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Stewart: Tires to blame for 2-car wreck

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Goodyear once again is under attack and once again it's coming from the tire manufacturer's harshest critic, two-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart.

Stewart and Ryan Newman crashed during Saturday's final practice before the Daytona 500 when a right-rear wheel blew on Newman's car with his Stewart-Haas teammate close behind.

Both were forced to backup cars -- Stewart in the No. 14 he piloted to a third-place finish in Saturday's Budweiser Shootout and the defending 500 champion in Stewart's backup Shootout car -- and they will have to start in the back of the field for the start of Sunday's "Great American Race."

Both drivers blamed Goodyear for supplying a right-rear tire not compatible for the car and conditions on the 2.5-mile track.

"I have a ton of confidence in these guys at Stewart-Haas Racing and a ton of confidence in my crew chief," Newman said. "I just don't have confidence in the tires right now. It's going to be tough starting the race from the back, from the back-back now."

For Newman, who also crashed in Thursday's 150-mile qualifying race, it is his third car since arriving in Daytona.

"It's just frustrating because the gold-and-blue down there are the cause of another deal," said Stewart, who has a long history of complaining about Goodyear. "I'm just so tired of talking about Goodyear it's ridiculous. I'm just over it."

Goodyear officials argued that the blowout was the result of a puncture, not from poor wear like the other tires that were among a dozen recalled Friday.

"Tony is a passionate race driver," said Stu Grant, Goodyear's general manager of worldwide racing. "Certainly he is frustrated and that's what you hear in his comments."

Stewart may have a tough time buying that, judging by his mood in the garage.

"I'm ticked right now," he said. "I'm not happy. I'm not cordial. I'm not nice. I'm not anything right now and I shouldn't be. If it was because two guys wrecked and a driver thing it'd be one thing.

"But a manufacturer that has the sole deal here, they don't have any competition and they can't give us something to keep us from having problems like this. So I don't know. I'm just amazed at how much everybody kisses their butts right now."

Stewart has been a longtime promoter of using multiple tire manufacturers, often promoting Hoosiers that he uses in other series. NASCAR has been emphatic that will not happen because it could create a competitive advantage if one manufacturer hits on a better combination.

"Same stuff that we always talk about every year is the failures that Goodyear has," Stewart said. "I think that's part of their marketing campaign. The more we talk about it, the more press they get. I think they forget that it's supposed to be in a good way, not a bad way."

Grant said he plans to talk to Stewart even though the new owner/driver of Stewart-Haas showed no desire to meet with him.

"Don't bring them anywhere near me," he said of Goodyear officials. "Don't bring them close. Don't let them come close. I don't want anything to do with them."

Grant reiterated the issue on Newman's car did not appear to be because of wear or have any connection with the tires that were recalled. He feels confident in the tire Goodyear brought, which is somewhat different from the one used last year when heat buildup was an issue.

"It came apart. I felt it come apart before it blew up," Newman said. "I was running 195 mph. There's nothing you can do. It exploded. A puncture in a tire doesn't lead to doing what it did. The rest is more than obvious."

Stewart, who was slated to start fifth in the 500 with Newman 36th, wasn't convinced by Grant's claim.

"We got lucky because we have an extra car for the Shootout, so [Newman's team has] got a car and it may work out to his advantage having a good handling car and a car that's got a little more downforce," Stewart said. "It may not lead the pack well, but it may be a car that drives really, really well in the race for him."

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.