TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE IMPALA SS met with media and discussed budget cuts, what he likes to do away from the track while in Northern California, racing for points verses racing for wins and much more. CAN YOU SAY HOW MUCH ...
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE IMPALA SS met with media and discussed budget cuts, what he likes to do away from the track while in Northern California, racing for points verses racing for wins and much more.
CAN YOU SAY HOW MUCH YOU'RE GETTING FROM CHEVROLET NEXT YEAR AS FAR AS A PERCENTAGE CUT? "No."
DO YOU NEED TO FIND ADDITIONAL SPONSORSHIP TO RUN TWO CARS, OR DO YOU JUST MAKE CUTS AND DO WITH WHAT YOU CAN? "We'll make it through the year, for sure. It's like we've said before. We're supportive of what Chevy had to do. There are a lot of people that don't even have jobs and we just got our budget cut, percentage-wise. So we're still getting support from Chevy and we're proud of that. We'll look at all the numbers and figure out what we have to do to get done what we have to get done with the race team. But it's hard. It's a hard situation for them. You could see it in their eyes when they came to the shop. It's not a meeting that they wanted to have. They didn't want to have to tell us that we were going to have to take a cut, but at the same time we understand why and we're very supportive of that."
LAST YEAR WAS THE HEAT, THIS YEAR IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S THE WIND. IS THE WIND AFFECTING YOU IN THE ESSES? "No, you got us confused with Indy Cars that are much more sensitive to the wind than we are. I mean these cars are a lot heavier. We still notice wind changes but I'm not sure today that we've really noticed it at all. For the most part I think whatever the wind has been, it's been consistent. As long as it's consistent and not gusty. That's when you notice is when it changes speeds a lot."
YOU AND (JEFF) GORDON HAVE HAD TONS OF SUCCESS ON ROAD COURSES, HOW CAN YOU EXPLAIN THAT? "I think it's something that you look at guys, you never really see anybody go four or five years then all of the sudden they seem to get it. It seems like if they're good at it then they're good at it right away and take to it right away. That's something that Jeff (Gordon) did and that's something that I'm fortunate we've been able to do. It's something we like. This is a race that we always look forward to coming to. We look forward to this particular weekend weeks in advance and start getting excited about coming out here. This is one that we feel like every time we come out here that we've got a shot to win."
ONE OF OUR BLOGGERS WANTS TO KNOW IF YOU GOT YOUR RHYTHM FOR THESE ROAD COURSES FROM YOUR HIGH SCHOOL BAND. "I don't think that's the case."
COULD YOU COMMENT ON THIS GROWING SPECULATION THAT DANICA PATRICK MAY TRY AND MOVE FROM IRL TO NASCAR? "Contrary to everybody's popular belief we're pretty busy with what we're doing here so we really don't have time to watch and see what everybody else is doing. That's your job not mine. I have no idea. I've been worried about two USAC teams, two World of Outlaw teams, two Sprint Cup teams and three race tracks that we're operating right now. I have no idea what's going on outside of here. Sorry, I wish I could tell you more than that but I don't know any more than that. We don't pay attention enough to that stuff."
TALK ABOUT WHAT ELSE YOU LIKE TO DO ONCE YOU GET AWAY FROM THE TRACK BEING UP HERE IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. "We got out yesterday afternoon and we had a Coca-Cola appearance at the Six Flags which that is probably my favorite thing to do out here. I'm not a win drinker so I love driving around and just seeing the scenery but I'm not a guy that likes to go to the wineries and I don't understand all the wine stuff so that's not really my deal. We got to go to Six Flags last night and we like to go to San Francisco and walk around and see all the touristy stuff there. This is just a part of the country that you can't go anywhere else the rest of the year and see the scenery and landscape that we see out here. I really don't do as much fun stuff as some of the other drivers do that have their wives and they like to go out and do the wine side of it. I'll get in the car in the evening and drive around for an hour or so and just drive somewhere around where we are staying and check out an area of the countryside we haven't seen the years before. Sounds kind of boring but that's what I like to do just get in the car and drive around."
DO OTHER DRIVERS HAVE PROBLEMS WITH MONTOYAS DRIVING BECAUSE HES AN AGGRESSIVE DRIVER AND THAT'S ALWAYS THE WAY HE IS GOING TO BE OR IS IT BECAUSE HE'S BEEN ON A LEARNING CURVE? "I think it's a learning curve. The kind of cars that he came from especially in the Formula One Series you may or may not get a chance to take advantage of a hole that opens up. Maybe once a race in those cars where here you're going to pit eight or 10 times, not at this particular race but in this series a lot of the 500-mile races you're going to pit eight or ten times during the day so you're going to get a lot of opportunities and tires wear out and you kind of have a lot more give and take and I think that was something that was hard for him to adjust to at first. If there was an opening he dove for it because that is just the kind of racing he came from. That's what you had to do. In this style of racing there's a lot more give and take involved and the races are a lot longer so you have a lot more opportunities to make positions up if you lose them. The pit crew can make them up on pit road. You can have a run where you miss the balance a little bit and you lose spots but the next time you gain them back. That was just an adjustment he's had to learn over time."
