BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS: IT LOOKS LIKE YOUR POSITION IS FAIRLY SECURE RIGHT NOW, BUT HOW DO YOU LOOK AT IT? "Well, we're just going week-to-week right now. It's not something that we're looking...
BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS:
IT LOOKS LIKE YOUR POSITION IS FAIRLY SECURE RIGHT NOW, BUT HOW DO YOU LOOK AT IT? "Well, we're just going week-to-week right now. It's not something that we're looking at. I mean, our goal is still the same each week. It means the same thing it did the first time I was asked. We're taking it one week at a time right now and we're doing the best we can and hopefully it's going to be good enough."
BASED ON YOUR EXPERIENCE - ESPECIALLY LAST YEAR WINNING THE TITLE - DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE AN ADVANTAGE THAT ARE BATTLING FOR THESE FINAL QUALIFYING SPOTS? "I don't know that it is an advantage. It's just strictly a matter of having two fairly decent weeks to make sure we get ourselves locked in and once we get locked in, we've got to have 10 good weeks in a row and have 10 weeks that are better than everybody else. It's not rocket science. It's a matter of doing numbers and math. That's what it really boils down to. You've just got to do a better job of adding up the points better than everybody else does."
YOU HAVE A LOT OF EXPERIENCE. SOME GUYS DON'T HAVE MUCH EXPERIENCE. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT WILL AFFECT THE RACING IN THE NEXT TWO RACES? "I don't think it'll change. How you get into the Chase is the same way you win the Chase. So, you've got to go out there and you've got to be good. You've got to be good in 26 races to get in the Chase, and now you've got to be good for 10 after that to win the Chase."
DO YOU FEEL ANY PRESSURE? "No, not really. You just go out and do the same things you always do. It's what I've been doing for eight years. It's no different today and it's not going to be any different next week."
HOW DO YOU FEEL, HEALTH-WISE, AFTER THE FLIP THE OTHER NIGHT? "Oh, it's fine. It wasn't any different than any other time. Trust me, Sprint Car drivers flip all the time. We just had a problem with a steering gear break so it was just bad luck. It's tough because I wanted to run the whole night. I was having a lot of fun. It was a neat race track. That was the smallest track that I've ran with on Sprint Cars. It was a lot of fun."
ON YOUR QUALIFYING RUN, WAS WHAT YOU GOT OUT OF THE CAR WHAT YOU EXPECTED? "I think I know what you mean by that. We picked up three-tenths, which is what we were hoping to do. So I'm not unpleased with that."
HOW IS DENNY HAMLIN, AS A ROOKIE, COPING WITH THE PRESSURE OF THE CHASE? "He has just got a lot of talent. He doesn't worry about..he is very focused on what he does every week. That is the whole teams mindset. Keeping that mindset in mind is keeping him from having to worry about it. It is not a pressure deal. It is just going out doing what we love doing."
HOW DO YOU KEEP FROM LETTING THE PRESSURE BUILD? "I don't know to be honest because I have never fell in to it. All eight years we have been here in the points, we have just strictly dealt with one week at a time. That it is the easiest way to approach it I think. What you do this week is this week. Then once this weekend is over, this weekend is done and you worry about the next one. It is literally that simple for us."
IS THERE A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO BEING IN THE CHASE? HAVE YOU LEARNED ANYTHING SPECIAL FROM HAVING BEEN THERE BEFORE? "Obviously, the last ten weeks, you are racing nine other guys. You aren't worried about the rest of the field. But at the same time you know that everybody on that race track is racing for position and every position is worth points. That is the mindset you keep with it. You know there are still 43 guys on the race track. But out of the other 42 other guys you are racing, only nine of them really matters. You focus more on those nine guys which is the only thing that is really different. And even with that, if you beat those nine guys and in fact beat all 42 that are out there, you still get the most points for that day."
IS THERE ANYTHING IN THE BACK OF YOUR MIND THAT WONDERS WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED LAST WEEK. "The only thing in the back of my mind is what I am going to do on my next day off. I just try to keep it real simple, I really don't' try to over think it. I don't try to over calculate everything. I am worried about Sunday, then once Sunday is over with then I will worry about what we are going to do for Richmond next week. I literally take it a seven-day cycle at a time. Bristol was last week so it really doesn't matter what we did at Bristol, we are at a totally different track and race this week. So no matter what happened last week, we can't change any of it. We are better off taking all of our energy and focusing on this coming week instead of focusing on something we can't change the outcome of."
DID THE INCIDENT THE OTHER NIGHT CAUSE YOU TO STOP AND THINK ABOUT TAKING IT A LITTLE EASY OR NOT DO THINGS LIKE THAT? "No, because I had to drive on the interstate to get here today. That wasn't anything compared to driving on the interstate here."
-credit: gm racing