TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET met with media and discussed bonus points leading into the Chase, the anxiety of making the Chase, daytime practice for a night race, and more. HOW WAS PRACTICE? "I don't know exactly if we...
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET met with media and discussed bonus points leading into the Chase, the anxiety of making the Chase, daytime practice for a night race, and more.
HOW WAS PRACTICE? "I don't know exactly if we are where we want to be exactly, but I think our times are decent. It's just a matter of what it's going to do at night and how that's going to affect the balance, but I think we're in the ballgame."
A LOT OF THESE GUYS WILL HAVE BONUS POINTS WHEN THEY GO INTO THE CHASE. DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT? "We're trying to figure out how we can kind of eliminate that. We have two weeks to get those points, so it's definitely the goal. But it doesn't seal the deal that we don't have a shot at it if we don't get any of those bonus points before; it just means we've got a little further to go. There is no way we're going to be even with those guys to start with. Best case scenario we're going to be 30 points behind. But that's our fault for not getting the bonus points. Those guys did their job and got their bonus points before the Chase started so we've just got to do what we can now."
HOW DO YOU THINK A WIN WILL BENEFIT YOU MOST, THE BONUS POINTS OR JUST THE MOMENTUM? "I'd say right now, the bonus points beat the momentum. It's one in the same in all reality. The bonus points would be really big if we could it in the next couple of weeks.
WITH THIS RACE MOVING INTO A NIGHT RACE GOING FORWARD, HAVE YOU HAD TO ALTER YOUR NOTES FOR THIS TRACK? "We've only done it once. All we can do is just go off of the race last year and how the balance changed a little bit but it's not like we've got 15 years of notes to go off of. We've got one race here at night to really off to figure out what we have to do."
YOU WERE ON THE CHASE BUBBLE IN '05, WHAT'S THAT LEVEL OF ANXIETY LIKE AND DO YOU CARRY IT AROUND WITH YOU ALL THE TIME? "It's the longest eight days these guys will have in their entire year is these next eight days. It's not a fun position to be in, for sure."
AND WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER BEING IN THAT POSITION GOING INTO THE NEXT EIGHT DAYS? "Honestly, it was just a matter of taking it a day at a time, but you'll run tomorrow night and whatever the scenario is, then you've got five or six days to sit there and worry about what you've got to do. That's probably the hardest part is waiting to get back to the race track to actually do it."
WITH 10 TOP TEN'S IN THE LAST 13 RACES, DOES THAT PUT YOU IN A PRETTY GOOD POSITION TO CONTEND FOR THE TITLE? "I'd like to believe so. Even the last two weekends in Bristol we were running second and we got crashed. We were running good there. So, we're going good and we're going good at different track disciplines and that's what you've got to do to be good at the end."
IS THERE ONE AREA WHERE YOU'RE LACKING? "I'm sure there is, but I'm not sure I know exactly what it is."
HOW DO THESE AFTERNOON PRACTICE SESSIONS HELP YOU? "This track has got a lot of bumps in it. It's still getting the ride quality that you're looking for. From day to night that doesn't change. If you can get it to go through the bumps in the day, it will go through the bumps at night too. It's just going to be a little big of a balance change though."
THERE IS A LITTLE MORE VALUE HERE THAN AT SOME OTHER TRACKS? "I think even at some of the other places we go, you're still working on balance. It's just how much does it change? There are a couple of tracks that from day to night really change a lot but then there are a lot of places that really don't. So, that's why you make those notes and every year you go back and review those."
-source: gm racing