Richmond, VA — Of all the countless NASCAR driver interviews the late Steve Byrnes did, none was more famous than the one at Auto Club Speedway in 2013, when Tony Stewart and Joey Logano clashed at the end of the race.
Stewart was furious with Logano and Byrnes had to ask him what happened between the two. At the conclusion of interviewing an obviously agitated Stewart, Byrnes said "thank you" to Stewart, who replied with a polite "thank you" of his own.
Why? Because Byrnes had the universal respect of the competitors, and Stewart was one of his biggest supporters.
Thursday at Richmond International Raceway, FOXSports.com caught up with Stewart for an exclusive interview, and one of the topics the three-time champion talked about was Byrnes.
"If the fans haven't figured out by now how much the competitors and the teams respected him, I think this week taught them what they didn't know," said Stewart of Byrnes. "He just was a guy that was well-respected by everybody. I think the reason that everybody respected him is because he showed a lot of respect for everybody he worked with."
In a pressure-packed environment at the track, Byrnes distinguished himself, Stewart said.
"There's times when the media has to ask tough questions and there are guys -- I think what we saw last week was what we keep trying to explain to the fans and why we snap at different people and different reporters," Stewart said. "Because if they all did it like Steve Byrnes did, we wouldn't be angry with people in the media quite so much. I mean, Byrnes could ask you the question and ask it in a way that was non-abrasive. And there are some guys out there that thrive on asking it in a TMZ atmosphere, or in a way that you know they're trying to twist you up on it.
"Steve needed the answer but he asked it in a way you at least felt comfortable giving to him. You didn't feel like you were trying to get backed in a corner. That's why I respected him so much. I knew he had to ask tough questions, but he did it in a way that didn't make you feel uncomfortable and didn't feel like somebody was trying to push you back."
http://www.foxsports.com/nascar/story/t ... code=2v4io
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