Phoenix II: Stewart post-race interview

Tony Stewart -- ...

Tony Stewart -- #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet -- Points Leader

It was solid day for us. The Home Depot team had a good day, obviously. Any time you can run in the top five, it's a good day. We got ourselves up to second there at one point and the pit strategy hurt us a little bit. You know, the #24 and #48 pitted early and it got us a little bit behind. There were a couple of other cars that pitted early about us. So, we definitely had to race our way up to the front which I was proud about. Whereas you get lucky on track position or something, we definitely had to earn what we got today. I'm proud of the guys.

YOU ADDED TO THE LEAD AND YOU ACCOMPLISHED THAT TODAY, SO IT HAS TO BE A GOOD DAY FOR YOU

Yeah. Well thought there, Bruce. I don't know how to elaborate. That's exactly what the plan was there today. I don't think anybody here in the Home Depot team didn't want to pull away in the points. It was kind of a given that that was the goal for the day.

RE: BEING CAREFUL, BACK IN TRAFFIC THERE

I'll be honest. I ran the race like I would any other race. It's kind of the mindset I made myself stay in. I made a move, three-wide in the center of it, cut underneath a guy coming off of two in between, I don't know who it was-somebody and Ricky Rudd. I probably could have been a little bit more patient there, but I was racing just like I would have raced the second or third race of the year. So, I don't know. I guess we've just kind of done the same things we've always done. I hate to keep saying the same thing for three weeks but that's really what we were going to do and that's what we did. We just went out and raced and tried to get to the front and got to second and that was as high as we got before the pit stop caught us up and we got to the back. But, like I said, we raced our way back.

RE: THREE WIDE AND THE #99 WAS ON THE BOTTOM WITH KYLE PETTY

Carl drove down on the apron trying to get underneath Kyle Petty who was already on the bottom and about wrecked three of us. So, I think he was just caught on the bottom and he was trying to.he just needed to wait a little bit longer, or pick a different spot. But, it was real close to being a bigger wreck there.

WERE YOU ASKING OR WAS ZIPPY TELLING YOU WHERE JIMMIE WAS DURING THE RACE?

No, I never asked and he never offered information. Like I said the other day when we were here for the breakfast deal, we haven't worried about it, we aren't talking about it where those guys are at. We won't talk about it next week, either. We'll go out and realistically go out and try to win the race. If we're in a position where we're not good enough and can let a guy go that's pressuring us, we'll do that if it doesn't put us in jeapordy of losing the point lead, obviously. We will stick to our gameplan the way we have done for 35 races now. It won't be any different. So, next week won't be any different. We try getting out of this mode and that's where we'll get into trouble. So, we'll stick to what we've been doing.

YOU CAN FINISH AS LOW AS 20TH NEXT WEEK AND STILL WIN. DO YOU WANT TO GO FOR THE WIN?

It would be pretty spectacular if we won the race and the championship on the same day, wouldn't it? Go for it.

HOW WILL YOU APPROACH THE RACE ANY DIFFERENTLY THAN YOU DID BACK IN 2002?

We won't. Realistically. You guys think that we're reinventing the wheel here. It is so simple. It is as simple as this, so everybody pay attention one more time, because nobody's paid attention or doesn't understand. We are going to go out next week. We are going to go out and practice like we always do and try to get the car driving good. Then, we're going to go out for qualifying and we're going to get the best starting spot we can qualify. And then when the race starts and they drop the green flag, we're actually going to go out and, as odd as it's going to sound, we're actually going to go out and try to win the race. I know that sounds crazy, but that's really what we're going to do. The last time I checked in my contract, that's what I get paid to do. And that's what we're going to do. And if we don't win the race, we want to make sure ahead of the guys and get enough points to win the championship. If we win the race, we win the championship, right? It's a pretty simple philosophy. We sucked in 2002. That's why it looked so bad is because we sucked all day. Plain and simple. I pray to God that we aren't going to suck that bad this coming up week, but it's too early to tell. You'll know on Saturday where we are with that. Friday's practice will give us a better indication. Really, guys, it's really simple with the philosophy. There's nothing going to be changed for this weekend. Nothing special with motors. The Indy car is the car we're bringing back. I guess it's my favorite car now. And we're going to go out there and try to win the race. If we can't go out there and win, if we can't win, we're going to try to get second. If we can't get second, we're trying for third. If not, we'll take what we can get. That's as simple as it's going to be for the next seven days.

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Kyle Petty