Stewart Not Impressed with Earnhardt Win

Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart finished second at Michigan, 5.393 seconds behind Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tony Stewart wasn’t among those applauding Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win Sunday at Michigan International Speedway as he trailed him across the finish line in the Quicken Loans 400.

Stewart finished 5.393 seconds behind Earnhardt in the race and settled for the runner-up position.

But the defending series champion was not about to celebrate the fact that Earnhardt Jr. ended a 143-race winless drought with the checkered flag.

“No different to anybody else that does it,” Stewart said in the Michigan media center after the race. “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 now, so I don't know what we are all supposed to think.”

Stewart was also not a fan of the tire issues that developed at Michigan during the weekend or Goodyear’s decision to change the left side rubber on the eve of Sunday night’s race.

The Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevy struggled in Saturday’s final practice session, which made Stewart all the more proud of his team’s effort in race trim.

“We had a fast car all week until the happy hour session last night, and you know, we just couldn't get a hold of the racetrack,” said Stewart. “But I'm really proud of (crew chief) Steve Addington and our engineers. They did a great job overnight and we started the day pretty much toward the front and never really lost that track position all day. We had a pretty good car that we could pass with. It was hard to pass, but it wasn't impossible. I was really, really proud of our guys.”

Stewart was also complementary of the effort Goodyear put forth in Michigan and dealing with the tire situation that arose in the wake of the track’s new pavement generating record speeds.

While Stewart hasn’t always seen eye to eye with the tire manufacturer, most notably his scathing comments in Atlanta back in 2008, he said Goodyear deserved a great deal of credit for what transpired in Michigan.

“The one thing that I think we need to give 100 percent credit to is Goodyear for this weekend,” said Stewart. “I mean, what they had to do yesterday was a really hard decision -- or Friday night, I guess, it was a hard decision to make. It was for the betterment of all of us as drivers and teams and for the sport.

"So every one of us need to walk through the garage and stop at Goodyear and shake every one of their guy's hands, because there were a lot of guys that worked really hard yesterday just getting the tires inside the track. They had to load them in the back of pickup trucks because they didn't get here before qualifying started. They were trucking in tires, literally in the back of pickups to get them in, and there was a lot of Goodyear techs that were mounting and dismounting and balancing a lot of tires. Without those guys' effort, we would not have had the show that we had today.”

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