Tony Stewart on the team's performance at Daytona and what he expects at PIR

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Tony Stewart, No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Racing Chevrolet SS, met with the media and discussed the learning process for the new cars. He also spoke about his visit to the Daytona hospitals to check on the injured fans.

How is the new car handling? “So far, so good. We are just a little bit tight, balance-wise; but other than that it drives really good.”

Were you expecting what you felt? “I didn’t know what to expect. It’s a new car and I don’t know how anybody knows what to expect until you get out and run it. So, you guys (media) are going to have the same questions for the next four weeks and we’re still going to be learning for the next four weeks. So, give us about four or five more weeks and we’ll be able to give you a lot more answers than what we’ve got today, so far, on what it feels like.”

Last week was not the way you wanted to start the season. How do you go forward and bounce-back from it? “Easy. We’ve left there (Daytona) 43rd (in points) and won a championship in ’02. So, you just put it behind you and it’s no different than if you get in a wreck on any other week. You can’t change it. So, you’ve got to focus on what you can change and that’s the week ahead.”

On his hospital visit with the fans at Daytona? “It was good. It was a good visit.”

You are one of 13 on the list of drivers who have led at the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. What does that mean to you? “It’s pretty cool. To be honest, as a race car driver, it’s an honor to just be able to compete in both, let alone lead laps. So, the good thing is we’ve got you guys (media) to tell us the cool stats because we don’t know that stuff until you tell us. But, that’s a pretty cool honor to be in a group of 13 people.”

On Danica Patrick's performance at Daytona. “I thought she did a great job last week. She played a very, very smart race because it’s very easy to get over-anxious and want to do better than where you’re at; and cause yourself to have a worse day. And I thought she displayed a lot of patience and that’s really hard to do sometimes. So, I thought she did a great job.”

What is your favorite memory at Phoenix International Raceway? What is your least favorite memory at PIR? “My favorite memory is oh man; probably the first Copper Classic I ran. The worst memory was the first time they started changing it; and the very worst memory is the second time they changed this track. Every time they change it they keep screwing it up and making it worse. It was really good the way it was. It was a lot of fun back then.”

Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet and Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet and Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

How close are you with the car right now? How much work needs to be done? “I just answered that when you asked the first question about it. We don’t know. We’re in a learning process right now. We’ve got an hour and a half of practice. We’ve got a whole day tomorrow to get ready for the race. Every time we go on the track we’re going to keep learning right now. I just don’t honestly have an answer to that. We just don’t have a lot of time and we’re not going to have for four or five weeks. It’s going to take some time for us to learn these cars and you’re not going to learn it in an hour and a half. If anybody tells you they’ve got it all figured out after an hour and a half of practice, they’re lying to you. You can pretty much write down in stone for the next five weeks that people are going to be learning a lot going to different race tracks and trying to get a handle on what this car is actually going to be.”

You talk about not having enough time and yet Daytona seemed like a million practice sessions. “Well we had all the practice time we wanted at Daytona. Nobody wanted to use that. This is a little different deal here where you’re running by yourself. This is the first time that we’ve all had a new car, guys. We’re not reinventing the wheel. It’s the same thing that we did with we had the CoT car and the same thing that we’ve had every time a new manufacturer had a new body style. So we’re not totally starting from scratch or reinventing the wheel. You’re just going to have to have the time that you do have to learn and everybody has the same amount of time. So, it doesn’t really matter how much time you’ve got.”

Chevrolet

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP , NASCAR-NS
Article type Interview
Tags chevrolet, danica patrick, daytona, nascar-cup, nascar-ns, nascar nationwide, phoenix, ryan newman, sprint cup, stewart haas racing, tony stewart

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