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Blown Tire Puts Daytona in Chaos for Stewart-Haas Racing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- It's pretty much the worse case scenario for the Stewart-Haas Racing debut.

Defending Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman's Chevrolet blew a tire in the final minutes of practice for Sunday's Daytona 500 and the wreck collected the car immediately behind him – his team owner, Tony Stewart.

"Don't get them (Goodyear) anywhere near me," said Stewart, who described his emotions as "ticked, not nice and not cordial" as his crew worked feverishly to prepare his car.

"It's frustrating because the gold and blue caused another deal. I'm so tired of talking about Goodyear. Apparently this is their marketing strategy to get publicity."

Both drivers will have to go to a back-up car for the biggest race of the year – for Newman, it's his third car of the week. Stewart had earned the fifth starting position for the 500 but now will have to join Newman in a back-up at the rear of the 43-car field.

Stewart returned to the track to get in a couple laps of practice, Newman's car wasn't ready.

"If it was a driver's mistake that's one thing," Stewart said, "but a manufacturer that's got the sole deal. ... they don't have any competition, they can't give us something to keep us from having problems like this?"

"I'm just amazed how much everybody kisses their butt right now."

This isn't hte first time Stewart has been disappointed with Goodyear. He's perhaps the garage's most vocal critic of NASCAR's sole tire supplier, and has often had good reason. Last year the tires were so dysfunctional at the series Indianapolis Motor Speedway race, officials had to throw caution flags every handful of laps for safety concerns.

Earlier Saturday, Goodyear recalled eight right side tires from eight Cup teams.

The force of the right rear tire failure yesterday essentially blew off the right rear side on Newman's No. 39 Chevy. The tire had less than a dozen laps of use.

"The car was handling well, everything was fine," Newman said. "It gave me about 100 yards of sign that it might do something.

"It's ridiculous the situation we have with these tires."

After examining the tire, Stu Grant, Goodyear's General Manager of Worldwide Racing, said the evidence clearly shows a puncture in the tire indicating that Newman's car ran over debris on the race track, versus a structural tire problem.

"The tire did no show excessive wear, it did not show any evidence of heat, blistering or abuse of any kind," Grant said. "What we did find was a clear puncture through the tread and both belts in one of the pieces we found."

Grant said he wasn't entirely surprised to hear Stewart's comments, especially in this situation.

"But we're focused on doing the best possible job we can at all levels of involvement in the sport," Grant said. "It can be frustrating for us to hear that criticism, but we also understand it's got to be extremely frustrating for him to experience what he did today.

"I do want to talk to Tony and I do plan to talk to Tony."


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