Do you think Tony Stewart will be as good after being out of the car? “I hope not. He (Tony Stewart) was pretty damn good before, I hope it slowed him down (laughter), just a couple tenths, you know. Give us a couple tenths. I’m so glad to see him back. This sport is built on characters and he’s definitely a strong character within this sport. We’re all glad to have him back.”
What’s the worst injury you’ve had in the race car? “Believe it or not I’ve scrambled my marbles a few times -- can you tell? I woke up in the infield once, in the infield care center at Charlotte, clearly thought the wreck happened a lot different than it had.
Is it difficult to get back into a race car after an injury or bad wreck? “I don’t know everything is always on your mind until you get in that race car. Until that green flag drops and you go off into turn one, everything you were thinking about goes away. Focus factor is 100 percent and you’re focused on if there is a car in front of you, getting around him and if there’s one behind you, keeping him behind you. It doesn’t matter what your thought process was, what pre-race ceremony happened, what happened the week before. You get in that race car and you rifle that thing off into the corner -- that’s all you’re thinking about.”
What was it like growing up racing with your dad? “The funniest thing about us, we were always so close. Literally from the time I was a kid, when I was four-years old, I wanted to be down and be with my dad, towing cars and working on motorcycles. I just wanted to be at the shop with pops. As we progressed and we got to racing a lot, we argued a lot because we were so close. Shoot, he was my best friend. We would fight, bicker and people would come down to the shop and people were like, ‘What the heck, these people hate each other.’ They’d leave and we thought that didn’t look too good. We were just us, having fun and picking on each other and that’s what we did. That was probably the most fun, when people came down there and these two generally hate each other and we didn’t do a very good job there.”
What’s your mindset heading into the 2014 season? “We have a lot to look forward to. There’s been more changes in this sport than there ever has been. I think it’s going to be good. Everybody has an opinion about the Chase, but we can all agree it’s going to be exciting. If you’re a fan -- that's going to be some premium entertainment. Especially when you get down to Homestead, it’s going to be complete chaos. The only way I think possibly you could add to the excitement level any more than that is to put it right here at Daytona -- could you imagine those four cars at Daytona on the last lap, here going for that mess?
It would be -- I’d have a heart attack before I made it back around to the start-finish line. That and then the qualifying procedure. Friday needed help, it was boring and I sucked at it anyways. I’m glad that we’re making some adjustments to entertain, not only on Sundays, but keep the whole weekend fun because you’re asking a lot out of a fan to come and be on vacation. This is their vacation, they’re coming and using their vacation time for three or four days at any given race -- you’ve got to keep them entertained and that isn’t just on Sunday.”