Tony Stewart likes to play up the fact that he’s just a simple, loyal good old boy from Columbus, Ind.
“I still have the same friends I had growing up,” Stewart said Sunday.
He may have the same friends he had more than 30 years ago, but he won’t have the crew that helped him win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship when racing commences next year. After the No. 14 Office Depot-Mobile 1 Chevy won Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway to edge Carl Edwards on a tiebreaker for the title, crew chief Darian Grubb told reporters that he had been informed mid-Chase that he would be let go at the end of the season.
“It still is [baffling] to me, obviously,” Grubb said in the postrace news conference, according to NASCAR.com. “I’m not really sure what’s going to happen now. I was told early on in the Chase, before Charlotte, that I wasn’t going to be here next year.”
Stewart was in seventh place at that time, but he had won the first two races in the Chase. He won three more races under Grubb’s watch, eventually winning five of the 10 Chase races to win the most exciting postseason ever under the current format, and one of the most impressive runs to a championship in stock car history.
It’s unclear what more Stewart, the first driver/owner to win the championship since Alan Kulwicki in 1992, could have wanted from Grubb. Very little is ever clear with “Smoke,” though.
His response to a question in the postrace news conference was typical.
“I know what his status is for the rest of [Sunday] night,” Stewart said of Grubb in the news conference. “I’m going to get him drunk. There’s a lot of things in the offseason and a lot of decisions that have to be made. Obviously, we wanted to get through this championship first.”
Clearly, Stewart didn’t want to just “get through this championship first,” otherwise he wouldn’t have fired Grubb in the middle of the Chase.
In other words, thanks for all your assistance, Grubb. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.
Photo of the day
Grubb’s going to discover the unemployment line doesn’t move anywhere near as fast as these guys do.
Quote of the day
“Absolutely. We only play 16 regular-season games. We’re not like the NBA; we’re not like hockey. Each and every win is precious.”
— Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson on whether time could be running out for the underachieving 4-6 Bolts
Tweet of the day
Memo to Kevin Bieksa: When a guy plays 22 seasons in the NHL and goes out on top by winning a Stanley Cup in his final season, as Mark Recchi did, he’s gotten the last word. The argument is over. Recchi wins.
Video of the day
Now that Boise State is no longer undefeated, Idaho residents have a lot of free time on their hands.