DARLINGTON, S.C. — After catching a piece of a late wreck and finishing 24th last Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, Tony Stewart was at his dead-pan, sarcastic best in a post-race question-and-answer session with reporters.
With a straight face, Stewart suggested that Sprint Cup drivers needed to wreck more cars, that part of the race could be run backward and that Talladega should consider reconfiguring the track as a figure eight to guarantee a demolition derby.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. understood the tone of Stewart’s comments and agreed with their underlying premise.
“What he said isn’t really how he feels — it was kind of a parody on the day,” Earnhardt said. “He feels strongly that it’s not good, and he thinks it should be better and could be better and thinks things should be changed and we should do the things differently as far as the plate package is concerned and the style of racing that we have there.
“I was disappointed in how the racing went myself, as far as how difficult it was to get the outside lane to move. There was just not as much passing as I anticipated. I like the pack racing, but we weren’t really able to challenge and make moves on each other like I anticipated happening.”
Earnhardt, who finished ninth, refrained from commenting on the racing after the event, primarily because his attitude was tempered by the performance of his racecar.
“I sort of side with Tony and the fact that I was disappointed in the style of racing, but I also didn’t have that great of a racecar, so I was holding back a little of my judgment due to the fact that my car just wasn’t competitive enough to do the things I wanted it to do,” Earnhardt said.
“Had it been more competitive, maybe I would have enjoyed the racing better. I wasn’t vocal at all about the racing, because I didn’t have the car to take out of the equation and say it was just the racing.”