TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and discussed NASCAR, racing at Indianapolis and other topics. DO YOU HAVE ANY REACTION TO THE CARL EDWARDS AND BRAD ...
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and discussed NASCAR, racing at Indianapolis and other topics.
DO YOU HAVE ANY REACTION TO THE CARL EDWARDS AND BRAD KESELOWSKI SITUATION?: "No because I wasn't there and I don't have anything to do with it."
DOES THAT DEFINE THE LINE AS TO WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE?: "We'll all sort it out."
WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THE FAN INTEREST TO WEEK TO WEEK?: "I have to worry about driving a race car so that's what I'm focused on this weekend. I'm not focused on anything but being in my car and driving and doing the best job I can do."
HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT DAVID REUTIMANN WINNING AT CHICAGOLAND?: "I was happy for him a Chicago. It was a cool win and he's worked really hard. It's hard when you win your first race under controversy like he did at Charlotte last year. To just flat out win one like he did and to do it in dominating fashion like that was awesome. I'm really happy for him."
WHAT IS IT YOU LIKE ABOUT DAVID REUTIMANN?: "He's just a nice guy. He's got a great personality. He's just nice. He's got one of those personalities that makes you like him."
HOW HARD IS IT TO WIN MULTIPLE TIMES AT INDIANAPOLIS?: "It's tough just to win once here let alone multiple times. It's nice just getting that first one out of the way. The nerves of how do I win this race once you win it that first time settle down and lets you focus on how and you remember how you did it the first time. The scenarios never work out exactly the same twice, but at least the mindset and demeanor you have in the car is definitely on your side after you've won one here."
WHAT DID YOU DO ON YOUR OFF WEEKEND?: "I went winged sprint car racing last week six out of seven nights. I was in New York at three different tracks in New York Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. I was in Lima, Ohio on Wednesday and then Rossburg, Ohio Friday and Saturday night. That was resting to me, I enjoyed that. That was my rest."
HOW DO DRIVERS LIKE YOU AND MARK MARTIN APPROACH EACH WEEKEND WITH NO WINS YET THIS SEASON?: "You have to remember, we've all been doing this, Mark's (Martin) been doing this a lot longer than I have, but this is 30 years of racing. You take one weekend at a time and don't think about the numbers as to how long it's been. You just go with the same attitude you do every weekend and that's try to win the race. You go through the steps of trying to put yourself in that position to be there at the end of the day so you really don't focus on that, you focus on what you need to do to win the race you're at."
HOW MUCH MOMENTUM DOES WINNING THIS RACE GIVE YOU FOR THE RETS OF THE SEASON?: "This is a big event. This is probably, in my opinion, for me it's a different story, but I think it's the second biggest race on our schedule. It's the only place that we go to all year that we have separate media deals like this other than Daytona so it tells me it's pretty big. I think it definitely is a place that if you've won here, you definitely carry some momentum when you leave."
HOW HECTIC IS THE SCHEDULE FOR YOU AROUND INDIANAPOLIS?: "It's hard. I've had three autograph sessions, a Chamber appearance and a Chevy hospitality deal out there in the midway plus I had race cars that raced last night so I've already had a full week before I even get to where I'm with you guys today. It's a busy week for me."
HOW DIFFICULT WILL IT BE FOR JACQUES VILLENEUVE TO MAKE THIS RACE?: "It's tough for a guy that doesn't do it every week for sure because there's a lot of emphasis put on this race obviously. He's been a champion here so he knows how to get around this place it's just can he figure it out in a stock car?"
HAS THIS TRACK CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?: "I think so. Especially the last couple of years I think it's been a little bit different since the new car it's been hard to define that sweet spot. It just seems like the window of getting your car right is a lot smaller, but when you do, it's fun because you normally can get away from guys."
WILL THE SPOILER MAKE FOR MORE DRAFTING?: "Yeah, but it's not like we just put a spoiler on this week so if you go back and look at the races leading up to this, I think it will kind of tell you how the racing was before we got here."
