JOLIET, Ill. (AP) Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman left a NASCAR-mandated meeting Friday insisting their dustup last weekend is behind them and no apologies are needed.
The former teammates laughed and joked while addressing reporters outside the NASCAR hauler at Chicagoland Speedway. They met for about 35 minutes with NASCAR executives after Stewart wrecked Newman late in last Saturday’s race at Richmond.
“We’ve been friends for a long time so, yeah, it was important for us to be in there and talk about it,” Stewart said.
It marked the second straight week the volatile Stewart has wrecked another driver. He took out rookie Brian Scott at Darlington on Sept. 4.
The latest incident ended Newman’s faint hopes of reaching the Sprint Cup playoffs. He blistered Stewart after the race, calling him “bipolar” and bringing up the 2014 incident in which Stewart fatally struck a sprint car driver in New York. “I guess he thought he was in a sprint car again and didn’t know how to control his anger,” Newman said then.
Newman said Friday he doesn’t have any regrets for what he said.
“It’s just words, right? I think more often than not we’re men of action,” Newman said. “It’s all about going out there and doing our job. We all know it can be frustrating at times, whether it’s intentional or not.”
Stewart, who did qualify for the Chase in what he says will be his final season before retirement, declined to say whether he wished he had raced Newman differently.
“I’d love to be able to be perfect and do everything right 100 percent of the time,” Stewart said.
When Newman was asked if he had apologized, he said no and was then interrupted by Stewart.
“You have to remember, we’ve been teammates,” Stewart said. “We’ve known each other since long before either one of us ever got an opportunity to come to NASCAR.”
Stewart had said the meeting was likely because NASCAR didn’t want a repeat of last year’s Chase feud between Joey Logano and Matt Kenneth that ended with Kenneth wrecking Logano to end his championship hopes. He targeted the media, saying reporters are trying to keep the issue alive.
“That’s where it makes it equally frustrating across the board,” he said. “It’s like you’re being laid on a table and dissected and everybody is trying to pick your brain. It’s a deal where we’ve had a week to think about it, we’ve had a week to get over it. We’ve been in the trailer and talked about it. As far as we’re concerned, it’s over.”