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Tony Stewart's Top 10 Blow-Ups


10. "Smoke" is Born

During his rookie season of 1999, we got an early glimpse of what lay ahead with Tony Stewart. After going back and forth at Martinsville with Kenny Irwin Jr. — who Stewart went way back with during their formative days in USAC — our hero ends up on the losing end of a physical day. This may have been the incident where Stewart decided to stop throwing heel pads in favor of the helmet.

by Vito Pugliese

9. Now that's one awkward interview

We all know Tony’s never been one to mince words, but in 2004 during an early-season winless skid, Darrell Waltrip offered a little constructive criticism – and Toy returned it with a scathing critique of the three-time champion’s final years behind the wheel. What Smoke thought would have induced laughs instead brought crickets. I mean, yeah, he was pretty much right and DW’s shtick can get a little grating … but come on man, that’s a little harsh.

by Vito Pugliese

8. Come at me, Bro!

Filmed at Indianapolis Raceway Park which begat O’Reilly Raceway Park which begat Lucas Oil Raceway Park but which everyone still refers to as IRP (follow?), Stewart got into it with the officiating crew during a Sprint Car race in 2008. I’ve never seen anyone toss another guy’s headset before. It’s right up there with the Kyle Petty “Visor Slam.” By the way, the sandals and socks is a great look for you, Smoke.

by Vito Pugliese

7. Going off ... in a good way

In the midst of his improbable title run in 2011, Stewart reeled off five wins in the season’s final 10 races. The third came at Martinsville where, at the time, you had to go through either Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson to win – kind of like Clint Bowyer tried last spring. Tony’s exuberance after crossing the line cannot be contained. If you’re at work, earmuffs.

by Vito Pugliese

6. Rocket Scientist

Kurt Busch once got off a memorable blast to his spotter by calling him “Einstein.” Smoke follows that up to ESPN’s Mike Massaro after tearing up his primary car before the Daytona 500. I guess calling him Wernher Von Braun would have been more Dennis Miller … and a bit obscure.

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by Vito Pugliese

5. Badyear

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When the CoT was in its infancy, Goodyear was in the dog house. Following the Atlanta race in 2008, Stewart had some choice words for the tire supplier and its past punch-outs. Being an open wheel guy you can expect that he’s probably partial to Firestone and Hoosier. Looks like things have been patched up a bit since Goodyear now features the 14 car doing a burnout in its ads with the caption “Smoke Show.”

by Vito Pugliese

4. The Bristol Night Toss

One of the favorite and most enduring images of the 2012 season was this axe-handle chop delivery of his helmet at Matt Kenseth at Bristol. It’s not the first time these two have gotten together, and probably won’t be the last. If it’s going to perpetuate moments like these, let’s hope not.

by Vito Pugliese

3. I'm Just Really Curious What That Idiot is Thinking

David Gilliland rose to prominence in NASCAR after an improbable win in a Nationwide race with a small, practically unsponsored car at Kentucky in 2006. This led to a ride with Robert Yates Racing in the Cup Series, which in turn led him to turn down into Tony Stewart at Michigan on the frontstretch in a not-so-happy-hour incident that tore the front end off the Home Depot Chevrolet.

by Vito Pugliese

2. "I Owe Ya One Now, Buddy."

Tony Stewart was just in his second year in the series when he had this run-in with Jeff Gordon following contact on the first lap at Watkins Glen. Sift through the bleeps and bystanders(among them, a young Steve Letarte) and you’ll find some good one-liners from both Tony and Jeff. Particularly, Gordon’s, “Speed up and you won’t have that problem.”

by Vito Pugliese

1. The Talladega Incident

Probably the best interview of Tony Stewart’s career. Stewart’s deadpan response to his feelings following a Talladega race that saw 19 cars left on the lead lap — the rest damaged from earlier incidents or mechanical failure. His stream of conscious delivery reaches its zenith when he comes out with the chief way to fix the problems of pack racing with a peculiar reconfiguration of Talladega. Irony of ironies, it would be Stewart who eliminated three-fourths of the field a few months later by, of all things, blocking.

by Vito Pugliese