Newman says NASCAR bears 'responsibility' for tire fiasco

PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- NASCAR's apology went only so far with driver Ryan Newman, who held the governing body responsible for the tire fiasco that ruined the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend.

"NASCAR has the ultimate responsibility," Newman said Wednesday, during a visit to Buffalo Bills training camp in suburban Rochester. "They are the Barnum and Bailey. They know what's going on in the center ring. And if they put a tiger out there that's going to bite somebody, then that's their responsibility."

He was careful to say he wasn't referring to NASCAR as being a circus in voicing his frustrations over a stop-and-go race in which the longest run under green was 13 laps. What troubled Newman, who is from Indiana, is that the problems occurred at Indianapolis.

"Let's just say, there's 100 years of automobile racing there. And I bet going back to 19-0-whatever they didn't have tire problems," Newman said.

The trouble was blamed on a durability issue involving the compound of the tires Goodyear selected not being strong enough when combined with NASCAR's current car.

NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton issued an apology Tuesday, saying: "I can't say how sorry we are and it's our responsibility being NASCAR that we don't go through this situation again."

Newman, however, said the apology was no consolation to fans.

"No, because you've got 250,000 people that spent time there, their money and took their families to see a great race. And all they saw was a 12-lap window max I think of racing," said this year's Daytona 500 champion, who finished 13th last weekend. "And that's not the way racing in NASCAR is supposed to be."

Newman did say "it was big" of NASCAR to apologize, but then criticized the governing body, Goodyear and track officials for failing to communicate.

Newman, who has been critical of NASCAR in the past regarding safety issues, noted that he watched Juan Pablo Montoya blow a tire that flew higher than the protective fence. "It's crazy," he said.

His visit to Rochester was part of a swing through the region to promote the Centurion Boats at the Glen race taking place at nearby Watkins Glen International on Aug. 10.