HOW DO YOU APPROACH PASSING AT INDIANAPOLIS?: "You have to have patience, but at the same time you have to be ready to take full advantage of every opportunity that comes along because it is harder to pass here. You're not going to find cars two and three wide here very much. It's a track that you have to be patient and pick the right times. You have to be ready when opportunities present themselves."
IS THE BRICKYARD WINNER ALWAYS A CHASE CONTENDER?: "I think the cream rises to the top. There's no slouches that win at the Brickyard. It's always the cream rises to the top for this event and I think, like you guys already know, the history and the stats of it and that backs it up."
IS THIS A RACE THAT MEANS MORE TO YOU THAN ANY OTHER?: "Obviously."
ON COMPETITION IN SPRINT CUP: "The thing is you can't predict who is going to be good each week. This sport is more competitive than it's ever been as far as competition and organizations that are competitive. It's a cool time to be a driver in this series for sure."
WHAT EXTRA PRECAUTIONS DO YOU TAKE WITH THE HEAT?: "You see me drinking water and I'm not a water guy so to see me drinking water, you know that I'm conscious of that too. It's definitely warm here for sure."
ARE YOU ALWAYS HOT IN THE CAR?: "Yeah, there's no air conditioning in the cars so I can promise you that it will be hot."
HOW SLIM IS THE MARGIN OF ERROR IN THE SERIES AND AT INDIANAPOLIS?: "You can make mistakes, but it's just a matter of when they happen. If you make a mistake early or after a caution and you're packed up then you can lose a lot of spots in a short amount of time. If you get separated and you make a mistake then it may not cost you anything, just a little track position. A lot of it is opportunity here and when things happen as far as how you get breaks that go your way or against you."
WHY ARE YOU SO GOOD AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY?: "We just seem to be really good at Kansas. We've been good at Chicago, we've been good at Kansas -- it's two tracks that we seem to get around well."
WHAT DID YOU WORRY ABOUT AT LAST YEAR'S KANSAS WIN?: "We had to worry about fuel just a little bit during the first one, but so did Kasey Kahne who ran second to us so that added another element to the strategy of the win that we don't normally have."
HOW DO YOU RUN THE FUEL MILEAGE AT INDIANAPOLIS?: "It's a two-and-a-half mile track so it's not like a half-mile track where you have five laps to get around if you have a problem with fuel, you're trying to stretch it here and there's times that you can get away from each other and if you were to actually take it easy on your fuel then you can sacrifice some laps times sometimes to preserve some of the fuel that you have and save it for the end if you're trying to stretch it and save it. The laps are so long here that sometimes guys have to take that gamble and they know that when a caution comes out that they're right on the edge of whether they can make it or not make it. Some guys count on cautions to get them there and some guys try just to stretch it on mileage."
WHY IS IT HARD TO PASS HERE?: "It is harder to pass here. It's not because of the length, it's because the corners are only one groove. You have to be on the bottom. We don't have big, long sweeping corners that are high-banked and give you an opportunity to run multiple grooves here. It doesn't mean that you can't run two-wide and I've seen cars three-wide here, but you won't see it consistently here. You pretty much see everybody get sorted out pretty quickly."
DO YOU FEEL NASCAR'S LINE ON RACING HAS CHANGED?: "I don't feel like the line has changed since they started the season, I don't really believe it's changed any."
HOW ARE NASCAR'S ACTIONS AFFECTING YOU?: "I haven't been in a position where I have had to worry about it, luckily. It's nice to know that we don't have to worry about NASCAR putting their hand over top of our head. If somebody does something wrong, we take it into our own hands like it used to be done. I don't know why everybody, the frustrating part for me as a driver is that this is the way it was done 10 years ago and nobody in the media complained about it. Now all of the sudden the media is making such a big drama about it that now they're forcing NASCAR into their hands again and I don't want the media to dictate how we drive our race cars, but unfortunately that's what its coming down to and that's scaring me."
