TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Atlanta, safer barriers at Bristol, being himself and other topics. TALK ABOUT WHAT YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS...
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Atlanta, safer barriers at Bristol, being himself and other topics.
TALK ABOUT WHAT YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS WEEKEND AT ATLANTA: "I like to be here. This is definitely a driver's track. That is why we love coming to Atlanta. I am with Carl (Edwards) here, I snuck in during his deal, but, I hope they never repave it. That will be the one thing that will kill it. If they have to repave it, it will be out of necessity, not because of desire from us. That is what makes this place fun is the fact that you are going to move around from the bottom to the top every segment of the race. You are, at some point, going to have to move around and try to find a spot to make your car better. That is what makes it so much fun being here."
HAS THE TECHNOLOGY OF THE SPORT CHANGED MARTINSVILLE OR IS IT STILL THAT TOUGH, HOT HUMID PLACE? "It is still hot and humid, but the good thing is the air systems, NASCAR has worked with some of the NASA groups and got the carbon filters that help take the CO out of the air. Even in days when you knock the crush panels out of the car, you are a lot safer in there than we used to be on CO levels. That is something that we are appreciative of. But other than that, it really is not as bad and draining as it used to be. Cars are better insulated. Obviously with a carbon fiber seat, you are insulated a lot better so it takes some of those variables out of the equation now."
YOU HAVE REMAINED MORE YOURSELF AND NOT EMBRACED A SOMEWHAT HOLLYWOOD TYPE LIFESTYLE AS A STAR IN THE SPORT, HOW DID YOU DO THAT? "I'll be honest, I don't know. I guess, just being me from a certain standpoint. Shoot, I have to send girlfriends out to go shop for me because I can't even tell you what the current clothes are. I have to send somebody to do it for me so I don't look like I'm stuck in the '80s anymore. That is only shot I got at looking current is to send somebody else to go do it for me. I'll be honest, I enjoy being home. I guess I'm just one of those people, whether it has been racing, it has pretty much been every aspect of my life; I've just kind of been me from day one and have always stayed that way. I don't have the desire to do all that other stuff."
IN BUILDING YOUR LOG CABIN, HAVE YOU UTILIZED AS MANY INDIANA COMPANIES AS YOU CAN? "We have tried to. We try to get as many Indiana companies as we could to build it. When we sat in the initial meetings, it was really important to me to try and get as many companies as the builder was comfortable with out of Columbus (Indiana) in particular to try to help out. We've tried to stay as close to home as we could with every aspect of it."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW SAFER BARRIERS AT BRISTOL THAT WILL NARROW DOWN THE TRACK? "The wall is still where the wall is at. We'll see it when we are out there so we always...the good thing about us as drivers, after all these years of doing this, doesn't matter where they put it, we have to stay a fraction of an inch off of it and use every bit up to it. I am sure it is going to make a difference, there is no doubt about it, I mean we all use every bit of room we can get there anyway. It will make the exits of the corners a little tighter but I think the racing will still be good there because of it."
DO YOU THINK IT WILL INCREASE ACCIDENTS? "No. Like I said, they paint them so you can see them, so that will help us. (LAUGHS) Sorry, I had to say it that way; it wouldn't be me if I didn't."
RYAN NEWMAN HAS SAID HE THINKS WE WILL SEE MORE SIDE DRAFTING WHEN WE GO TO THE BLADE SPOILER, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? "You definitely asked the right guys with Ryan because he is an engineer. He'll know. I won't know until we get in them. I'm not smart enough to know what it is going to do. (LAUGHS) It will be just from experience once we get in the cars. I'm not really...I don't know that I'll be a good one to pre-judge it by. The good thing is that once we start, we will know right away what works better that way."
CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT SIDE DRAFTING IS? "When you see geese flying in that V, that is really what it is like. If you are the guy that is off 45 degrees, you are actually...the closer you can get, it is pulling your car forward and pulling their car backward. The tricky part is that once it pulls you ahead of them, then all of a sudden you have switched roles. It is knowing how close to stay to a guy and when; and when to get off him."
-source: gm racing