Tony Stewart has One Million Reasons to Smile as Winner of Sprint All-Star Race Concord, NC - In his 11th try, Tony Stewart took his first victory in the Sprint All-Star Race tonight at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Behind the wheel of his No. 14...
Tony Stewart has One Million Reasons to Smile as Winner of Sprint All-Star Race
Concord, NC - In his 11th try, Tony Stewart took his first victory in the Sprint All-Star Race tonight at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Behind the wheel of his No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Impala SS, Stewart became only the second owner/driver in history to win the special event that carried a $1 million dollar prize for the winner.
Team Chevy has won 14 of the 26 All-Star Races run, more than any other manufacturer.
Mark Martin, No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Impala SS finished sixth and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Dale Jr. Foundation/Mountain Dew/National Guard Impala SS, finished 10th to give Chevy three of the top-10 finishers.
Matt Kenseth (Ford) finished second followed by Kurt Busch (Dodge), Denny Hamlin (Toyota) and Carl Edwards (Ford) completed the top-five finishers.
Up next for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the Coca Cola 600 on May 24, 2009 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE IMPALA SS -- Winner:
THIS IS YOUR FIRST WIN AS A DRIVER/CAR OWNER AND YOUR FIRST ALL-STAR RACE, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU? "Oh, it's awesome. I've got to thank our fans. Man, when I got out over there in (Turn) 2 the response from this crowd was awesome. They've been behind us all year. This is for two people and one group of people: That's Gene Haas and Joe Custer and then for all these fans. We couldn't do it without Rick Hendrick and his engine and chassis department."
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU NOT ONLY AS A DRIVER, BUT AS AN OWNER TAKING ALL THE GAMBLE OF PUTTING THIS TEAM TOGETHER IN THIS COMPETITIVE SPORT? "Well the gamble was for Gene Haas. And he's here with us tonight. And man I'll tell you, he's not going to miss a weekend. He gets here and the first week he's here, we win the race. So I'm just so thankful that he and Joe Custer gave us the opportunity and Chevrolet for standing behind us and just knowing that we had a long road to hoe. Ryan Newman should have won this race but he had a tire go down. He was going to be here instead of us and we were going to be just as happy."
CONGRATULATIONS, TONY, YOU'RE THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN TONIGHT "Yeah, so is everyone on this Office Depot/Old Spice team. They did a great job."
YOUR FIRST WIN AS A SPRINT CUP OWNER: "It should have been Ryan Newman here first. I have to thank all these fans here. They are awesome. This is their night, this is for them. Just so grateful We have Gene Haas, thanks to Gene and Joe Custer for giving us the opportunity. And Chevy and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. Rick Hendrick was on the phone with me already. All these guys on the Office Depot/Old Spice and the U.S. Army team are just awesome."
TELL ME ABOUT THE PASS FOR THE LEAD: "I can't believe he gave me the bottom. I just cannot believe he gave me the bottom. But I'll take it. Matt (Kenseth) is a guy you can trust. We got to second there, got by the No. 18 and I thought all right, we have a shot at this thing. "We weren't that good until the last run. Darian Grubb (crew chief), I mean he made some awesome calls there at the end to get us where I could drive that thing the way I could. Man, it was fast."
WHAT DID HE DO TO THE CAR? "I'm not telling. There is no way in hell I am telling."
ENJOY IT MAN: "I can promise you I am going to enjoy this until about Monday."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR IMPALA SS ~ sidelined with engine problems:
"We think we broke something in the motor. We came here with real high hopes thinking we could run well, but we just didn't. But we learned a lot and we'll apply it for next week. So I'm disappointed, but we'll come back."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS ~ sidelined in accident
WAS IT A MATTER OF EVERYONE RUNNING OUT OF REAL ESTATE OUT THERE ON THE RACE TRACK? "Yeah, that's the All-Star race. Everyone is going for it. There's a lot at stake. There's a lot of pride and money and we're putting on a heck of a show for these fans. We were certainly proud of our DuPont Chevrolet team tonight. Man, they were doing awesome. We had a great, great race car. Starting from the pole is a little bit of a disadvantage and so we didn't get a very good restart. Kyle (Busch) got to the outside of us and from that point on I was just fighting hard. I didn't even know the No. 39 (Ryan Newman) got three-wide on the outside. I just ran out of room. It was nobody's fault.
"It's the All-Star event. That's just a bunch of guys racing really, really hard. I heard three wall wreck the last second and I was already wide open holding it down as much as I could. I felt like Kyle (Busch) probably could have given me a little bit more room and we might have been all right. But I think he was a little bit surprised that the No. 39 (Ryan Newman) was outside of him too. I think I got a bad restart and Kyle obviously got one heck of a restart. I don't even know where he came from. And I'm just glad that it wasn't worse than that. I was pretty nervous sliding across the track like that. So thankfully nobody got into me and you know what? It was a great night for us up until that point. Oh, well."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS -- Finished 13th
YOU WERE THE FIRST VICTIM OF THE 10-LAP SHOOTOUT, WHAT DID IT DO TO YOUR CAR? "Fortunately I didn't hit anything and nobody ran into us. But we lost so much track position and at that point we just kept coming to pit road and making changes to the car to try to get some more data for next weekend's race. If you weren't in those first two or three rows, you really didn't have a shot. And I was there, but unfortunately got spun around on the back and lost all that track position and was just kind of riding from there.
"The balance of the track really changed through the night and I didn't expect it to have that big of a swing from the start of the race on. I also learned, and I knew this in the back of my mind, but track position was so much more important than I ever thought it would be."
UP UNTIL THE POINT OF THE SPIN, HOW HAPPY WERE YOU WITH YOUR CAR? DO YOU THINK YOU HAD A SHOT? "Yeah, we led a bunch (of laps) at the beginning and we had a car that was really good for 10 laps. And with the final segment being a 10-lap shootout, I thought we were in great shape. Unfortunately some guys took two tires, but we went (for) four and I came back in fifth or sixth on the track. And I could catch a couple (cars) and get by a couple, but then after three or four laps, I was stuck right where I was and I couldn't go anywhere. I just kind of had some troubles from there."
IN RETROSPECT, TO YOU REGRET THE FOUR-TIRE STRATEGY? "Yeah, looking at how the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) had a good shot and kept track position through all of it that was probably a good move. There was so much falloff on the tire, that we all felt in our hearts that it would have been best to take four and then four tires would prevail, but man, track position was so much more important than we ever gave it credit for."
DID IT FEEL LIKE OLD TIMES FOR YOU OUT IN FRONT AT LOWE'S THERE FOR A WHILE? "It did, I just wish I was on the front stretch partying right now (laughs)."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS -- Finished 15th
"It was a disappointing night for the Pennzoil team. We made a lot of adjustments, but we couldn't get it dialed in. We were trying some things to get ready for the (Coke) 600. We've got a lot of work to do next week."
-credit: gm racing