Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Monte Carlo SS met with media to discuss practice, last year's Kansas race, and how drivers race the Chase contenders. HOW WAS PRACTICE: "I'll take that. It was better than we were in practice. I got a...
Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Monte Carlo SS met with media to discuss practice, last year's Kansas race, and how drivers race the Chase contenders.
HOW WAS PRACTICE: "I'll take that. It was better than we were in practice. I got a little loose off of (turn) four and had to get out of the gas and back in it. We were better than what we showed (in practice). We're all right, I think. We'll be better tomorrow. I think we got a direction in practice on what we need to do and how we're going to get there. Hey, the money's paid on Sunday."
IS IT FAIR TO SAY THAT YOU WON THIS RACE LAST YEAR BECAUSE YOU WEREN'T IN THE CHASE THEN? "Absolutely; most definitely. We wouldn't have been able to take the gamble that we took last year if we were running for points. The risk versus reward wouldn't have been an equal value. In a situation like that where if it pays off; we gain six spots. If it doesn't pay off, we lose 35 spots. But for us it was about winning the races, not having to worry about the points. But right now, every point and every position counts."
NOW THAT YOU'RE IN THE CHASE, IS THAT SOMETHING YOU KEEP IN THE BACK OF YOUR MIND THAT SOME OF THESE GUYS HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE AND YOU'RE IN REVERSE STRATEGY? "Well, at the end of each day, you've got to keep in mind who you're racing. There are 42 other guys on the race track but there are only 11 that matter as far as what goes on at the end of the year. Every position still matters, even if they're not a Chase contender.
"But it's a situation that you've got to think about. Everything that you do, you have to think about what the risk is and what the reward is if you make it or the penalty if you don't make it. So, you have to look at both sides of the coin."
ON PROTOCOL DURING THE RACE, ARE YOU KEEPING TRACK OF WHO IS BEHIND YOU AND WHETHER HE'S A CHASE CONTENDER? "I think we're seeing different ways from different competitors. There is nothing that says they have to do anything, but if that's what makes this level of the sport really neat and unique is that guys actually do pay attention. Guys understand what is at stake and they're still out there racing too. Nobody's asking them to not race. But at the same time they're racing but their giving the guys in the Chase some extra room to make sure that they don't ruin somebody's opportunity to have a shot."
DO YOU EXPECT THAT EXTRA ROOM? "No, you don't at all. Like I said, they've got a race to run too. And they still have point standings they're still running for. That's why I say it's unique. It's nice to be in a series that the guys take that upon themselves to do. It's not something that's expected."
HOW IS YOUR CAR TODAY? "We're all right. I think we'll be better tomorrow. I think we got a direction in practice of what we need to do and how we're going to get there. But we've still got some work to do."
-credit: gm racing