RICHMOND - On Friday afternoon, Tony Stewart was clearly not in a mood to talk about his prospects for the Chase (good but not secure), his race car (pretty woeful in practice) or, really, much of anything else. But NASCAR requires its top drivers to speak to the media, so here he was.
Standing outside his hauler, as is his custom, Stewart answered some routine Chase-prospects inquiries, and then griped about the fact that the media continued to ask him the same questions in the hunt for the Chase. When a reporter attempted to lighten the mood by asking what kinds of questions he'd like to hear, well, he went off:
"The pressure is all the media standing here," Stewart said. "We're doing the same thing we always do every week. It's you guys asking us the same questions for eight straight weeks in a row. It's annoying as hell That's where the pressure is coming from because we're answering the same thing we answered the last seven or eight weeks. That's where it gets annoying after a while. It gets very monotonous."
He continued: "All I care about is what I'm doing this week. I'm not worried about what's going to make your article this week. If it doesn't make my race car go fast, I really don't care about it right now. I have a lot of things going on."
Look, we could go through the usual dance here where we try to defend our media brethren (the media gives Stewart's sponsors exposure, which in turn will get him the financing to help make his "race car go fast") and commenters rip back with "Yeah, Smoke! You tell that stupid media!" We all know how that would go.
But here's a bit of perspective on that "you ask the same questions every week" line: there's actually a new race every week (it's true, I checked), and every race changes the conditions of the season. Saying the media asks the same questions every week is like saying that it's stupid there's a new weather and traffic report every day. Didn't you just ask about that yesterday?
We could go on; there's plenty of material to discuss here and plenty of shots that both sides could take. But let's not make the media the story any more today. You take it from here, friends.
- Tony Stewart