Kyle Larson may be one of the most heralded young drivers to hit NASCAR in some time, but three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart isn’t impressed after Larson blocked him on a restart last week at Michigan.
“He’ll learn it’s not a good idea, too,” said Stewart, who was caught wagging a finger out the window at Larson afterwards (Larson himself has said that Stewart flipped him off under caution).
“If he didn’t learn it last week, he’ll learn it in the next couple of weeks.”
Stewart believes that Larson’s move to block him directly impacted his performance in the second half of the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan.
After lining up ninth for the Lap 127 restart, Larson rose up to block him and knocked a hole in the nose of Stewart’s car. Stewart faded back to 21st following repairs on pit road during a Lap 147 caution, but rallied to finish 11th.
He thinks that Larson is in for a lesson on the matter, but that it’s up to him to decide if it will be a harsh one.
“I think he’ll learn, just like we all learned when we were rookies, one way or the other,” Stewart said today at Sonoma.
“He’ll either slow down enough and think about what he’s doing or he’ll be forced in a situation where he’ll have time to think about it [because] they’ll still be cars on the race track.”
Larson appeared to indicate that he believed he wasn’t in the wrong during a media lunch on Thursday.
“In sprint car racing, blocking is a little more, uh, normal, I guess?” Larson said according to USA Today’s Jeff Gluck. “I don’t know if he gets as angry in that as he does in stock cars when it comes to blocking.
“But I guess a guy like Tony Stewart probably respects you more if you don’t back down. So coming to a place like Sonoma, I’m sure we’ll be around each other and we’ll see what happens.
“I don’t feel like I’ve done anything dirty, so I’m not going to do anything to make the situation worse – and I hope he doesn’t. But I’m sure it’ll happen someday.”