June 28, 2011
Tempers rage at NASCARHarvick says Villeneuve should quit
By DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - There were more temper tantrums this past weekend at NASCAR’s two road race events than on a school bus full of five-year-olds.
The Sprint Cup Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway and the Nationwide Series Bucyrus 200 at Road America produced a war of words that would have done a Steven Spielberg action flick proud.
Two-time Cup champion Tony Stewart — who ended up ass-backwards on a tire wall after being punted by Brian Vickers as payback for a earlier incident at Infineon — said the reason he turned around Vickers the first time was because he was tired of being blocked.
“I’ve been complaining about the way guys have been racing all year,” Stewart said.
But Stewart ominously added that this form of retributive justice was going to be his modus operandi from now on in Cup races.
“I like Brian. I’m not holding it against him at all,” he said. “I don’t care if it was Ryan Newman (Stewart’s teammate). I would have dumped him too. If they want to block, that’s what is going to happen to them every time for the rest of my career.”
Kasey Kahne and Juan Pablo Montoya were bouncing off of one another more than once on Sunday and both directed barbs at the other in the race’s aftermath.
Said Montoya of Kahne: “I mean, it is just hard to run with people who have never run well on road courses or have no experience at it.”
Kahne answered back: “Last year, when his cars were really, really good and (Earnhardt Ganassi teammate) Jamie McMurray was the man, Juan still couldn’t win a race. So that shows about what he can do in NASCAR.”
The most damning comments of the weekend, however, came from Max Papis and his car owner Kevin Harvick on Jacques Villeneuve’s dive bombing at Road America that took out both Papis and Brian Scott.
“This is not go-kart racing,” Papis said of Villeneuve’s move. “And considering he is a Formula One world champion, I was expecting a little bit better (from him).”
Harvick, however, wasn’t nearly as diplomatic with his views on what Villeneuve had done.
Harvick, commenting via his Twitter account said: “That is why @27villeneuve should just quit driving NASCAR no sense . . . i hope @maxpapis punches his dumbass in the mouth. No respect here in NASCAR for @27villeneuve same reason they kicked his dumbass out of f1.”
Aussie wants the noise
A rule change that would see Formula One using 1.6 litre V6 engines starting with the 2014 season is not going over very well in Australia — the traditional launching pad of F1 seasons.
So angry is Ron Walker — promoter of the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne’s Albert Park — that he is threatening to kill the race in favour of an IZOD IndyCar event.
Walker’s beef is that the much smaller engines will sound “like a tin can rattling,” and he said that would send race fans packing.
He wants F1 to retain the screeching loud V8s and their 18,000 revolutions per minute. The V6s are expected to top out at 13,000 rpms.
“If the teams want to have a brawl over this, they are going to get the biggest brawl of their life,” Walker told pitpass.com. “They won’t be able to introduce the engine because we won’t run the engine — we won’t run the races.
“An IndyCar race costs about $3.7 million U.S., compared to what we are paying (estimated at $21 million) and it is louder and noisy.”
IndyCar quit going to Australia — where it raced at Surfers Paradise in 2009.
“We are not going to have our customer base destroyed,” Walker said. “I told them that the circuits would not run it. The sound is part of the brand. It must be 18,000 revs and it must sound the same.”
ESPN is reporting that Rick Hendrick is set to sign Dale Earnhardt Jr. to an extension of three to five years on his contract to drive the No. 88 Chevrolet. ... Red Bull is said to be close to renewing its deal to run Renault engines for at least three more F1 seasons.