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Thursday, May 10, 2012
Updated: May 11, 11:55 AM ET
Ryan Newman: What's so different?

By David Newton
ESPN.com

CONCORD, N.C. -- Ryan Newman doesn't see any difference between his 2010 comments about the racing at Talladega Superspeedway that resulted in him being fined and what Tony Stewart said on Sunday.

NASCAR has said Stewart will not be fined.

"I guess there's a difference when you hold a straight face versus when you don't hold a straight face," Newman said during a Thursday promotion for the upcoming Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "I'm not sure exactly how that all works.

"I get criticized for being blah and straight-faced and all that stuff. I didn't know that saved you money."

Stewart, in what the post-race transcript said was a tongue-in-cheek interview, went on for almost five minutes taking sarcastic shots at the racing at Talladega.

"We didn't quite crash half the field, which is what we normally look to do here," Stewart said after getting caught up in a late wreck to finish 24th. "I was excited about it. I thought it was a pretty good race. I made it further than I thought I would before I got crashed. I call it a successful day."

Stewart later said he was upset that "we didn't crash more cars."

"I feel like that is what we are here for," the three-time Cup champion continued. "I feel bad if I don't spend at least $150,000 in torn-up race cars going back to the shop. We definitely have to do a better job with that."

In 2010, Newman was secretly fined for saying, "If they want to have these races for the fans, just let us do this, but don't let it affect our championship because it's not racing. We should be here for the Talladega Event Marketing, or something like that."

Newman was more pointed on Thursday than his previous comments or anything said by Stewart, his team owner, when asked what could be done to allow cleaner racing at Talladega.

"Go to Barber Motorsports Park [in Birmingham] and have a third road-course race," Newman said. "Seriously. To me, that's the best option. You can take the banking out. We can go rental cars at 75 mph and make it a 100-mile race and put on a good show, but I don't know."

Newman and Stewart weren't the only ones critical of the racing. Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon and several others complained about overheating issues created by NASCAR trying to create pack, instead of tandem, racing.

"It's like Bristol," Newman said. "We're stuck in the whole dilemma of talking about racing versus crashing and guys getting punted out of the way. It's a tough dilemma. Not everybody wants to see crashing, but there's a good part of them that want to see that big crash. The Big One. I mean, the commentators play it up. They're told what to tell. There's no secret about that."

Stewart suggested in Sunday's post-race interview that Talladega should be made into "a figure eight."

"I mean, if we could make it a figure-eight it would be perfect," Stewart said. "It would be better than what we have. That is going to be my vote next week, that we make it a figure-eight and/or we can stop at the halfway, make a break and turn around and go backwards the rest of the way.

"Then with 10 to go we split the field in half and half go the regular direction and half of them go backwards."

NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Stewart's comments were not a violation of Section 12-4-A in the rulebook regarding what is detrimental to the sport, although the governing body obviously felt Newman's comments two years ago were.

"In NASCAR's opinion, these comments were made by a driver who clearly was not pleased with how his day finished," Tharp said of Stewart. "They were not disparaging given the context in which he delivered them, nor were they a direct shot at the sport."

Newman disagreed. He also did not say that Stewart should be fined.

"I just didn't see much difference in what he said versus what I said," Newman said. "I know NASCAR supposedly changed their ways a little bit. I just hope we can put on a better show for the fans so in the end there's more people in the grandstands."