Daytona II: Stewart - Friday media visit

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BURGER KING CHEVROLET met with media and discussed the paint scheme for this race, his expectations for Saturday's race, the back-up car, and more. TONY TELL US ABOUT YOUR UNIQUE CAR PAINT SCHEME THIS WEEKEND AND BEING ...

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BURGER KING CHEVROLET met with media and discussed the paint scheme for this race, his expectations for Saturday's race, the back-up car, and more.

TONY TELL US ABOUT YOUR UNIQUE CAR PAINT SCHEME THIS WEEKEND AND BEING AT DAYTONA "We have 48,000 signatures on the hood this week in the Burger King logo which is pretty cool and they got 25,000 people who registered online within the first 48 hours so it's a pretty cool promotion and the hood is actually going on Ebay with the 48,000 plus signatures plus my signature so it's pretty cool and obviously this is a weekend that was big to Burger King last year and its big for us this year to have them back on board and hopefully we will have similar results but really excited about it and really excited to get the race fans involved and have them on the hood and let them ride along with us."

GIVEN THE SPOILER BROUGHT RECORD LEAD CHANGES AT TALLADEGA LAST TIME, WHAT MIGHT THE SPOILER BRING TO THIS RACE AND HOW SIMILAR OR HOW DIFFERENT MIGHT IT BE? DOES THE SPOILER MAKE THIS A DIFFERENT RACE THAN THE ONE YOU WON LAST YEAR? "I think the grip level is what makes it different. When you compare Daytona to Talladega, you are really comparing apples to oranges. At Talladega handling is not an issue at all. I mean everybody's cars drive really well and that is the situation six or seven months from now we will be in. As far as tomorrow night is concerned this track is still now very much a handling track and I am not sure the spoiler versus the wing is not going to make much of a difference as far as the racing is.

'The laps that you saw guys run yesterday versus what we did at Talladega....you are watching guys that are working on the handling of the car versus just trying to make their car suck up so this race is very, very different. Its polar opposite from what you get at Talladega even though the tracks are similar in size and it's a restrictor plate race, it two races that race total opposite from each other."

ARE THE ACCIDENTS FROM PRACTICE YESTERDAY ANY INDICATION OF WHAT TOMORROW NIGHT IS GOING TO BE LIKE? "Unfortunately that is just a product of restrictor plate racing the fact that you race that close but yes, that easily could happen. I think the reason that you see it in practice though too is because that is where you learn what you can and can't do in practice sessions. Everything that happened yesterday was mistakes but a lot of times the reason you see so much of it in practice is that guys cars are not handling the way that they would like and somebody that may have a good handling car behind them doesn't realize that and so that kind of gets us in predicaments in practice so hopefully by the race we will have it all sorted out. It could be that way but it also could go 400 straight miles and not have a problem. It's hard to predict it so as long as you are running 190 mph two and three inches from each other that's always a possibility it could happen."

REGARDING THE REPAIRS TO THE TRACK MADE OVERNIGHT, DID YOU NOTICE ANYTHING ON THE TRACK AND DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS FOR THE RACE? "I really didn't notice anything yesterday and I found out about an hour ago that they had to do another patch. The sports cars ran across it this morning and didn't have any problems so I guess there is not really a reason to be concerned about it because it's going to work out fine or its going to come apart...one of those two things. The big patch that they put down is working out really well so I can't say I really have a big concern about it.

"If it comes apart they will do what they need to do to fix it. I was told that there is already paving equipment on the backstretch getting ready to get to work on the track after this race is over so the good news is that we will get through this weekend and it looks like the track staff is on top of it right now as far as looking at it and making sure if they see something might be a problem, they will be able to address it right away. So I think it will be fine."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT PARTICIPATING WITH YOUR SPONSOR THE US ARMY ON A MENTAL STRENGTHENING PROGRAM? "Well, look at me; I've got a lot of room for improvement in that category (LAUGHS). I'm probably the best test they could have for that. But, it is cool! It is nice to have a partner like the US Army and be able to utilize some of the technology that they have. And you think about our sport, it's not just myself, but it is Darian Grubb on the pit box, it is our crew guys. The pit stops now are so competitive that a tenth of a second here and there could be the difference losing one or two spots or gaining one or two spots on a pit stop. To think about having those kinds of resources available to you, it is a pretty cool feeling."

