Talladega II: Stewart - Friday media visit

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Talladega Superspeedway and discussed his practice session, bump drafting, what makes a race car driver a race car driver and more. TALK ABOUT HOW PRACTICE...

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Talladega Superspeedway and discussed his practice session, bump drafting, what makes a race car driver a race car driver and more.

TALK ABOUT HOW PRACTICE HAS BEEN GOING SO FAR FOR YOU. "I think everybody was somewhat conservative in practice. Definitely I feel like the best car out there right now is Denny Hamlin so we're all trying to figure out how to keep up with him right now. We worked through the small list of things that Darian (Grubb) had on his list to try in practice and quite early. We're hoping we get qualifying in tomorrow and have a good race."

I THINK NASCAR PENALIZED THE NO. 55 FOR BUMP DRAFTING A LITTLE TOO HARD, HOW IS THE BUMP DRAFTING GOING OUT THERE? "There were a couple of situations today where guys were able to get to the back bumper and really, really push cars far. It's still going to be a factor. That side really hasn't changed from the spring."

WAS IT WORSE? "It really hasn't changed from the spring race. It's about the same as it was when we were here in the spring."

WERE YOU SURPRISED WITH THE CREW CHIEF CHANGE OVER AT THE NO. 18? "I just found out about it this morning. I'm kind of shocked by it. I don't know what the reasoning was behind it but you know at the end of the day there was a reason that made them make that switch. I don't know what that is but I was like you're joking right? It was hard to believe that they are going to split that combination up."

DO YOU THINK WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A WRECK AT THE END AGAIN THIS TIME? "Well if I knew that I would probably be a bookie in Las Vegas. I mean nobody knows that for sure. Any time that you're in a pack where you've got cars on top of each other like we do that potential is always there. It's no different now than it was 15 years ago when I was watching this series and they were doing the same thing. The game is the same. It hasn't changed that much. So that potential is always going to be there."

WITH STICK AND BALL SPORTS ITS PRETTY EASY TO TELL WHAT MAKES A GUY GOOD, HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE WHAT MAKES A RACE CAR DRIVER A RACE CAR DRIVER? "The easiest way is the guy that puts the uniform on and climbs in the race car, that's the race car driver. I think guys that just have good car control, are smart about knowing how to take care of their equipment during a race and are competitive. I mean just because you put the uniform on and start the race doesn't mean you're a race car driver. There's plenty of people to put the uniform on but the guys that I would call true race car drivers are guys that can get in any type of car any time and go out and be competitive and have good car control. I would say that's the base of it."

HOW WOULD YOU RATE YOURSELF AS A RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACER? "Well I'm not any happier about it than I've always been but we've had a lot of success at restrictor-plate tracks especially here. We've run in the top-two here a gazillion times I think now. I'm glad we're half way decent at it but it's still always frustrating when you have to rely on what everybody else does. It's not what you do, it's what you do and somebody else decides that they're going to follow you and help you so that's the part that's disappointing as a driver at least from my standpoint."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Denny Hamlin