Transcript: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
March 6, 2011
An Interview With: TONY STEWART AND JUAN PABLO MONTOYA
THE MODERATOR: We're going to roll into our post-race for the 14th Annual Kobalt Tools 400. We've got our second place finisher and our third place finisher of today's rate. Tony Stewart is our race runner-up. He's also our current points leader in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Tony drives the No. 14 Mobil One Office Depot Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing. And Juan Pablo Montoya is today's third place finisher, driver of the No. 42 Clorox Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi, and he's currently I believe sixth in points in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Tony, talk about your run out there, certainly some ups and downs, solid second place finish, but I know you've got to be disappointed.
TONY STEWART: Yeah, real disappointed. I honestly think we had the car to beat today, we just gave it away. I don't know what happened on the pit stop there, but we had a miscue and had a penalty and had to go to the back, and unfortunately it kind of dealt our cards for us. Darian made a good call getting us the track position back, but it also showed everybody else that they could do it, too, and we couldn't run two and a half runs on a set of left-side tires. Just shot ourselves in the foot two weeks in a row now.
THE MODERATOR: Actually, Juan, you're fourth in points, I misspoke there, but talk about your run today, a solid third place showing at Las Vegas.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It was good. As Tony said, he had the fastest car, but our car was very good all day. We battled between sixth and eighth place and then a little bit better and a little bit better. It was good; we were getting better, but we just never closed in. We could make the car turn through the middle, we just couldn't touch the throttle and the other way around. It was just touch and go. But it's good. You know, we really needed a good result after last week, and it was nice to get it here.
Q. Tony, I know you're disappointed, but can you take any solace in three races in a row you were in position, you may have had a shot to win?
TONY STEWART: I probably should, but that's not in my makeup. I mean, I just -- it kills me to throw a race away like that, especially at a place we haven't won at yet. This was a big deal today, and when you lead that many laps and have a car that's that fast and you lose it, you -- I'm sure tomorrow when the emotion dies down we'll look back and say it was a great weekend, but just man, it does not sit good right now.
THE MODERATOR: Tony did lead 163 laps.
Q. Can either or both of you talk about how difficult it was to run in traffic today? It seemed clean air was the only way, didn't seem like a lot of close racing at the very, very end.
TONY STEWART: I don't know what race you were watching. Juan and I raced pretty close at the end.
Q. You did catch him, yes.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think his car was so good that he could pass anybody anywhere. I think mine was a little bit harder to pass in traffic. I don't know, the cleaner the air -- but that's normal; that's not new, is it? Every time you're in traffic, you suck; every time you're in clean air, you look hike a hero. That's normal.
Q. I meant after the pit stop, Tony.
TONY STEWART: I'm a driver, not a....
Q. Tony, two tires didn't work here last year for Jeff and it didn't work for you last week. Why did it work today? You went on two tires and took off. Was your car that much better it didn't matter?
TONY STEWART: I just think we had a good car. I mean, my car was -- when we could get out front we were really good, and even when we weren't out front, the guys that were -- at that time one of the fastest cars was the 16 car, and him and I ran through traffic together there. So guys could pass, it was just -- we had a really, really balanced car. It didn't seem like it mattered what we did. Our car was best on old tires. We were fast on the front, but the last half of the run we could just march away from everybody and leave them.
Q. Juan, as you go on season to season now in these cars, can you just talk about since you've been in here do you feel more accepted? What is your take in terms of being in this discipline?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think I've been accepted from day one. I think actually before I could have gone and asked people and they would tell me anything, and now I don't think they tell me as much, so that has changed. That's a positive, I guess, in a way. But no, for me it's just more comfortable. I think the last two, three years have been very comfortable with these cars, and it shows. When we can get the car working, it works really good. I think last year when they went from the wing to the spoiler I think it really affected me and we really struggled, and we did a lot of work over the winter with the new nose to make sure that didn't happen, and I don't know, here we are. It's good.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thanks a lot. Have a good open week. We'll see you at Bristol.