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Newz Forum: AUTO: NASCAR: Kahne, crew chief still angry at Stewart

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posted on Jul, 13 2004 @ 12:47 PM
Associated Press

Kasey Kahne and his crew chief were still seething Monday over a tap by Tony Stewart that took their car from contention when it crashed at Chicagoland Speedway.

Stewart bumped Kahne on a restart Sunday in the Tropicana 400, sending the rookie into the wall. Kahne's crew quickly steamed into Stewart's pit. Angry words and punches were flying, and people were wrestling on the ground.
Ray Evernham, who owns Kahne's car, said 2002 NASCAR Cup champion Stewart should be suspended.

Kahne was one of 22 drivers participating Monday in a Nextel Cup test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the Brickyard 400 will be run Aug. 8. Stewart, who won the Chicagoland race, was not testing at Indy but was very much on the minds of Kahne and crew chief Tommy Baldwin.

"Tony does some stupid things, like he did yesterday," Baldwin said. "He's done this to so many people for so long now, it doesn't bother him. I have no respect for him."

Kahne said somebody needs to set Stewart straight.

"That's the wrong place for that," he said. "It turned me right into the wall. If my car goes the other way, it would have taken Michael Waltrip and Brian Vickers. It probably would have been a 15- or 20-car wreck."

Kahne said if he did something similar, his crew chief would sit him down and that Greg Zipadelli should do the same with Stewart. Baldwin agreed with Evernham that NASCAR should do more to penalize Stewart.

"They could take away points, but they're way up there, so that wouldn't bother them," Baldwin said. "They have a lot of money, so fines don't mean anything to them.

"Something's got to be done. He's going to hurt somebody. When he does, he's going to be in big trouble."

A spokesman for Stewart did not immediately return a telephone message left Monday night by The Associated Press. Stewart said Sunday that he did not intentionally spin Kahne.

"I didn't do anything wrong," Stewart said. "It was a racing incident."

NASCAR agreed and said the driver won't be penalized. Stewart has been in plenty of trouble in his six seasons in NASCAR's top series. The latest offense - a fight last month with rookie Vickers - resulted in NASCAR fining Stewart $50,000, docking him 25 championship points and placing him on probation until Aug. 18.

Stewart has racked up more than $100,000 in fines over the years, and has been on probation four times. Kahne was leading the race with Sterling Marlin second and Stewart third as the field took the green flag midway through the race Sunday. After the restart, Stewart passed Marlin on the outside and slid in behind Kahne. But something happened - just what is at the heart of the dispute - and Stewart's Chevrolet tapped the back end of Kahne's Dodge. It sent the car headfirst into the wall, giving Stewart the lead.

Baldwin and his crew charged into Stewart's pits in search of Zipadelli. Both sides began pushing and shoving and falling over tires until NASCAR officials separated them. The sanctioning body said Sunday that it was investigating the fight in Stewart's pit and would make a decision late this week on possible penalties.

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