on June 18, 2012 by admin in National News, Comments (0)

Tony Stewart to Junior Nation: ‘It’s not a national holiday’

BROOKLYN, Mich. — When Tony Stewart finished second in the 2004 Daytona 500, he graciously praised winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. for deserving a career-making moment. The three-time Sprint Cup champion took a decidedly different tack after finishing second Sunday to Earnhardt in the Quicken Loans 400.

Asked to sum up his feelings about NASCAR's most popular driver ending a 143-race winless streak, Stewart offered a surly response.

"No different than anybody else that does it," he said. "It's not a national holiday, guys. This morning, they were celebrating his fourth anniversary of his last win, so I guess we are all in a state of mourning now because he's broke that streak. So I wonder what we are all supposed to think."

Friday marked four years since Earnhardt's last win in NASCAR's premier series, also occurring at Michigan International Speedway. The victory resulted in an overwhelming outpouring of joy from Earnhardt's massive fan base with #DaleJr trending worldwide on Twitter shortly after the race ended.

A weary Stewart, though, seemed in no mood to reflect on the significance of Earnhardt's 19th career victory. He opened his news conference by noting his team had been on the road for 11 of 12 days with elongated prerace testing sessions at Pocono Raceway and Michigan and a two-day tire test at Bristol Motor Speedway between the races.

"I've got a bunch of tired crew guys and a tired crew chief, and I'm a tired driver," he said. "But I'm really proud of the effort they put forth in the last week and a half."

Stewart did credit a solid driving performance to Earnhardt, who led a race-high 95 of 200 laps in his No. 88 Chevrolet.

"Dale had the fastest car all day," Stewart said. "He could run pretty much the same pace the whole run. We could do it for about the first half of the run and then we would lose pace."

Article source: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gameon/post/2012/06/tony-stewart-to-junior-nation-its-not-a-national-holiday/1

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