Tony Stewart Says Current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Drivers Have Less Respect For One Another On Track

Tony Stewart, now a veteran NASCAR racer after 12-plus years of experience in the Sprint Cup Series, says the culture on the racetrack has changed for the worse.

Drivers are much less likely to race one another with respect these days, Stewart said – and it's a noticeable change from even several years ago.

"It went from a give-and-take attitude with drivers to where it's just take, take, take now," he said. "We'll learn with it if that's the way it's going to be, but it was a lot more fun when drivers respected each other and worked with each other."

Stewart was especially upset after last week's race at Michigan, saying many of his competitors "drove like idiots" and caused him to lose respect for them.

On Friday, Stewart followed up those comments and said he was frustrated with several small incidents which showed drivers weren't being respectful.

For example: Stewart was behind David Reutimann for four laps in the early laps of the Michigan race, but said Reutimann raced him for second place like they were coming to the checkered flag.

"It was obvious we were faster than him," Stewart said. "I guess second must have paid something for the first 10 laps if you were running in the top two."

It's incidents like that one that have drawn Stewart's ire.

"People used to work with each other and know that it was a 400- or 500-mile race," he said. "It's either they don't use their heads or they just don't care anymore, and that's the part that's kind of disappointing.

"The series was a lot of fun working with world-class drivers who respected each other, and when guys are doing that, it shows they don't have any respect for each other anymore. It's a shame."

And with the rough nature of road courses lately – which have become as physical as short tracks – Stewart said there's "no doubt" drivers will run each other over on Sunday.

The Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner said drivers are more likely these days to put themselves in a bad position at Sonoma and use other cars to make a move. It's "getting worse every year," he added.

"There will be a lot of guys who crash each other just because they think they can," Stewart said. "I will bet anything I've got in my pocket that in the last two or three laps, somebody dumps somebody."

So what's leading to the lack of disrespect among drivers?

"When you find that answer out, will you come tell me?" he said. "Because I'm curious the same way you are."

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