Daytona Twins: Stewart press conference

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Winner: "We wanted to work on this thing, so we came in and put four tires on it and tried to free it up a little bit. That helped it. I got the green flag stop which helped it again and...


"We wanted to work on this thing, so we came in and put four tires on it and tried to free it up a little bit. That helped it. I got the green flag stop which helped it again and went back out and ran five laps and got a caution and came back in and worked on it some more. We just got a really good run on Scott, got by Scott and thought Scott was going to be strong enough to go by him and I intended on going with Scott but when he got up there, for some reason, it really stalled his car out when he got to the outside there. Jeff got a really good run already. So we ducked down and got in Jeff's line. I didn't intend on going by that early but we got a really good run. To be honest the key to winning the race was my teammate Bobby Labonte. We got such a good push from him into turn 1 that it got us by. I thought he was going to get clear by also and be able to keep going. But you know it shows what kind of teammate he is. He knew it was probably going to hurt him to hit me as hard as he did. But he did it to help Joe Gibbs Racing and like I said we probably couldn't have won the race without Bobby there today.

(WHAT DO YOU EXPECT ON SUNDAY?) "I feel we need to work on our car. I feel we can make it better. It is what it is, but obviously it's not a terrible race car with the way we ran today.

"It's just a matter of doing what everybody else is going to keep doing. We've got to keep working harder every session we get on the track and we'll keep trying to make it better and better.

(WHAT WAS YOUR TAKE ON THE ACCIDENT) "I didn't see what happened. I was about four cars back and I was watching what was behind me as well as what was in front of me. I didn't see what caused it but when we got to it, it was a matter of trying to find a hole. That was the biggest thing. I didn't know where to go. I just saw open opening there before the smoke got so thick you couldn't see anything and aimed for that and it was good enough to get us through.

(DO YOU THINK IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE DIFFICULT TO WIN THE RACE HAD THE OTHER CARS STAYED IN?) "I'm sure it would have been more difficult. We only had two cars to pass but having Mark and the #29 and the #48 in front of us were all strong cars. Those were really strong race cars that got taken out there. I'm sure it would have been a lot harder to get up there.

(HOW CLOSE OF A CALL WAS IT FOR YOU TO GET THROUGH THAT WRECK) "It was pretty close. Mark was the one we were having to dodge there. He was getting turned around. He couldn't help what was going on with his car, but we had to make a pretty big left-hand turn there to dodge him and then once we got through there we had to get it gathered back up."

(IS THERE A FINESSE OR A GOOD PLACE TO DO BUMP DRAFTING) "Here is my answer to that: we shouldn't even be doing it, period. I mean we shouldn't have to be doing it. It's stupid that we're even in this position where we have to do bump drafting. That's what the key is to winning a race. It's pretty stupid that that's the position we're put in, but it's exciting for everyone obviously. Whatever happens, happens, I guess."

(IS THERE A WAY TO GET AWAY FROM BUMP DRAFTING BESIDES TAKING THE RESTRICTOR PLATES OFF?) "I'm not an engineer, really. If there's a way, I'm sure somebody would have thought about it by now. But I'll be honest, with all the technology we've got now and SAFER barriers and the safety improvements everybody has made, I don't know why we couldn't take the plates off. We could figure out another way, whether it is harder tires or something where we have to lift in the corners and this race track is wide enough where you can still race and you don't have to be two wide and 18 rows deep to do it. I'd at least like to see that option tried. Everybody is worried about us going too fast but I think there are ways to slow the cars down without having to put the restrictor plates on?"

(KEVIN HARVICK HAS RECEIVED A LOT OF FLACK FOR WHAT HAPPENED TODAY. DO YOU THINK IT IS JUSTIFIABLE?) "Well if I didn't see what happened I don't know whether it is justified or not, wouldn't you say?

(GIVEN TODAY'S VICTORY HOW DO YOU ASSESS YOUR CHANCES FOR SUNDAY'S RACE?) "To be honest, Sunday is another day. Today's race is today's race. There's a lot of practice that's going to happen between now and Sunday. I would love to say that what happened today is what's going to happen Sunday but I can't do that. We only raced with half the field. The guys that crashed today are going to have backup cars on Sunday. It's a whole different race on Sunday. It's 500 miles versus the 150 miles today. It's hard to say. Like I said, that's what I'd like to say is going to happen Sunday also."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing