Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011 | 8:32 p.m.
Opinions are often based on personal experience and a fear of consequences. So it was no surprise when I read that Tony Stewart wants NASCAR to hold drivers accountable for retaliation on the track. The "boys have at it"' policy has gotten out of control in Stewart's eyes, and he wants the sport to return to the good old days when drivers settled scores in the garage with their fists.
This is an interesting attitude coming from a driver who has practiced his fair share of retaliation on the track by roughing up drivers who he believed didn't show him enough respect. It was just a few races ago that the driver of the No. 14 car sent Brian Vickers spinning at Sonoma.
So why is Stewart ready to march to the NASCAR hauler and demand a meeting with Mike Helton? Because now he's a team owner who sees bent sheet metal as an additional cost he needs to pay for at the end of the month. And Stewart admits this. “I used to be as guilty of it and as bad as anybody about taking a cheap shot at guys early,” Stewart told scenedaily.com. "But you realize that it's not about the two guys driving the cars out there as much as there's a bunch of guys that go back to the shop. There's a car owner that spends a lot of money. There's a bunch of crew guys that spend a lot of hours and put a lot of heart and soul into what we have as a product each week with these race cars. I think at times we all forget about that.”
The consequences of “boys have at it” have the potential to cost Stewart money. And the personal experience that comes with being a team owner has given Stewart a new perspective on a form of racing that wasn't as offensive to him when he was just a driver.