Tony Stewart had plenty of classic interviews during his time as a full-time NASCAR driver. You’d have to imagine that it’d be hard for the three-time Cup Series champ to pick a favorite one, but he once called this post-race interview back in 2012 his “greatest of all time.”
After finishing 24th at the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega, Stewart gave a perfectly deadpan interview, lamenting the fact that there weren’t more wrecks during the race. Of course, if you know anything about Smoke, you know that he was 100% joking.
“I’m just sorry we couldn’t crash more cars today. We didn’t fill the quota for Talladega and NASCAR,” Stewart joked, adding, “If we haven’t crashed at least 50% of the field by the end of the race, we need to extend the race until we crash at least 50% of the cars. It’s not fair to these fans to not see any more wrecks than that, any more torn-up cars. I mean, we still had over half the cars running at the end, and it shouldn’t be that way.”
Any NASCAR fan will tell you that Stewart’s interviews were at their best, from an entertainment standpoint, when he was a little bit, or a lot a bit, pissed off. Considering that he finished 24th and Ryan Newman, his teammate at the time, finished 36th, Stewart was at his peak in terms of saltiness.
Now, several years following the Talladega interview, Stewart looked back fondly on the moment during a sit-down with USA Today.
“I had to look at it a couple times this week myself, just to remind myself how good of a job I did on that one,” said Stewart, ahead of what would be his final race at Talladega in 2016.
“It was the greatest of all time, I have to admit.”
This post was originally published on September 24, 2020.