Stewart - Chicagoland Friday media visit

Team Chevy press release

TONY STEWART NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Chicagoland Speedway about Chicagoland’s grip, the difference in a day and night race at Chicagoland, a competition director for Stewart Hass Racing and other topics.

Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart

Photo by: Adriano Manocchia

REGARDING GRIP AT CHICAGOLAND: “It is the same for everybody. I don’t think it makes any difference. It is always harder to pass when it has a ton of grip in it because nobody really struggles for grip and has to move around a lot. We saw today guys moved around quite a bit that first session. I think you are going to see a lot of guys moving anyway.”

CAN YOU RUN THE BUMPS ON 3 AND 4 OR DO YOU HAVE TO MOVE UP? “I have been able to run through them today. We have been kind of working on making sure we can stay through them so far but I have been on the bottom and on the middle and top and been pretty good all three spots.”

YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A PRETTY BIG FAN OF THIS PLACE, EVEN BACK IN ITS EARLY DAYS, HOW HAS THIS PLACE EVOLVED AND YOUR COMFORT LEVEL EVOLVED? “It hasn’t evolved it is still the same place, that is the bad part about it is, it is still a cookie cutter track, that shape is still the same. It is the same for everybody and we all just deal with it and try to figure out how to be fastest around it.

IN TERMS OF RACINESS IT HAS NOT MOVED UP A FEW NOTCHES IN YOUR BOOK? “Not unless you change the shape of it and make it to where you gotta lift and gotta brake. You can’t build round race tracks and expect guys to pass and race when guys don’t have to get out of the gas enough, when you are running almost the same speed through the corners as you are down the straight-a-ways it is hard to have that difference to make passes.”

DOES PAST PREFORMANCE AT A TRACK MEAN ANYTHING, WHEN YOU COME BACK OR ARE YOU BASICALLY STARTING NEW AGAIN? “I think the past trip that you make gives you a base to start from, gives you an idea what direction you need to go the next time you get there but you are never going to end up with the same thing, I don’t believe. You might from a spring to fall race but from a track that you run once a year so much changes technology wise that something has evolved already since the last time you were here.”

DOES THE FACT YOU RUN ONE AT NIGHT AND ONE DURING THE DAY MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE? “Yes it does, this place is one of very few race tracks we go to that at night time it actually gets freer. This place has always been a challenge because of that but I’m kind of more excited that we are running the day race just because it will lose total grip a little bit.”

WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE TO BE THE PERSON THAT KNOCKS JIMMIE JOHNSON OFF HIS CHAMPIONSHIP STREAK? “Alright we’ll come back to you” (laughs) anybody else got anything?

YOU SAID AFTER MICHIGAN THAT YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD JUST BE TAKING UP A SPOT IN THE CHASE DO YOU FEEL ANY BETTER FROM MICHIGAN TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW? “I think after the last two weeks I feel a little bit better about it. I am still not 100% certain that we are where we need to be but I feel like this first session we are off to a pretty good start. This place has always been good to us historically anyways, so I kind of expect for us to have a decent weekend here but there are some places that I am really concerned about coming up. Dover is probably the one place I am really concerned about. That is based off of our spring performance. We were so bad there; I am surprised we were not black flagged for just being slow period. I would feel better if I thought we were really good at all ten tracks we are going to. I think is why I say that.”

DOVER HAS BEEN GOOD TO YOU IN THE PAST? “We just for some reason that past couple of years we just lost the handle on it. I don’t know if it’s the new car or the bump stops or what, but it is what feel I have always liked, and I am not sure that is a good feel anymore. That or we just have not been able to match that feel to the race car. There is something we are missing there I am just not sure what it is.”

DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN AFFORD TO MAKE CHANGE HAPPEN QUICKER WHEN YOU SEE SOMETHING AND TRY TO IMPROVE YOUR PROGRAM SINCE YOU ARE ALSO THE OWNER; IS IT EASIER FOR YOU AS THE OWNER? “Not at all, the roles of the people, the key people are already in place. I do not try to crew chief the car; it would be different if I was trying that role. My job as an owner is to give us the tools we need and make sure the crew chiefs have all the resources they need when we get to the track that all changes and they take that information and take those resources and make it work. It is really not a split deal because of that.

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A TURN-AROUND LIKE BRAD KESELOWSKI HAS HAD THIS SEASON? “Yea, but I don’t think anybody expected it in his case this year. This early in his career, this sport is so technical now a days, if you find a little thing it seems like it is big and seems like it carries over to multiple tracks. I think we have seen those trends happen in the past, I don’t think anyone expected it to be Brad this year that would have that kind of turn-around. “

YOU HAVE HAD SUCCESS AT LOUDON, IS THERE ONE THING THERE THAT YOU NEED MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE TO DO WELL THERE? “We were really good there in the spring. I am hoping that, that is a scenario, where what we had is going to be really close to what we are going to want this time around again. Both Ryan (Newman) and I were really fast all day long, so I am hoping we can have a similar weekend.”

IS THE ONE THING THAT YOU NEED TO GET IN TURNS A CERTAIN WAY? “Not that I know of, just do the same thing every lap I guess, I don’t know. I am not sure exactly what you are asking.”

JUST WHAT IT TAKES TO RUN GOOD THERE: “Got to get the car to be secure enough on entry and make it rotate in the center, it is kind of a balancing act of getting the entry and exit, versus the center. It seems like if you get the entry and exit, you always struggle a little bit with the center and if you get the center good then you are struggling

ARE YOU STILL WORKING ON THAT COMPETITION DIRECTOR? “Nah, we quit after yesterday, were not even going to work on it anymore, we are totally going to delete the whole job now. If we have not found anybody now, we might as well not even fool with it.”

“We have been trying; I want that person as soon as we can get them in there. If I can have them in there in ten minutes, I’d love to, the reason for that is Matt Borland is juggling two jobs right now. He has to be competition director and still do what his regular job is, so the sooner we can fill that spot the sooner we can get him back in his full time role.”

WILL IT BE HARD TO BRING SOMEONE IN, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CHASE? “Not necessarily”

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart
Tags chevrolet, chicago, sprint cup, stewart