ON DRIVER'S SELF-POLICING THE SPORT: "It always was that way and then somebody writes an article about somebody crashing somebody and then in starts making NASCAR have to react because of the media and that's not the way this series should be. We shouldn't be dictating how we race off of the media's reactions to what happens on the race track. We've always handled it just fine. I'm not sure the situations this year have been the most ideal, but when NASCAR is taking that privilege away from us then everybody will get back in the swing of doing it right and it will self-police itself again."
CAN A DRIVER BACK INTO A WIN AT INDIANAPOLIS?: "It's just one of those facilities that you're not going to back into it and win it on track position, you have to have a good car here. This track always provided an avenue for the cream to rise to the top every time. You're just not going to have somebody that's going to back into a win here. Whoever wins it, it's not going to be a guy that stayed out and tried to get track position and win it with the way the track is shaped. You can't back into it here. You have to earn it."
DO YOU HAVE THE SAME EXCITEMENT WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT INDIANAPOLIS?: "Absolutely. I came in last night after the Silver Crown race at ORP and it was the same thing all over again. I think the day that I don't have that feeling when I come in the tunnel is probably the day that I probably should consider retiring. The good news is that it was pretty strong last night when I came in so I'm pretty sure I'm going to be here a while."
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST FACTOR TO WINNING THE BRICKYARD?: "Obviously with the laps being as long as they are, fuel mileage ends up being a factor and then depending on where cautions come out. If you miss it by a mile then you have another mile-and-a-half you have to figure out how to get back. That's normally the one thing that seems to be the biggest factor in this race."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN USE FROM INDIANAPOLIS AT POCONO?: "There used to be. It used to be that if you ran good at Pocono then you had a good shot at running good at Indy. I don't know if it's still correlated the last couple years with the new car. The thing about Indy is it's glass -- it's got a couple little bumps here and there, but you go to Pocono and it's rough and bumpy. The setups are quite a bit different now."
DO YOU EXPECT THE HEAT TO AFFECT THE TIRE WEAR?: "I don't think we'll have any tire problems here. The track rubbered in good. Once you get rubber in the race track then it really takes that out of the equation."
DO YOU EXPECT THE HEAT TO AFFECT THE RACE TRACK?: "Just lose a little grip. It's very temperature sensitive. We're all running at the same time. The only time it might be an issue is the draw for tomorrow morning's qualifying. You will definitely want an early draw tomorrow after the track sat without sunlight on it all night. It's definitely advantageous to get an early draw tomorrow with morning qualifying, but other than that it's the same conditions for everybody."
DO YOU ENJOY BEING HOME IN INDIANA?: "I've been to other places, I still have a place in North Carolina, but I still love being home when I get a chance. Columbus (Ind.), no matter how long I live, no matter if I buy a home somewhere else, Columbus is always going to be home to me."
DOES IT MEAN MORE TO WIN IN INDIANA?: "It always does. When you play at home, that's when you want to win the most. That's the way it is for us here."
ON CLEAN RACING IN OTHER SERIES?: "I was actually at ORP last night and saw the Midget and Silver Crown divisions and I thought that it was really close and clean racing last night. I've been to World of Outlaw races last week that I went to and haven't seen that. I definitely think it's something that is just right here and right now."
ON KENNY IRWIN'S SUCCESS IF HE WERE STILL ALIVE?: "If Kenny (Irwin) were still alive, he would have won at least one championship by now if not more. I got the honor and privilege of racing with him every week and he was tough. He was one of the best. He was one of the best that I've ever raced against and we lost him at the wrong time for sure. He's a guy that we never got to see. I got to see everything and got to see his full potential, but the NASCAR community never got to see his full potential."
DO YOU LIKE THE HEAT AT INDIANAPOLIS?: "I like it when it's hot here. I like it when it's hot at any track. It makes it rough inside the car, but it makes the handling more crucial and even somebody that has a good handling car is going to slide around a little bit. I like it when it does that here. It just seems like it makes it a little easier because it helps you pass. Somebody is going to make a mistake at some point that way versus when the track is cooler and has a lot of grip. When it's slick it leads to more opportunities for more guys to make mistakes and that's when if you have a good handling car you can take advantage of it."
-source: gm racing