Friday, June 14, 2013

Tony Stewart talks about his relationship with Jason Leffler

   Three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart has known and raced with Jason Leffler for years, from dirt tracks to NASCAR. Stewart on Friday talked about his relationship with Leffler, who died in a racing accident on Wednesday night.

   "Yeah, I have known Jason for a long time obviously. We grew up racing together and followed the same paths racing-wise. So I mean he was a friend, he was a roommate, he was a teammate and I got to be around him a lot. He loved nothing more than being behind the wheel of a race car," Stewart said.

   "I was just shocked to hear what had happened and obviously it’s just a reminder of how dangerous our sport is, but we have had a lot of safety innovations over the last 15 years since I have been in Cup. It’s just proof that we will never get to the stage where everybody is immune to getting hurt in a race car. That is just the scenario that we are in and there isn’t anybody that gets behind the wheel that doesn’t understand that going into it, and Jason was that way as well. He just loved doing what he was doing and it was just a rough week there and obviously Charlie (Leffler's son) is the one that we are all thinking about the most right now."

   Asked what stood out most about Leffler, Stewart said:
   “We got to hang out a lot away from the race track as well as at the track. When he moved from California to Indiana to start racing USAC fulltime, he moved in with me and lived with us for a little under a year and I got to see a lot of things and he was just a lot of fun," he said. 

   "He was a racer and didn’t care what he raced, where he raced, when he raced, it was all he wanted to do was to drive a race car. It was fun to have a roommate like that who had the same passion and desire that I had."

Rick Hendrick responds to Brad Keselowski's accusations of employee poaching

   Reigning Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski told a group of reporters Thursday night in Dearborn, Mich., that the reason Penske Racing and Roush Fenway racing have been slow to share information on their Ford cars is due to the fact Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing have made a habit of hiring employees away from their organization to "steal information."
   The charge didn't sit well with Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick.
   "Roger Penske and I are great friends and have raced together for years. We’ve always competed with the utmost respect, and I have immense admiration for his organization. You won’t find anyone at Hendrick Motorsports who feels differently," he said.
   "The comments Brad reportedly made were misinformed. The truth is that we hired one tire changer, who was a backup for Penske and whose contract was up. We also brought over one mechanic from their Nationwide program and, when the Penske engine shop was closing, added a few of those people. What Brad left out was that his organization also hired one of our tire changers.
   “All of this was aboveboard and is part of doing business in a competitive environment. I take no issue with any of it, and I expect Roger would say the same.
   "Brad misrepresents the facts and spends a lot of time making insinuations and accusations about other teams when he should be focused on his own program and competing at a high level. I hope he figures that out and begins representing himself and the sport with more class.”