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Sprint Cup notebook

Stewart keeps heat on Goodyear

HAMPTON, Ga. — Toyota got its first Sprint Cup victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but much postrace talk was about another company — Goodyear.

Tony Stewart, who blasted Goodyear after a blown tire caused him to crash last week in Las Vegas, was even more critical after Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500. He wasn't alone.

And he finished second.

"That was the most pathetic racing tire I've ever been on in my professional career," Stewart said.

"(Goodyear) exited out of Formula 1, IRL, CART, World of Outlaws, and there is a reason for that. Goodyear can't build a tire that is worth a (darn). … If they can't do anything better than that, they should just pull out of this sport and save us a bunch of headaches."

Goodyear is the sole supplier for NASCAR's top three series.

"We do the best job that we can with the data set that we have, and we bring the safest tires we know how to build," Justin Fantozzi, marketing manager for Goodyear motor­sports, said in response to postrace criticism.

He declined to respond directly to Stewart's comments.

The tires used Sunday were not the ones teams tested with in Atlanta in October. Fantozzi said concerns led to another tire test at the track in December.

Third-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. said that didn't matter.

"No amount of time would have prepared us for that," he said. "… Goodyear doesn't like to hear drivers bash them and I don't like to do it. But I am not going to just sit here and take this."

OPEN-WHEEL UPDATE: Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish, the past two Indianapolis 500 champions, are a long way from winning anything in a stock car.

Franchitti was 33rd Sunday and is 38th in points through four races. Hornish is 36th in the standings after finishing 25th.

Both are in danger of being out of the top 35 cutoff for automatic qualification, which takes affect after next week's race at Bristol. They have had assured spots in the first five races this season because of owner points carried over from 2007.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Stewart keeps heat on Goodyear 03/09/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:34am]
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