NEW HAMPSHIRE INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY September 16, 2005 TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: ON THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING A GOOD START TO THE CHASE: "Well, obviously you want to get off to a good start. But I don't...
NEW HAMPSHIRE INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
September 16, 2005
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING A GOOD START TO THE CHASE:
"Well, obviously you want to get off to a good start. But I don't think that you could say that if you have a mediocre first week, it's the end of your championship hopes by any means."
YOU WOULD KNOW. YOU GOT OFF TO A DISAPPOINTING START LAST TIME:
"Yeah, for us it was the end of it last year, but that was more because we really needed to have everything go right for us to be a contender. This year, we're in pretty good shape. So if we don't have a perfect week right off the bat, we feel like we've got some time to catch up."
WITH SO MUCH AT STAKE, HOW CAN YOU APPROACH THIS RACE?
"Easy -- just like we did the spring race here. That's exactly the same approach we're coming here this weekend. We're not doing anything any different. Obviously we're battling the weather here a little bit but our goal is to go out and win the race right now. So it's really no different than the way we were in the spring."
CAN YOU TAKE CHANCES?
"Define taking chances. Nobody takes chances. You know you've got to finish, so if you get in a wreck or bang up your car, you're not going to do well anyway. We're just going to do the same thing we always do."
HOW EXCITED ARE YOU TO HAVE THIS CHASE ACTUALLY BEGIN NOW?
"I'll feel a lot better about it when everybody quits asking us about it. I'm ready just to get back in the swing of things. I'm ready for it to start. I'm really excited that it is starting now. But I'm really ready to get back into the stuff that's going to win the Chase -- not just talking about it, but doing it."
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ADVANTAGES OF WINNING THE FIRST RACE IN THE CHASE?
"I don't know if there is an advantage. There are still nine other races. So you could win the first one and be inept for the next nine, so I guess it wouldn't be an advantage at that point. It's just a good start to your Chase. Physiologically, you hope you have a good week but if it's not that way you go to the next one. You've got nine more to figure it out.
IF THE WEATHER IS SUNNY ON SUNDAY, HOW MUCH CAN YOU LEARN FROM PRACTICE TODAY, A CLOUDY AND DAMP DAY?
"On a day like today when it's cool and misty like this, it really doesn't get a ton of rubber on the race track. But we'll figure it out. The good thing is it's not the spring race; it's the fall race. Everybody has their notes from the spring race to go off of."
WITH SOME SUCCESS HERE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, ARE YOU EXCITED THAT THIS IS THE FIRST RACE IN THE CHASE?
"Yes, especially with the way we ran here in the spring (won), we're really excited to start it off here. Hopefully we can have similar results and if so, it gets our 10-week stretch off to a good start."
ON THE PRACTICE SESSION:
"It was a good practice. For the short amount of time we got to run, we really only made one run. The car drove exactly like it did in the spring. With the limited number of practice laps we got, we didn't really get a chance to change anything. I'm really comfortable with it. The car is driving comfortable. I feel like when it's time to go racing on Sunday, we're going to be ready."
WHAT'S THE KEY TO RUNNING WELL HERE?
"If your car is not turning, it kind of keeps working it's way up the race track all day and the groove keeps moving up. But it seems like guys who can get their car to cut in the center and stay low are guys who can pass when you get to lapped traffic and pass for the lead too."