TONY STEWART , NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "Well, thanks to Goodyear we ended up third. It was a good day." GREG ZIPADELLI , CREW CHIEF, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: ON TIRE CONSISTENCY PROBLEMS "It's just ...
TONY STEWART , NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Well, thanks to Goodyear we ended up third. It was a good day."
GREG ZIPADELLI , CREW CHIEF, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ON TIRE CONSISTENCY PROBLEMS
"It's just disappointing to have a car as strong as we have had in a couple different places this year and come in and just put four tires on and be terrible - I mean be four, five, or six-tenths off of what you were running before. It's hard to ask somebody to get in there and drive their ever-lovin' tail off for 400 laps and have that happen and expect them to be happy about it. It's hard and it's frustrating.
"I can tell you that we threw out 14 to 16 tires this week because we felt like the numbers came up - we didn't use. They're going home. We won't use them. It wasn't like we were skimping and it still came back and bit us. That's the frustrating part. At one point we had date codes on these tires and stripes on them and we knew exactly what we had and if we wanted to use them, we could use them. And if we didn't, we didn't have to. And then I could deal with my car. Now, it's hard. I feel like it single-handedly cost us a win today. There was a huge, huge difference. And that's the frustrating part. I don't believe in done intentionally. I've never been a lucky person in life. It's hard to just shrug it off and say oh well, that was the luck of the draw.
"Hopefully with some of the changes we're doing next year we eliminate this and we can get back to some of the stuff that we used to do in the past. We went a whole year and didn't have a single problem. We had date codes and stuff on everything. We got rid of a lot of tires we didn't like or felt that didn't match up. And I don't mind that. I'll worry about justifying spending the extra money versus having something like this happen. You work all weekend and come back and try and win. We should have won in the spring and had that problem on pit road and come back and finish 4th.
"And then the same thing happened today with 25 laps to go. We came in for four tires and come from 12th back to third. If you were standing there watching, we made no adjustments. We put four tires on. We couldn't drive it. When nobody could run with us. We came back in and put four tires on it and went back out and drove from 12th to third in 26 laps. It doesn't take much to figure out what the problem was."
WHAT IS THE RIGHT WAY TO TALK TO GOODYEAR ABOUT THIS?
"They know there's an issue with age and they know there's an issue with tires from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. There's such a lack of grip to begin with with these tires. It's not a bad thing. It's just an inconsistency thing that then causes problems like we had today. We had a great tire. We had one failure. That's pretty strong. I think in the spring, we didn't. We're used to 14 or 16 - a ridiculous number of people - hitting that wall. So if we were all blowing tires again we'd be screaming and hollering that we're putting the drivers at risk. They fixed the problem to a certain extent and that's what happens here. It's just annoying that it was us. I don't wish it on anyone else. But it really bit us at Darlington. It bit us at Homestead there two years ago. We've had a few occasions where it's been the same thing. It's just the luck of the draw I guess."
JOE GIBBS , OWNER OF JOE GIBBS RACING:
ON TODAY'S RACE FOR THE TONY STEWART AND THE NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET): "We had a great car, particularly at the end. We fell off at the next-to-the-last stop just enough that we felt like we weren't going to have a chance. We were probably going to wind up third. We decided to pit, which we knew was going to put us back at least 10 spots. It wound up putting us back 12 spots. Tony fought his way all the way back up to third. It's just one of those days where things didn't go well for us at the right time. I thought we had a real good car."
ON THE RULE CHANGE OF GETTING A LAP BACK
"I'm not a technical guy or a crew chief, but I don't think that affected our thought process or anything. But I will say this. When you're thinking about that - the first car a lap down - it does change your philosophy in the race because you're racing your guts out to try and stay as the first car down. And everybody is trying to figure out, including the spotters, who that is. So I think it really did change strategy for everybody.
"But, I think it's a good rule. I think NASCAR did the right thing at the right time. I'm glad they didn't wait. It would have been easy to wait until the end of the year. Will we have a few problems with ironing this out? Yeah, we probably will. But I think it's something we'll work our way through. We're always for safety with the drivers. I think this is a safety issue. We're starting to have a lot of problems with somebody letting a guy back one week and then he's upset the next week because he didn't get a lap back. There's a lot of that going on. Plus, you've got guys speeding up and guys slowing down. That's a recipe for disaster. I think it was the best thing to do."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT RYAN NEWMAN HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO WIN BY GETTING HIS LAP BACK, AND YOUR DRIVER NOT WINNING?
"Those are the rules. I'm sure what he was doing at that point, but first of all I think he was going to make it on fuel. He was probably going to sit there at that point, after he got that lap back, because he was able to pit and he kept pitting during that caution if you noticed, and he probably had a chance to make it. I don't know you'd have to ask them. But those are the rules. That's what we race by. That's what you've got to abide by. Hopefully next time it'll be us in that situation."
ON THE TIRE SITUATION TODAY AND TONY STEWART'S FRUSTRATION
"On the No. 18 (Bobby Labonte) we couldn't tell. We were so far out of it that it really didn't matter. With Tony, it was critical. Everything was critical there at the end. I think we had the best car there for a run or two. He got frustrated because that's what we did. We changed tires. And then after the race, he was upset. But, it's so hard to tell when you're in a situation like that. I don't drive it, so it's real hard."