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Stewart defends IndyCar from critics

Former IRL champion Tony Stewart has spoken out against criticism of IndyCar and its CEO Randy Bernard by 'back chair quarterbacks' and called for everyone to 'take a deep breath.'
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart has spoken out about the accident that claimed the life of Dan Wheldon last weekend at Las Vegas, and appealed for everyone to "take a deep breath and let the emotions settle down."

Stewart raced in the Indy Racing League in the 1990s and was crowned IRL champion in 1997 before his move to stock car racing, but he remains a fan of the open-wheel series to this day and hopes that the fatal accident won't mean the end of IndyCar races on ovals.

"I'm a big fan of IndyCar racing," he said. "I always have been and I always will. I prefer to watch them on the ovals verses the road courses. I've always been a fan of it ... When we're not racing we watch IndyCar races, if they're not racing they watch our races.

"Racing is racing and race fans are race fans. They want to see racing. It's stupidity to compare back and forth and make it into that situation."

Stewart was quick to defend the series, and its beleaguered CEO Randy Bernard who has taken immense criticism over the management of the series leading up to the ill-fated IZOD IndyCar Series World Championships.

"Randy Bernard has been getting beat up over it and he shouldn't," he said. "It's part of racing, its part of what can happen. Everybody is a back chair quarterback going no we should do this or shouldn't do that.

"I think everybody has got to take a deep breath and let the emotions settle down. Everybody is obviously thinking about Dan and his family, his wife and two children, there's a lot of great charity stuff coming up to help them out which we are really proud to be a part of."

Stewart is among drivers world wide to be contributing items to a charity auction to benefit Dan Wheldon's family. He himself will be donating his helmet from this weekend's Cup race at Talladega.

"I think everybody has to take a step back from it and realize this is auto racing" he continued. "It's racing; I mean it's always been racing. I mean auto racing as a whole is safer than it's ever been. It still boils down to the people that are steering the cars around. It's not that the cars are unsafe, there's still people that tell the cars where to go so we've got to take responsibility. There is no reason for anybody to point fault anywhere. There's no fault in it. It's racing.




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Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 13 in Concord, N.C. [Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR]
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, July 27, 2014 the Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gordon, who leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings, has won at the Brickyard a record 5 times, the first one in 1994. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday, July 27, 2014 of the Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gordon, who leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings, has won at the Brickyard a record 5 times, the first one in 1994. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, kisses the Brick after his win Sunday, July 27, 2014 of the Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gordon, who leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings, has won at the Brickyard a record 5 times, the first one in 1994. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, races the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, qualified sixth fastest Saturday, July 26, 2014 for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualified 2nd fastest Saturday, July 26, 2014 for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Next to him on the front row will be pole winner Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Tony Stewart presents Darrell Wallace Jr. , driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, with the trophy after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Cars race after a restart lead by Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet (L), Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Cartwheel by Target Chevrolet (R) during the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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