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And Another Thing

John Raoux | Associated Press
Danica Patrick prepares to climb into her car Wednesday before practice for Sunday's NASCAR Daytona 500 Sprint Cup series race.

Tony Stewart, being Tony Stewart

Aha. So there you are, Tony Stewart.

All this time we thought the brash, outspoken, I-don't-give-a-hoot Tony had vanished into the corporate haze, once he became a team owner and thus a corporate type himself. Frankly, it was more than a little dismaying, Stewart getting all proper and political on us.

But then came yesterday. And, glory hallelujah, the real Tony Stewart came flying out of hiding.

The trigger was one more question about Richard Petty trashing Stewart's driver, Danica Patrick, whom Petty says will never win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race because she's not really a race car driver, just a marketing tool.

Well, yesterday Stewart decided he'd had enough of that.

He said, fine, then let's have the two of them run a match race against each other. He'd supply the cars, Stewart said. Hell, he'd let 'em drive his own No. 14 if it came to that.

"I think that (a race) would pretty much settle it once and for all, maybe get him to shut up a little bit, too," Stewart said.

Then he said that Petty didn't really understand how much different the sport was than when he ran, another spot-on comment. When Petty ran, his equipment was almost always vastly better than his competition's. And a good chunk of his record 200 wins came on out-of-the-way little tracks against local yokels, because in those days those were points races in the old Grand National series.

But back to Stewart, who said he knows what Patrick should do if she were to win the hypothetical match race against the King.

"If I were her, I'd take (the checkered flag) over there and cram it up his (butt)," Stewart said.

Oh, snap!

And, oh yes: Nice to have you back, Smoke.

Ben Smith's blog.