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN GETTING A PIECE OF THE OLD DAYTONA ASPHALT JUST AS A SOUVENIR OR MEMENTO? "Yes, actually I would be. I would love to get a piece of the start/finish line if at all possible. We've won 14 races, I think, here now. It has been the first guy to get to it. But, yes, if I could get a piece of the start/finish line, it would be awesome. That is a keepsake that not too many people might have the opportunity to get. I would say the track is probably already on top of that and already selling sections of it, if they are smart. It will help offset some of the astronomical cost it is going to be to re-pave this place. It would be need to have a piece of the start/finish line like that but it would also be neat to see them take the time to cut up sections and sell it to the fans because I know a lot of fans would like to have that opportunity to have that also. There is going to be plenty of it available. It would be pretty cool to have that opportunity. I may have to sneak out there Saturday after the race and go out there with a hammer and chisel to get my own section just in case I don't get anything (LAUGHS)."

CAN YOU GIVE US A RECOLLECTION OF HOW THE LAST LAPS OF THE RACE WENT DOWN WITH YOU AND KYLE (BUSCH) LAST YEAR? "I don't remember the whole last lap. I just remember coming off of four and we got a run on him. I remember he went to the inside to block us and we just kind of stayed to the outside and let the momentum carry. When he realized we were to the right, he went to block to the right and we were already there and it spun him across the nose. I would rather not have quite that dramatic of a finish from the standpoint of his side of it, more than ours. I would like our side to be about the same, but I don't want to see a big wreck afterwards because of it. It was definitely cool. It would have been interesting to see whether we were actually going to get all the way by him or if we were going to fall short if it went all the way to the line. But because of him driving across the nose, if definitely sealed the deal for us."

CAN YOU POINT TO ANY ONE THING THAT HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST FEW WEEKS THAT HAS AFFECTED YOUR INCREASED PERFORMANCE? "I think it is just the work that everybody has been doing. You know it is kind of weird how last year we started off the season really well, literally the first half of the year was right on pace with what we were looking for then four or five weeks before the Chase started, we started falling off and then really we were struggling during the Chase. It was kind of frustrating from that standpoint and we couldn't really put our finger on what we were doing different and what we were doing wrong that was causing us to not have that kind of performance. It seems like this year we got a slow start to the year and it seems like we are picking it up so hopefully we're having the polar opposite of what we had last year, we are going to start slow and finish strong this year. I just think it is due to everybody's work at the shop and there is one thing about our guys-they just don't quit. They don't give up. They are all racers whether they've come from...we've got a lot of guys that have come from sprint car racing or modified racing or pavement late models across the country. It is neat to have a shop full of what I call true racers. People that race because they love racing and we're all lucky that we get paid to do it. That is just the mentality of good racers. If things get tough, they don't give up. They sit there and sort it out and try to figure out what it is they have to do to make it better and that is what our guys have done I feel like. They keep digging in. Keep trying and I think the results the last couple of weeks have shown that."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT STARTING THE RACE WITH JUST TWO LAPS ON THE CAR? "The good news is that the car, the backup car, is actually the car I won the race with last year, so it is not a brand new car. Obviously we haven't run it this weekend so we will have to...the challenge with it is figuring out the ride heights and making sure the thing is going to travel the same as the other car. I'm confident in that car. Obviously, it was a good car last year and handled well. I'm not really too scared from that aspect of it of running the backup car. The biggest thing is starting the race, whether it is traveling enough or not traveling enough in the front-end, that is going to be really critical and it's very feasible the first or second stop of the race we might still be working on ride height and getting it exactly where we want it. As far as feeling comfortable with that car, I'm very confident that car will work."

-source: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Teams CIP