TONY STEWART finished third and clinched his first IROC championship (Representing NASCAR NEXTEL CUP): "Four races (in an IROC season), you can't have many mistakes. It's always a huge honor just to run in the IROC series. When you get the...
TONY STEWART finished third and clinched his first IROC championship (Representing NASCAR NEXTEL CUP):
"Four races (in an IROC season), you can't have many mistakes. It's always a huge honor just to run in the IROC series. When you get the invite you know you did something good the year before. Standing up there today, it really hit me to see all the past champions' names, Al Unser, etc. To be on a trophy with that list of great names is something I'm very, very proud of."
(Did you just sit and watch the action?) "I probably had the best view of the race the whole day. I was really good on the bottom of the track but once I moved to the top of the track I gained grip again. About 10 laps from the break, I realized we were so good on the top. After the break, I knew my strategy was just to stay on the top where I could keep momentum up."
(Does an IROC championship put you in a different caliber?) "It's not one of those where if you don't get it you've never made it, but it's a neat accomplishment to go against all those other champions puts it a step above even. It's a neat series. Anytime you can go out with that talent and then be the champion of the champions is something that's pretty special. (On what he'll do with the $1 million purse) I will gladly give that million dollars back to Jay (Signore) to get the dirt track fans to see these cars one time."
Stewart's Victory Lane quotes: "It's just such a great honor to even be invited to this series, let alone to win it; it's awesome. Crown Royal's done such a good job this year, and their 'Drink Responsibly, Be a Champion' campaign is really huge. I'm really proud of them for their proactive leadership. I told (Jay and Barb) Signore I'm more than willing to give the check back just bring these cars to Eldora; we'll show them what a dirt race is all about. Hopefully we'll get something worked out. I'm not going to cash it, I'm just going to sit there and wait."
(On this being the sixth different title he's won) "With the way our Cup season turned out and not being able to run for a championship, it's nice to be here and finish this one off. To know that my heroes - Mark Martin, AJ Foyt - have won this and all the other champions that have won this title, it's awesome to have this honor. Now is when it really hit me, what we've done. It's not a championship where you're racing 42 other guys every week, but when you're racing 12 other champions from other series - there's a reason they've won their championships - to be the guy that wins this four-race series, it's incredible."
(On the 4-wide racing) "I was actually fifth and I just decided I'm going to the outside and was poised and ready to go just in case I needed to go left. But with the guys all wide like that, the guys on the outside were probably going to get the run. I was playing defense really, trying not to get into any situations that were going to cause us to have any problems. I just needed to do what we did today and stay out of trouble and keep Matt (Kenseth) in sight. At the end there I thought we had a shot of running for it, they got a little wild and crazy up there. I was ready to go for it if we had a chance at the end, but (it was) one of those days where 3rd was better than trying to run for the thing.
MARTIN TRUEX JR. won his second consecutive IROC race at Atlanta (NASCAR BUSCH):
"It was just a lot of fun. Last year I was able to get out front, I think right after the competition yellow. Today was completely different. I didn't know until he crossed the finish line that I had won. It was one of the better races I've been a part of."
(On 4-wide racing) "There were a couple of guys -- Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman -- they were all kind of beating and banging. It looked like Mark was a little upset and tried to shove Ryan down, and I just kind of snuck in the middle. These cars don't have any horsepower, so if you get a run, you've got to go. You can't wait, because you don't know if you're going to get another chance."
(Was it fun?) "It's a lot of fun; you can go out there and let it all hang out. All of us are always kind of close to wrecking no matter what we're doing; we're all kind of crazy. I don't know if I'd want to do 500 miles of that."
MATT KENSETH finished second (NASCAR NEXTEL CUP):
"It was a just a normal IROC race it was crazy. All our cars were pretty much the same; we run wide open. It was fun. I kind of had a shot at it the last lap. I tried to give Mark a push and help him out, but I couldn't quite get to him. I was a little too tight."
(On the aggressive racing between Mark Martin and Ryan Newman) "Mark and Ryan were real mad at each other. I was kind of just letting them go and sitting back and watching it."
RYAN NEWMAN finished fourth (NASCAR NEXTEL CUP):
(On the bump drafting) "For the IROC cars it's par. It's just the way it is. I had a lot of fun; the guys did a good job."
(NASCAR drivers have an advantage?) "I think the NASCAR driver have a definite advantage. It's a great series, I'm glad to be part of it."
(On whether he and Mark Martin were angry at each other) "I wasn't; I was just racing hard. Seems like maybe he was a little upset, though."
TED MUSGRAVE finished fifth (NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK):
(On the bump drafting) "From my aspect of it, I just saw a bit of it. I was the giver of it and I was the recipient of it. There wasn't much bump drafting, the cars slid around so much. I kind of enjoyed today, top-five, I had a lot of fun today. At first I didn't think it was going to be very good, but as it went on it got better. There was no working together here today because you really couldn't draft, you had to do it by yourself. That's why I liked it. This race track will let you run three wide and that's really cool; that's the way it should be. That's racing here."
MARK MARTIN finished sixth (NASCAR NEXTEL CUP):
(On what happened with Ryan Newman) "I don't know; I'd have to watch it. I don't know what happened. Ryan said he was three-wide and someone was inside of him. All I know is it wasn't very roomy out there on the outside."
FRANK KIMMEL finished seventh (ARCA RE/MAX):
"It was a lot of fun, exciting. I had a better car than seventh but I got in the wall there. Matt was pushing me, I was trying to get to the outside of Tony and we just ran out of room there. I learned a lot; these guys are really tough. It was fun racing. I always love racing in Atlanta. It's a fast place. You spin here, slide through the grass and don't tear your car up; you're having a pretty good day."
MAX PAPIS finished eighth (ROAD RACING/OPEN WHEEL):
"I needed to be up front, to be aggressive in the race car. But the race car started pushing and shoving. I found myself fourth or fifth. I went out of turn 4, Frank Kimmel went wide, I went to the inside and someone tapped me in the back and I used all the lock on one direction and all the lock on the other direction. I felt like Steve Kinser. I need to thank everyone here, it was a great experience. I didn't get to Victory Lane, but I hope people know that I can drive one of these cars."
SAM HORNISH JR. finished ninth (INDYCAR):
"This day has been pretty big for us. We've obviously pushed a lot into getting the announcement that we are going to do a couple Busch races next year. I got to run the IROC race. It's been a big day. I wish we could have gotten a little bit better run today."
STEVE KINSER finished 10th (WORLD OF OUTLAWS):
"We just started off running pavement laps. We got a little better right there at the end as the race went on. Just need to run this pavement more than what I do. These are the type of tracks you've got to have a lot of experience on. This one here's not too bad, but it's hard to do when you do it four times a year."
(On whether the NASCAR drivers have an advantage) "I'm sure they do; they do this every day. It'd be like sticking one of them in my sprint car and telling them to outrun me. It's not going to happen."
WAYNE TAYLOR finished 11th (GRAND AM ROAD RACING):
"Well it was a great honor to be in the series, to be chosen after winning the championship. These guys do a great job. I did what I could but just didn't seem to have the speed. Congrats to Tony for winning. I really enjoyed it; I'd love to do it again. They just drove past me. It wasn't missing but it was going like this "owaaah, owaah".