Chicagoland: Stewart - GM Racing interview

HAPPY HOUR NOTES - STEWART READY TO RUN USG SHEETROCK 400 TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Note - After crashing his primary car in practice yesterday and being seen and released by the local medical facility, Stewart was...



Note - After crashing his primary car in practice yesterday and being seen and released by the local medical facility, Stewart was cleared to race in Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400. He will start in the rear of the field in a back-up car, which was qualified by substitute driver, J.J. Yeley. Stewart was able to practice the car in today's Happy Hour session.

(ALL YOUR FANS WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU ARE DOING) "Well, I'm doing a lot better today than yesterday. I still don't remember what happened, but the good thing is that I don't feel terrible; I'm just real sore. I feel like I got invited to a baseball bat war and didn't get my own bat. Everything on my right side feels real good; everything on the left side is sore. So we'll just go back and relax today and chill out and get ready for tomorrow. We've got a good car. I realistically feel like I've got a shot to go out and win this thing again tomorrow."

(ARE YOU COMFORTABLE IN THE CAR?) "I'm comfortable when it's sitting still. It's a little more painful when we get going. But it's going to be that way. To have a hit like we had yesterday and to expect not to be sore today is virtually impossible. We have the rest of the day off today and I can relax and rest. And we start late tomorrow with a 2:30p.m. start. So we've got plenty of time of kick back and rest. As much as I'd like to do other things today, I'm just going to relax."

(WILL J.J. YELEY BE STANDING BY TOMORROW?) "No, I told him to go home and take the day off. I can't thank him enough. He really showed his talent, which we knew all along. To be able to get in the car like that and run a small amount of laps and then qualify the car in 13th was an awesome job for us."

(HOW WAS PRACTICE?) "If we could just open the doors it would be a lot easier than climbing through the window is always a little bit painful. But we'll be fine by tomorrow. I'm sore today and my neck was a little bit tired."

(DID YOU SEE THE WRECK COMING IN PRACTICE YESTERDAY?") "The bad thing is I don't even remember it. I guess everybody is saying it's probably a good thing. But I don't know what happened other than just what I saw on tape. One of our photographer buddies down on that end said he heard a bang and saw a puff of smoke. So evidently a tire went and we just went straight in the fence and wrecked from there."

(ON THE TASK OF STARTING 43RD) "Oh, it's a piece of cake. We've watched Biffle and Kenseth and those guys do it and if they can do it. I'll be honest; I have no concerns about it. I don't think we'll be in the top 10 at the end of the first segment by any means. We're going to have to work hard tomorrow. The good thing is the team has a lot of momentum and I've got a lot of momentum. I don't care how sore I am tomorrow. I'm going to tap my elbows up and keep digging all day."

(ON THE BACK-UP CAR) "Well, it's a totally different set-up than what we had on the other car yesterday. We know it drives almost as good as the car I won here with last year. We think we found some things in practice that will help us. We actually got overboard on some of our changes. That's comforting. That means we can come back somewhere in the middle."

(ON CRASHING LAST YEAR AND THEN WINNING...WILL YOU DO THAT AGAIN THIS YEAR?) "I still think we're going to have a good day. If you ask me that question next year - even if we win tomorrow - I'm going to ease it up there a little more. We've got so much momentum tomorrow. The doctor said I could be in the car and that's where I'll be."

(HOW MUCH DOES THE BACK-UP CAR THROW YOU OFF IN YOUR PLANS TO GAIN FROM MICHIGAN TO CHICAGO ON THE INTERMEDIATE TRACKS?) "The set-up is still going to be the same no matter if we start first or 43rd so that part of it doesn't change. We know it's been a little hard to pass here at time. Everybody seems to be running quick today. We'll be patient tomorrow; we'll take them one at a time. If we can get five cars each segment and work our way up that way and hopefully get some spots in the pits, we'll be up where we need to be by the end of the day. Nobody wants to start 43rd. I guess everybody thinks that would be a set back. The way we set our program up, it's not a set back at all. Any time you crash a car, that's a set back. But that's the great thing about our organization is we've got enough good people and good cars that this one will be as good as the one we had yesterday."

(HOW DOES THE HIT YESTERDAY COMPARE TO SOME OF THE OTHER CRASHES YOU'VE HAD?) "I don't know. Like I said, I was a part of it but I wasn't a part of it. So if it's hard enough to knock me out, obviously it's a pretty substantial hit. In looking at the pictures of the car after they got it back here yesterday; when you look at the nose of it, it doesn't even look like it's hardly wrecked. But when you look at the right side and how mashed in it is, those are the hard hits, the sideways hits. If you can it a corner, it's a lot easier than hitting one on the side. That's probably the most direct side hit I've ever had in one of these cars."

(HOW SORE ARE YOU?) "I'm sore from about just above my beltline on my left side, all the way up to the back of my neck - all on the left side. When I crashed it must have soaked up all the energy on the right side. There's a gap in the seat that must have been where the injuries came from."

(WILL YOU ZIPPY DO ANYTHING TO THE CAR TO MAKE IT MORE COMFORTABLE?) "No, I want him to make it go fast. If we can make it go fast and make it drive good, that'll make it comfortable for me in the car all day. He's asked if there is anything he can do. There is nothing they can do. There are just bruises and there is no magic cure for it now. I've got to suck it up and go. It's not going to be a problem. I've had to do that for 26 years of racing. It's not the first time I've ever been hurt in a race car. So we'll go out and do our job."

-gm racing-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers J.J. Yeley