- David Newton, ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter
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Video of Stewart's two-handed grab of DeLana Harvick's rear end on pit road before the Sept. 16 race at Chicagoland Speedway went viral on the Internet and appeared on major news outlets such as CNN's Headline News.
Stewart was amazed that a video of something he'd jokingly done for several years because of his close relationship with the Harvicks got that much attention.
"It's not like I just went up to some random person and did that," Stewart said on Tuesday after announcing Quicken Loans will double its sponsorship on Ryan Newman's car to 18 races in 2013. "Kevin and DeLana still laugh about it. The sad part is it got so much attention that they had to change their phone number twice. That's the disappointing part.
"After they changed it the first time, within 30 minutes, they got another call."
Stewart said the reaction for the most part was positive, but he received some negative attention from women's groups and fans that didn't understand he'd been goosing DeLana jokingly for good luck since he drove their Nationwide cars a few years ago.
That the Harvicks had to change their phone number twice because of it, the defending Cup champion said, is sad.
"That's the only frustrating part," he said. "Especially in a sport where everybody wants you to show your personal side, your fun side. Most everybody was really good about it. The few that weren't, it was pretty disappointing. It's another example of why drivers don't get out of their shells much."
A spokesperson for the Harvicks confirmed the phone number had to be changed twice, adding the Harvicks had no comment on the matter.
Sprint Cup driver Kevin Harvick had to change his home phone number twice due to harassing phone calls after Tony Stewart playfully goosed his wife before the Chase opener.