The battle at Martinsville did make for an awesome finish albeit the rivals were Hendrick drivers. What many were hoping for was a scenario more like this..."Gordon slams Johnson and both drivers spin sending Denny Hamlin to Victory Lane and the crowd goes wild as Gordon and Johnson have a cat fight out on the track"...that would have been the ultimate!!! A good battle is always fun to watch and so I did some searching and reading and found a few I thought were worth sharing...
R. Wallace vs. Stewart - Fontana, May 2, 2004
Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart made contact early on when the 20 brushed the 2 on lap 6. It seemed like a case of no harm, no foul, but Wallace, who lost 43 laps after a wreck with Kurt Busch later in the race, directed his anger at Stewart.
Rusty Wallace: "This Stewart guy, man I'm gonna tell you, I don't know what's going on there. He's coming down the back straightaway with his finger out the window and just giving me the bird all the way down the straightaway, after he ran me through the fence. I'd like to take that finger and jam it right up his rear end, I'll tell you that. 'Cause he's messing with the wrong guy with that mouth right now."
Tony Stewart: ""We came off of (turn) 2 and we got together, and that put him in the wall. But the corner before that he drove right down into the left side of us like we weren't even there - so I don't know why he's pointing the finger at somebody else."
J. Gordon vs. Stewart - Richmond, May 15, 2004
Jeff Gordon was running 3rd and Stewart 4th with 46 laps to go when Stewart got loose in turn 3 while attempting to pass Gordon. The contact caused considerable damage to the DuPont Chevy. Stewart finished the race in 4th, while Gordon just missed the top five with a 6th place finish.
Jeff Gordon: "We're seeing (problems with Stewart) every weekend, and you'd think a guy getting abuse by the media and the drivers would start thinking a little bit more. He had a much faster car, fresher tires, got inside of me, and the position was his, and he just drove straight into me and put me in the wall and about put himself in the wall. It's unfortunate. It cost us a top five. We should have finished 5th, (and) if Tony hadn't been a bonehead, we would have."
Tony Stewart: "We got a little loose and I got into Jeff ... I just got down into turn 3 and got loose. I had a top-three night until I ran into the 24, and I know he's mad at me. We made a change and that's probably what made it loose, not to mention all that oil dry down there. I'm sure Jeff thinks I tried to take him out."
Vickers vs. Stewart - Sonoma, June 27, 2004
After casual contact with Vickers early on in the road-course event, Stewart bumped the 25 again on lap 85, causing him to spin. After the race, Stewart confronted Vickers in the garage while the rookie was still in his car. The Home Depot driver was fined $50,000 and 25 points for the post-race incident and was placed on probation through August 18.
Brian Vickers: "He wrecked me during the race in turn 11, then came over after the race and was mad at me. I have no idea why. I never touched him. He was debating with me, but gave me no reason why he was upset. So I just laughed it off. I think that made him madder, so he came after me. He got me in the chest, kind of knocked the wind out of me, then tried to pull me out of the car. That's why my guys grabbed him."
Tony Stewart: "I understand and accept NASCAR's penalty. With NASCAR's continued growth and their rise in mainstream popularity, I realize their rules have become stricter than they were in the past. And after meeting with Brian France, I know it's my job to live within those rules. I'm putting this incident behind me, and I plan no further comments. I'm going to focus on Daytona and the remaining races before the final ten-race run for the championship."
Notice who is in all of them? Gotta love Smoke!!
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