Tony Stewart hits out at NASCAR chief Brian France

Tony Stewart hit out at NASCAR chairman Brian France's management style as he began his final Sprint Cup season

Tony Stewart hits out at NASCAR chief Brian France

Speaking at NASCAR's annual pre-season media event at Charlotte Motor Speedway, three-time Cup champion Stewart said drivers "never see Brian France" and do not feel he is hearing their concerns.

"I want to see him being more active than just showing up and patting the sponsors on the back and going up in the suite," Stewart told Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.

"I want to see him down there in the trenches with everybody and understanding what's truly going on. I think that's where he needs to be for a while."

France declined to participate in the new drivers' council meetings with NASCAR because he feels a more honest conversation would take place without him there.

"I would like for him to be there because the stuff I'm talking about, I want to know before I leave that room that he understands," Stewart said.

"I want to see he cares enough to be there, not sit there and get a report from somebody.

"I know Brian France cares. But I think there's a lot of things that get lost in translation between a driver going to talk to somebody in the [NASCAR office] trailer to the time it gets to him.

"Who knows what it sounds like by the time it gets up there, or if it even gets up there?

"He doesn't have to say anything. We just want to know that he's hearing what we're saying."

Stewart remains frustrated that he was criticised by France at Pocono last year for disagreeing with NASCAR's vice president of innovation and racing Gene Stefanyshyn over whether the series should run a low-downforce package or high drag.

"I sat there thinking, 'Wait a minute. You're standing up for a guy who's never worked on a racecar, never been on a race team and now is making decisions on what the rules package is going to be versus guys who have been driving a racecar for 20 or 30 years,'" Stewart said.

"You're telling us that guy is smarter than we all are? That's where Brian France and I disagree."

Stewart believes other drivers will not speak up against France.

"I don't care what the repercussions are," Stewart said.

"I'm saying it because I care. I'm not trying to pick a fight with him.

"Nobody wants to disrupt the apple cart; nobody wants to make Brian mad. But we're all in it together."

He also shrugged off his altercation with an abusive spectator at the Chili Bowl midget event last weekend.

"Everybody who was there knew what happened," he said.

"I'm not going to waste my time on a NASCAR media day talking about an event that happened a week ago.

"If you guys want to know about that, get your media credentials and go to the Chili Bowl next year - which you should be doing anyway."

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