HAS JUAN'S (MONTOYA) BETTER UNDERSTANDING KIND OF LEAD HIM TO THIS POINT WHERE HE IS IN POINTS? "Yeah, I definitely think so. As you run in this and you run up front with the guys and you run up front consistently and have shots at winning the championships you kind of pick up on how they're doing things and why they're doing it. The thing about Juan is he is real intelligent. He's real smart and he picks up things very, very quickly. He learns very quick. I would say that's a big contributing factor why he's been able to get to where he is in the point standings right now."
WITH ALL THE EXPERIENCE YOU HAVE RUNNING SUCCESSFUL RACE TEAMS AND IN THE WAKE WITH WHAT HAPPENED WITH GM, HOW DO YOU EXPRESS TO YOUR GUYS THAT THEY WORK IN THE MOST ECONOMICAL FASHION AS POSSIBLE? "I don't know that we have to instill that in the guys on the floor as much as its sitting with Bobby (Hutchens) and Darian (Grubb) and Tony Gibson. Those guys understand that this is a part of our budget that we've lost now so we have to focus on the remaining budget and say what areas do we focus these funds into to get 100 percent and get the most out of what we have available to us. That's no different than any other business. I mean you always are doing that. You always have a budget to work with and you're always trying to figure out how to make the most out of what you've got. You just have to sit down and reevaluate where you are at and what funds you do have and try to figure out how to allocate those to the different departments and the different areas you have in the race team."
BUT DO YOU RACE DIFFERENTLY WHEN THE MARKET IS GOOD COMPARED TO WHEN TIMES ARE LEANER? "I think you have to look at as much as possible. You have to keep in mind that some of it is things that don't necessarily make the race car go faster but it makes the sponsor happier. If it's the appearance of a tool cart or if its curtains that go over the side of these boxes when they're sitting out there and have their logo on it those are things that some would consider a luxury but at the same time it's part of what you have to do to make the sponsor get value in the dollars they're spending. So it doesn't always pertain to what makes the race car go fast and that's why you have to sit there and take that budget and sit there and say okay this is what we're know going to allocate for each of these departments. You just have to sit down and rebudget everything and try to figure out exactly where those funds need to go."
DO YOU GET A SENSE THAT KNOWING KYLE (BUSCH) ON THE TRACK IN TERMS OF HIS DRIVING STYLE THAT HE'S ALL OR NOTHING, AND HOW DO YOU WRESTLE WITH BALANCING GOING FOR THE WINS VERSES GOING FOR TH E POINTS AT THE SAME TIME? "I got to know Kyle pretty well last year but like I mentioned earlier we don't sit there spending near as much time analyzing everybody else as you guys do. We spend a lot of time analyzing what Ryan (Newman) is doing and what I'm doing and we're trying to do for the U.S. Army and Old Spice and Office Depot and our teams internally more of what we're doing than paying attention to those guys.
"You know I think we're in a situation now in the point standings that we kind of have that opportunity because of the bonus system to sit there and take a couple of extra chances if we feel like we might be able to get a win and then pick up those 10 bonus points going into the fall. It's definitely a situation we're able to utilize at this point because we are where we're at in the point standings. I really don't know what his attitude is and approach is toward it but we do have that opportunity because we're high enough in the point standings. It really doesn't matter where you are at as long as you get locked into those 12 but those bonus points are going to be important so if you have to go from first to sixth in the point standing taking chances to gain those extra 10 bonus points it's really not a penalty."
SO IT'S ALL ABOUT WHERE YOU SIT IN THE STANDINGS? "After 26 races it's not a matter of where you are in the standings. It's next week, it's after 26 races where do you stand after you receive those bonus points and you start square again."
CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT BUILDING A TEAM AND WHAT'S BEEN THE BEST PART ABOUT THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE? "The best part for sure is definitely been watching guys when we won the All-Star race at Charlotte, seeing guys that have never been to victory lane before. Watching the expression on those guys' faces and the celebration in victory lane, that's definitely been the best part. It's been fun. It's been a fun process of watching different guys come from different organizations and everybody kind of was in a pattern of how they did things and it's trying to get everybody in a new pattern of this is how we're going to do it. So weekly it was an adjustment for these guys but now they're in the routine week in and week out and its fun just to watch these guys have fun now. We got a really good group of guys that I'm really proud of. We ended up 31st or 32nd on the sheet after practice but we're still laughing and joking and carrying around and that's the things that carry you through the season when the time gets tough toward the end."
DO YOU HAVE TO ADJUST YOUR BUDGET FOR THE REST OF THIS YEAR? "Yeah, we're getting ready to start cutting the pr budgets and how much time we spend with the pr according to how much our budgets get cut (laughter)."
ARE THE CUTS EFFECTIVE FORTHIS YEAR? "Yes, immediately."
HOW CRAZY DO YOU THINK THINGS ARE GOING TO GET WITH DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS AT A ROAD COURSE? "We're all pretty used to it so I don't think it's going to be that big of a drama. We all start the race double-file. The guys that are up front and are fast they got control of their cars normally at that point. I don't think it's going to be that hectic out here. I think it's actually going to make it pretty fun. I thought we would still be at single-file restarts here but the good thing is that is why we've got 43 professionals in this series, that's why they got to this level is because they are able to handle that."
-credit: gm racing