TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Bristol and other topics. TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR FIRST PRACTICE WENT AND YOUR OUTLOOK FOR BRISTOL SATURDAY NIGHT:...
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Bristol and other topics.
TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR FIRST PRACTICE WENT AND YOUR OUTLOOK FOR BRISTOL SATURDAY NIGHT: "Definitely it was different than what we have seen in the past. It is kind of cool that we are seeing everybody use pretty much the whole race track already in practice. That is something you don't normally see until the race. It is kind of encouraging already that we know we are going to have a lot of guys clear up on the top of the track if practice is any indication of that. We still have a little bit of work to do and am glad we have another 45 minutes coming up and we'll see what we can do with it."
THERE HAVE BEEN SOME THINGS IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK ABOUT SOME POTENTIAL THINGS FOR SHR SPONSORSHIP WISE NEXT YEAR, CAN YOU TELL US WHERE YOU STAND ON IT: "When we have something to tell you, we'll tell you. I've always told you guys that, as soon as we have something to tell you about, we promise we won't leave you out of the loop."
HAS THIS TRACK CHANGED A LOT FROM WHEN YOU WERE HERE IN THE SPRING AND ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE A SETUP TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT YOU HAD THEN? "I think so. It's not because the track has changed as much as the tires change. Goodyear has brought a different tire here and I think a lot of us are kind of scrambling around trying to figure out what we had here in the Spring I don't think is what this tire likes. We're all kind of thrashing around trying to figure it out. Like I said, the one encouraging thing is that the guys are all over the race track now, so, it's not going to be a one groove race track for sure. I think we have got potential to see "old school" Bristol race with a lot of guys up on the top all night which I always thought was really cool here. Kind of excited to see what happens tonight in the Nationwide race, I think that will give us a good indication of what we are going to have tomorrow night. I think tomorrow night we will have a lot of cars on the top of the race track again."
SATURDAY NIGHT IS THE PLAN TO BE MORE OFFENSE OR DEFENSE DEPENDING UPON WHERE YOU ARE RUNNING IN THE RACE? "I think it depends on how our car handles to be honest. I think if we have a really good handling car and something that we feel like is really stable and solid, I think we will be more offense. But, we are not in a bad position in the point standings right now, but, we don't need a disaster so we don't need to put ourself in any bad positions on a night that we really don't have a lot to gain by it. If we feel like we have a shot to win the race, you are going to take chances. If you know for sure that you're not going to have a shot at winning it, then you are going to be a little more careful and make sure that you give yourself that little bit of a cushion going into Richmond, hopefully."
STEWART CONTINUED: HOW MUCH DIFFERENT DOES THIS PLACE DRIVE THAN IT DID A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO BECAUSE YOU ARE A GUY THAT TRADITIONALLY RUNS THE BOTTOM OF THE RACE TRACK AND NOW IT SEEMS LIKE THE TOP GROVE IS THE FAST WAY AROUND? "I think it is just like any of the other places we go to now, as time goes on the bottom is starting to get worn out and the top is actually a little bit smoother even than the bottom is. It is just a matter of getting it cut in to where we finally get that rubber up there. It just seems like it is changing. I've always run good on the bottom but I'm not opposed to running the top either. I like running the top of race tracks. It is a matter of getting your car balance to get up there and do that. That is what we are trying to figure out right now."
JEFF GORDON SAID IT WOULDN'T BOTHER HIM TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP IF HE DIDN'T WIN A RACE, IS IT MADE A BIGGER DEAL OF RIGHT NOW BECAUSE 10 POINTS IN THE LARGER SCHEME OF THINGS ISN'T VERY MUCH SO WOULD IT BOTHER YOU TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP WITHOUT A WIN? "Not in the least bit. I'll take the check. I'll take the trophy. I don't care if I didn't finish in the top-10 the last 10 weeks if I got enough points to win the championship, I don't care where I finish as long as I get more than the rest of them do."
IS THE BONUS POINTS OVERSTATED RIGHT NOW? "I don't think anybody really cares if they win a race to win the championship. I don't think that is what it is about. We all know what the format it. We all know what we have to do to accomplish that goal. It doesn't matter how you get there, it is accomplishing the goal. The journey getting there doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if you go through rain, sleet, snow, hail; all you care about is that you get there at the end of the day."
FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE AS A CAR OWNER IN THESE ECONOMIC TIMES, IS IT TOUGHER FOR A YOUNG GUY TO GET A SHOT IN EITHER NATIONWIDE OR CUP SIMPLY BECAUSE SPONSORS MAY WANT A VETERAN IN THE CAR? "I think it is going back to the way it used to be. I think there was a wave there of car owners hiring drivers for extremely cheap retainer fees to give them a shot and try to find the next great thing. But, I think it is back to guys have to earn their way and prove themselves in the Nationwide Series before they get their opportunities in Cup. I think that is the direction it is probably going to go."
ANY REACTION TO THE RYAN NEWMAN/JOEY LOGANO DUST-UP? "No, I was in the shower. I didn't pay attention to it and there wasn't anything to worry about going to the NASCAR trailer, nobody got called there so obviously it wasn't a big deal."
-source: gm racing