Loudon: Stewart - Friday media visit

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT IMPALA SS TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT RACING AT LOUDON, ARIC ALMIROLA AND THE MILWAUKEE BUSCH RACE, AND MORE: ON RACING AT LOUDON "You always like going to tracks where you've won before. This is a fun stop for ...

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT IMPALA SS TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT RACING AT LOUDON, ARIC ALMIROLA AND THE MILWAUKEE BUSCH RACE, AND MORE:

ON RACING AT LOUDON "You always like going to tracks where you've won before. This is a fun stop for us."

SINCE LOUDON IS THE FIRST RACE IN THE CHASE, DOES THIS MAKE IT MORE IMPORTANT? "Well, the conditions will be different when we come back. I'm sure it'll be a lot hotter. The surface temperature stay hotter through the summer than it is right now. What you can learn here this weekend can help you the second time around, for sure. But it doesn't mean that if you win the race in the spring that you're guaranteed to win the race in the fall."

COULD YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE IN RUNNING A LAP IN THE CAR OF TOMORROW VERSUS THE PAST WHEN YOU WERE HERE? "We're running the Busch car too, so there is a huge difference. The Busch car has a lot of downforce and the Car of Tomorrow doesn't drive nearly as good obviously, but that's the way it's designed too. Now it's our job as teams and drivers to figure out how to make it go faster."

WITH IT BEING SO HARD TO PASS, DO YOU PLACE MORE EMPHASIS ON QUALIFYING? "Passing is hard everywhere. Every week qualifying is important. It's important for a good pit selection and obviously the fewer cars that you've got to work to pass, the easier you can be on your equipment and try to save your car for the end of the race that way."

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR ARIC ALMIROLA AFTER WHAT HE WENT THROUGH AT MILWAUKEE LAST WEEK? "Oh, to just keep his head up. He obviously did a good job. He's put that car on the pole two years in a row there at Milwaukee and I thought he did a really good job in the race. It's kind of a weird set of circumstances and he got the worst end of it obviously, but at the same time I think something really positive will come out of it."

ON COMPARING HIS RACING SUCCESS TO DENNY HAMLIN'S PROGRESS: "I think we're comparing apples to oranges too. In the era that he's doing it, his stats are probably more impressive that mine were in all reality. I think the competition is so much tougher now than it was when I started. It's harder to do the things that we did. What he's done has been extremely impressive.

"He knows how to handle things and he just knows what to do. You can see confidence in the way he drives. You can tell when guys are timid in their race cars and you can just tell when guys are comfortable in their cars. When you're around him, you can tell by the way he drives that he's very comfortable with what he's doing and the way his car drivers and he's doing his drive. I wish I could say that he does something magical in there, but we're all doing the same things in the car but you just see subtle differences that give you that impression."

ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE COT AND THE DIRECTION OF THE NASCAR CUP SERIES IN GENERAL? WHAT COULD THEY DO TO IMPROVE? "I'm just a driver. You're asking the wrong guy. You're asking something that we're not qualified to do and that's to figure out how to take a multi-billion dollar racing series and try to improve on it. That's why they have high executives to do that job. They know better than the drivers do on how to make it better."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup