As if qualifying 43rd wasn't bad enough, Tony Stewart's luck got a little bit worse this weekend. In happy hour, David Gilliand got into him and caused significant damage to Stewart's Home Depot Chevy. The accident happened when Gilliland headed for pit road at the end of a run and Stewart was pulling onto the track for the start of a run.
"He checks up at the end of the straightaway, and we run into him," Stewart said. "It's really, really easy to see it. They've got two different cameras views of it, and he never stuck his hand out of the window [to signal he was going into the pits]. It really screwed up a really good racecar for [Sunday]. It didn't need to happen. It shouldn't happen."
Stewart said Gilliland apologized for the wreck afterwards. But he also said he hoped NASCAR officials would reprimand Gilliland.
"It wasn't the apology I was looking for; it was the why did it happen? That's the part that worries me and scares me the most," he said. "Why did that happen? There wasn't any reason for it to happen. ... It's like we've talked about before: there is more to being a racecar driver than driving a racecar. You have to be able to race with 42 other guys. That's not drive with 42 other guys, but race with them. When you make mistakes like that, it doesn't make the other 42 other guys you're racing with very comfortable every time they see your car number."
When interviewed, the always outspoken and controversial Stewart didn't hold back.
"We went in the trailer and talked about it, and hopefully it will wake him up a little bit," Stewart said. "I want to be on this kid's side, but it's hard to be on his side when you see him on the track and you see the mistakes he makes week in and week out. That's not what you do at this level. That's why you have the Busch Series."
Crew members from all three Joe Gibbs Racing teams worked hard to attempt to repair Stewart's Chevy but the Nextel Cup garage closed before they could get much work in. They will be allowed to resume work on the car tomorrow before the start of the race.