Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman made their peace Friday, days after a Stewart-induced accident drew harsh words from Newman during last week’s race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
“We’ve had a week to think about it and get over it,” Stewart told reporters after he and Newman met with NASCAR officials Friday morning at Chicagoland Speedway. “As far as we’re concerned, it’s over. Now let us go race and worry about Chicago.”
Newman had tough words for Stewart after the two wrecked last Saturday night in a race Newman needed to perform well in if he was to qualify for the Chase, which will begin Sunday at Chicagoland.
Newman’s Chase hopes were vanquished when Stewart wrecked him in an apparent retaliatory move on the back stretch with 37 laps remaining.
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Although neither driver said he apologized Friday in NASCAR’s hauler, they seemed satisfied with how the meeting went.
“We don’t have to apologize to each other,” Newman said. “They’re just words, right? More often than not, we’re men of our actions. It’s just all about going out there and doing our job. We all know it can be frustrating at times, whether it’s intentional or not. ... I don’t have any regrets about what I said. I am frustrated by the situations and the actions that came about in respect to all of it.”
▪ Rain backed up Friday’s schedule at Chicagoland, forcing the cancellation of qualifying for Sunday’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 Cup race. That means points leader and Chase top-seed Kyle Busch will start on the pole, with Brad Keselowski alongside on the front row.
▪ The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be a consistent theme throughout the race weekend at Chicagoland. Drivers in all three series will carry special Turtle-themed cars, including Danica Patrick, Regan Smith and Landon Cassill in Sunday’s Cup race. Nickelodean, where the TMNT series can be found, is the entitlement sponsor of Sunday’s race.
▪ The Xfinity Series’ regular season will end Saturday with the Drive For Safety 300 at Chicagoland. Dakoda Armstrong is 20 points outside the 12th and final spot in the Chase, which will begin next week at Kentucky Speedway.
“I think we’re kind of at a point where we’re almost too far out (of) making it just (by) having a good finish, so we kind of have to get to the point where someone has to have really bad luck or we’ve got to try to steal away a win,” said Armstrong, whose best finish was fifth at Iowa. “We’re going to have to make something happen to try to make it.”
▪ Stewart-Haas Racing confirmed that Cole Custer will drive the team’s first Xfinity car in 2017. Custer has two career victories in the Truck Series.