Saturday, September 29, 2007
NASCAR plans to review Stewart's latest incident
By Terry Blount
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- NASCAR officials plan to review an incident Saturday when Tony Stewart uttered an obscenity during the ESPN2 telecast of the Saturday morning Nextel Cup practice session at Kansas Speedway.
Stewart was talking to driver Robby Gordon before walking toward two ESPN camera operators. Stewart looked at one camera operator and said: "What? Get the [expletive] away from me."
Jennifer Powell, NASCAR's senior manager of broadcast communications, said NASCAR officials would review the videotape before making any decisions about a possible penalty for Stewart.
George McNeilly, senior director of communications for ESPN/ABC, said the broadcast team handled the situation properly.
"It was an unfortunate incident," McNeilly said. "Immediately after the words were spoken, Dr. Jerry Punch [lead announcer] apologized to the viewers on ESPN2. In our view, the photographer was doing his job."
McNeilly was asked why a tape-delay was not used on the telecast.
"We use a tape-delay system for two-way radio conversations, much the same way you would use a tape delay for a radio talk show with random callers," McNeilly said. "We don't feel the need to use a tape-delay system when working with professional athletes."
Stewart hasn't commented about the incident.
"This circumstance is unbelievably rare in our 28 years, given all the programming we do," said McNeilly.
Stewart has had several conduct-related problems this season. He was placed on probation by NASCAR in April for failing to fulfill his media obligations after the race at Phoenix.
Two days later in his radio show, Stewart questioned the integrity of NASCAR, implying that race officials sometimes throw phony debris cautions. He equated NASCAR to professional wrestling.
Stewart was called to the NASCAR hauler at Talladega, Ala. later that week. After that meeting, he apologized for his comments.
Stewart again found himself in trouble with NASCAR officials when he uttered an obscenity on television after winning the Allstate 400 on July 29. Stewart was fined $25,000 and docked 25 points for that incident.
Stewart ranks second in the Chase for the Championship, only two points behind Jeff Gordon.
Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.