Stewart said he received some advice prior to Sunday's Tums 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway that he needed to stop being so pleasant to some of his competitors on the race track.
"I was reminded by Darian (Grubb, his crew chief) this morning, I was reminded by my spotter this morning, and I was reminded before the race by many crew members to not be so nice today, which I know sounds odd of me," Stewart said. "You know, this is a tough race. I think right at the end, a perfect example is having Jimmie (Johnson) there racing you, Jeff, Jeff Burton, the guys that we were around at the end of the day. You race these guys with respect and they're going to race you back with respect.
"Could Jimmie just hauled it off in the corner, blown the corner to try to take us down? Absolutely. He could have done that to anybody. He didn't do that to us. I think he knows we respect him and have that level of respect."
But Stewart wasn't pleased with many drivers Sunday. On Friday, he said the sport had become too political. Sunday it was a lack of respect that bothered him.
"NASCAR is going to have to at some point make these drivers be responsible for their actions amongst each other and not baby sit and not protect these guys. Let them get their butt kicked. That's what used to happen in the old days. You didn't have guys dumping each other and taking cheap shots like that," he said.
"I used to be as guilty of it and bad as anybody about taking a cheap shot at guys early. But you realize that it's not about the two guys driving the cars out there as much as it's there's a bunch of guys that go back to the shop. There's a car owner that spends a lot of money. There's a bunch of crew guys that spend a lot of hours and put a lot of heart and soul into what we have as a product each week with these race cars. I think at times we all forget about that.
"You let a guy get his butt kicked once or twice, he'll quit doing stupid stuff like that. I saw a bunch of it today out there. Luckily we weren't one of the guys that were in the middle of it a lot."