South Boston Speedway might be in Virginia, but one might think it was a bar in Boston, Massachusetts as the Superstar Racing Experience‘s maiden trip to the four-tenths-mile oval saw many drivers angry at each other for on-track run-ins. One of them was Tony Stewart, whose contact with Ernie Francis Jr. under caution during Heat #2 led to a confrontation profane interview before the final. Even when Stewart walked away with the trophy and his third SRX win, he still called out his peers.
In a post-race interview released by SRX, Stewart described the race as having a “lot of hurt feelings, a lot of tore-up race cars, a lot of stuff that we just can’t explain why things happen tonight. Definitely looking forward to getting to Stafford next weekend, having a family talk with all the drivers about etiquette and how we’re gonna do this better than what we’ve done the first two weeks this year. We can do better than what we’re doing.”
Stewart and Francis had engaged in a shouting and grabbing match after the second heat race following their bumping under yellow. Although the two were spotted sharing a laugh prior to the final and Stewart gave his praises for Francis’ career in his interview with CBS Sports, he added he is “way more talented than doing the stupid shit he just did out there and that’s probably what ticked me off the most. I try to race these guys all with respect and give them room, we’ve got cars we’ve got to run the next four weeks in a row, and to have guys make stupid mistakes, it just pisses you off.”
While Stewart got the last laugh as he held off fellow ex-NASCAR Cup Series opponents Greg Biffle and Bobby Labonte for his first win on pavement, the main stories continued to be the frustration between various drivers. Francis said he was “not going to take that from [Stewart]” and described his conduct as being the “kind of stuff Paul Tracy does.”
Although Francis and Tracy did not mix it up, the latter had his own feud during that heat when he was spun by Hélio Castroneves. Tracy, who controversially lost the 2002 Indianapolis 500 to Castroneves, proclaimed he would call the Brazilian “Castro” in reference to former Cuban leader Fidel Castro before adding, “This guy loves to steal wins from me. That’s about as dirty as you can ever get. I drive rough but that was dirty.”
For better or worse, Tracy will not be able to exact revenge on Castroneves next week at Stafford Speedway as Castroneves is racing the NTT IndyCar Series at Mid-Ohio.
Tracy was taken out again in the final after hitting another IndyCar veteran Ryan Hunter-Reay, who turned Michael Waltrip into the outside wall on lap 69; Waltrip eventually retaliated under caution. He later told CBS they would not have “a beer together,” words that he lived up to as only Biffle, Labonte, and SRX test driver Ken Schrader joined him at the South Boston Speedway Track Bar overseen by Waltrip’s brewery.
|7||5||Ernie Francis Jr.||99||Running|
|8||5||Ernie Francis Jr.||37||Running|
|9||5||Ernie Francis Jr.||38||Running|