TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: ON YOUR RACE: "It was a long day. Sterling about crashed us twice on stuff that was his fault, not mine. I'm just glad it's over." ON FINISHING SECOND IN POINTS: "Like I said, I'm just glad...
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON YOUR RACE: "It was a long day. Sterling about crashed us twice on stuff that was his fault, not mine. I'm just glad it's over."
ON FINISHING SECOND IN POINTS: "Like I said, I'm just glad it's over. But, it's an awesome deal. The guys did a great job all year. The pit stops were better all year, the guys in the fab shop did a great job - you name it. It's all the same stuff I'm going to say at the banquet in a week. "I'm just glad this is over. This has been a tough deal this year."
GREG ZIPADELLI, CREW CHIEF, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON FINISHING SECOND IN POINTS IN JUST YOUR THIRD YEAR AS A RACE TEAM: "It's awesome. It's incredible. For what we've gone through this year - you look at the lows and where we were halfway through the season and how many points behind we were. I know some of it was just the misfortune of other teams, but we still had to be there to do what we did. I think the second half of the year it was basically us, the '18' and the '99' that were first, second and third in points accumulated. If we could ever just get off to a little bit better start - and one of these years we're going to do it and not have the dumb things happen that happened to us this year - we'll be there.
"I'm just proud of everybody on the Home Depot Pontiac. It's amazing. You don't have any idea how good this feels and what a relief it is to leave here second in points. Right now, it feels really good. About a week or two from now, we'll take it and hopefully try to energize ourselves again to make that next step. We're looking forward to it."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON YOUR RACE: "It was a long day. The car wasn't bad, but Goodyear had all kinds of problems today and that really put us in a box. We blistered some tires and had to pit, and when we pitted, things just didn't work our way. It was going to work our way, but then of course, the caution came out."
WHAT WAS THE ISSUE WITH THE TIRES?: "I don't know. Everybody was blistering tires. I saw them coming off the car and they were pretty bad. Everybody had the problem. I don't know - I don't think they expected that and it looked like everybody had tire problems."
YOU JUST CLOSED OUT YOUR BEST SEASON EVER...ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH IT?: "No. We didn't reach our goals. We wanted to win a race and we wanted to finish in the top six in points, and we didn't achieve that. But, it wasn't from a lack of hard work. We worked hard all year, but we broke six or seven engines and that really hurt us. We're just going to keep working hard. And, man, am I looking forward to next year. This is a really good group of guys and I'm really looking forward to it."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON YOUR RACE: "It was good. The Interstate Batteries Pontiac was good all day. The crew did a great job in the pits. We got our tires when we needed them and we stayed in the top five. Like I said, the car was good - it was just a little bit too tight there at the end to try to get around the '40' car. But, he (Sterling Marlin) was pretty stout."
ON THE DAY OVERALL: "The day started off good. That 45-minute practice session was good for us. We needed all of it and then made some adjustments on the car afterwards. When the race started, it was pretty good. The car seemed like it stuck pretty good all day. It was balanced really close from front to rear. I chunked a little bit of right rear tire out a few times and got it to where it wasn't quite as bad. We got better as the day went on, as far as that goes. We ran in the top five all day, so we couldn't complain. We just had a good run - a solid run. We watched the guys in front of us finish first and second, and we finished third, so we couldn't complain about it."
WHAT DID YOU SEE OF THE INCIDENT BETWEEN THE '24' AND THE '31'?: "I saw the '12' car spinning, went low, passed the '24' car and saw him hit the '31' and that was about all. But I didn't see what exactly happen. From me, it looked like a couple of them might have gotten together, but I'm not really sure. I can't say who did what or where. I never saw that much of it."
ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAST YEAR AND THIS YEAR FOR YOUR TEAM: "I think a lot of it came from the hardness of the tire that Goodyear brought. There was nothing wrong with that, it was just that we took a little while to probably get acclimated to it and comfortable with it. The confidence wasn't there to go fast on it. Then, we had six DNFs this year; we had zero last year. You can add those up and that's a lot. If we had averaged a 22nd place finish out of those six DNFs, I think we would have been right there where Jeff [Gordon] was or behind him just a little bit. That didn't help out, but hey, we're going to have that. If we can average them out to less than that a year, that's great. But, we probably didn't have all the confidence in the world on a harder tire and might not quite have gotten our setups just right the first part of the year and got them better towards the end."
WERE YOU SURPRISED WHEN JEFF GORDON WENT BACK BY YOU UNDER CAUTION AFTER HIS INCIDENT WITH THE '31'?: "No, not really. I didn't see what happened, but I guess I can tell by that what happened. Obviously, he has got a lot of fire in him, so that was pretty cool."
DID IT SURPRISE YOU?: "No, I don't think it surprised me. It probably made it pretty good for the audience to see that."