TONY STEWART Bud Shootout Notes & Quotes DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 9, 2000) - Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix, earned entry into this year's Bud Shootout by capturing the first pole of his career in just his ...
TONY STEWART Bud Shootout Notes & Quotes
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 9, 2000) - Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix, earned entry into this year's Bud Shootout by capturing the first pole of his career in just his eighth NASCAR Winston Cup Series start at the .526-mile Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on April 16, 1999. Stewart turned in another pole-winning performance four months later at another short track - the .533-mile Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Aug. 27.
The 1999 Rookie of the Year winner will be a first-time competitor in Sunday's Bud Shootout at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
What's your attitude heading into the Shootout?
"The entire Home Depot team is heading in there with a go for broke attitude. There aren't any points involved. It's just money, a trophy and a lot of prestige. It gives you a little more freedom to go out and try things by using it as a practice session for the (Daytona) 500. Because there's really nothing to lose. You try things that maybe you wouldn't feel very comfortable with trying in the 500. If you find things that do work, you use 'em for the 500. If what you try doesn't work, you know what not to do for the 500. We're just going for broke and seeing what we can learn."
Are you more aggressive in the Shootout because there aren't any points to be won or lost?
"I think so. That and it's a lot shorter race. You're not going for 500 miles. It's just a sprint, really. You've got a short amount of time to get your work done. So, you kind of throw caution to the wind. If you think you can go, well then, you better go."
How will NASCAR's new shock package effect the race?
"It's going to make it tighter. In the little bit of drafting practice that we had back in testing, we didn't see any one guy with a big advantage over another guy. It's going to be a lot harder to get a run on someone and get by them. The guys that know how to utilize the air in the draft are really going to have an advantage at that point."
Obviously, you have a good drafting partner in your Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Bobby Labonte. But is there anyone else that you find you work well with in the draft?
"Most of the guys that you run up front with every week. As they get more comfortable seeing my orange and white Home Depot Pontiac, and I get more comfortable running with them, we seem to run a lot closer at the superspeedways. I don't get hung out as much because they're gaining confidence in me. A lot of it will depend on what happens during the week of practice. There may be a guy that you're not used to running with, but your car and his car together make a pretty good package. So, you'll be out there searching for partners that'll make your car run better. It'll be a trial and error process for a whole week trying to find which guys you run well with and which ones you don't."