In a Q&A with The Virginian-Pilot, Stewart says NASCAR needs drivers with more relatable backgrounds and personalities.
"They’ve got to get drivers that have personality. It’s great having opportunities to drive cars, but shoot, they’re not even old enough to go to a bar, and they’re trying to make these 18-year-old kids heroes," Stewart said. "I’m still a race fan, too, and it’s hard for me to embrace somebody who’s just graduating high school and they’re driving a Cup car.
"What have they done to really, legitimately earn their opportunity?
"There are hundreds of thousands of race-car drivers across the country that have clawed and scratched their way at Saturday night short tracks and worked on their cars all their life to get where they are. Then you get kids with rich fathers and deep pockets that put them in race cars. … All the sudden, because they’re 18 years old, they think they deserve to be in a Cup car. I have a hard time with that. I think there are drivers out there with the experience and personality that makes race fans want to follow them. That’s what’s lacking in NASCAR."