Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tony Stewart and David Gilliland: Last Dance!

Fortunately, the pre-Infineon activities by two Hendrick Crew Chiefs have deflected the attention away from the Stewart and Gilliland incident. So, this blog will finish up some loose ends with the TS/DG issue, and I will then direct my attention to a whole bunch of small thoughts about other issues in other blogs.

David, on Wednesday, finally stepped up to the podium and answered some questions. His first response follows, and can be sourced on various sites:

David Gilliland appeared on the Wednesday, June 20th edition of Claire B. Lang's XM Satellite Radio Show, "Dialed In" (Channel 144/XM Sports Nation/4pm ET) regarding his perspective on last weekend's incidents during Nextel Cup Happy Hour at Michigan where the #38 of Gilliland and the #20 of Tony Stewart made contact and Stewart hit the wall and suffered some right side damage. All teams repaired the cars. Tony finished the race in 3rd, and David Gilliland wound up finishing 17th.

"You know, like I said I'm not a guy who is going to go out and say, 'believe me believe me' and try and be that guy. But, you know, my main concern was other drivers and when those kind of statements are made…I was/ I am concerned. So going into Sunday's race I was a little bit disappointed and kind of in question about how the other drivers felt. In driver's introductions it made me feel very, very good – at least ten drivers came up to me on their own and said, 'You're not worried about what Tony said are you?' and they said, 'Do not worry about it, he says something about everybody every week - its somebody else every week, it's never his fault for anything he does.' They all said that they have been through it - on that side of it. So that really put that whole situation to rest for myself."

"He's the guy at the racetrack that never gives anybody an inch. And anytime in practice obviously I mean he was, he misjudged it and ran into the back of me. And I just feel like, he's the guy I looked up to for so many years when I wasn't racing in the series and now, to have him say those kinds of things about you... it's not the best feeling. It's something that will go on and we will race as hard as we can each week and try to perform our best."

I also listened to David on Sirius Radio's The Driver's Seat for a half hour long interview. I was VERY impressed with his answers! He was matter of fact, but yet you could hear his disappointment in someone he admired. He would not say anything derogatory about Tony, even when given an opportunity. Well done David, well done!

After the show, John Kernan and Ricky Craven mentioned they were both surprised to learn that the incident did not involve pitting, as discussed in the one-sided article by's Joe Menzer. (It is amazing that mis-information by a journalist was believed by so many other journalists. If I could find the video of the incident on the 'net, why could the rest of them not? Or was it just easier to ignore David's side of the issue?)

At any rate, Ricky and John both expressed disappointment with Tony using a 2-hour long format to attack David, when David could not answer directly. They felt it would have been better for Tony to have David on the show to defend himself, or to settle it in the motorcoach. Ricky said it would have been much more befitting of a two time Champ to put his arm around the rookie and say "Let's talk!" I agree, Ricky!

Then, the fans called in. I was impressed that the fans were 100% behind David. And the number of calls beginning with "I am a fan of Tony Stewart, BUT...." followed by denouncing him, was even more impressive. Ricky also expressed sorrow that David's children had heard Tony's tirade on TV. Ricky has children and was very sensitive to what a child hears about his parentsAnd speaking of children, a fellow Blogspot Blogger contacted me! His blog, Black Flag, is very thought provoking. He directed me to his Father's Day article, How Jeff Burton and Tony Stewart Help Me Do My Job as a Dad

In this blog, CC, as a father, recognizes that all sports stars are role models, especially for children! His final statements say it all!

Life is about choices. When things aren't going his way, I'm not afraid to ask my son,"Are you going to do this like Tony Stewart or Jeff Burton."

It almost always makes him stop and think. He'll take a deep breath and say, "Mr. Burton"

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