewart and Vickers were among a number of drivers who ended up feuding due to on-track clashes at the first road course race of the Cup season last weekend.