TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (4TH): ON HIS RUN "A few weeks ago we were three laps down at Texas on this tire, so to come out of here with a top five is a great day for all of us on this Home Depot Pontiac team. Greg ...
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (4TH):
ON HIS RUN
"A few weeks ago we were three laps down at Texas on this tire, so to come out of here with a top five is a great day for all of us on this Home Depot Pontiac team. Greg [Zipadelli] made some really good changes last night overnight and the guys had great pit stops all day that kept getting us great track position. I don't think anyone was in Rusty Wallace's league. Jeff [Gordon] started getting up there at the end, but we were just fighting for our lives there at the end trying to get Dale [Earnhardt, Jr.]."
DID THE LAST CAUTION HURT YOU?
"We didn't need the yellow there at the end. We were comfortably in second. I don't think they could have run us down, to be honest. We were pulling away from Jeff. I saw the pack behind Jeff and I think we were pulling away from them, too. I think we would have had us a good second place finish, but to get a top five here after cussing this tire a few weeks ago at Texas - it's nice to be able to come here and feel like we're making gains. "We're just getting more competitive each week. That (the tires) has been the one variable that's changed all year is the tires. They are a lot better and safer for us. It's just a matter of finding the setup. We're getting caught up finally."
WHAT KINDS OF CHANGES DID YOU MAKE TODAY?
"We made a lot changes. We pulled a spring rubber out of the right rear, we made a lot of air pressure adjustments, track bar adjustments, wedge adjustments - we worked on this car all day. That is the good thing about Greg Zipadelli. He really is good about making sure that when this car rolls out on the line for the race that we're able to have some adjustability in it to where if we need to make changes, we've got a race car that can do that. "The pit stops were awesome today. We gained either track position or track time every stop. That's what it takes. We didn't have a perfect car today, but the guys got us up in a position to where we could fight at the end and when we did get it decent, we were there."
IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE GAINING MOMENTUM
"It's about that time of year again. If we ever get the downforce that everybody else has got, we'll get back to winning some races. But as long as NASCAR wants to favor the Fords and Chevys and keep the Pontiacs at a deficit, it's not going to happen right now."
HOW EVIDENT WAS THE FORD ADVANTAGE TODAY?
"It's evident every time NASCAR gives the Fords and Chevys some help and Pontiac gets something either taken away from us or they don't do anything for us. We're doing the best we can with what we've got and we'll continue to do that. The guys at the shop keep working, trying to find more, but there is only so much you can get out of a car that you have to make fit templates. "I love our cars. I love our Pontiacs. They have always driven well since I started in this deal. But it's getting to the point to where you can see it on the racetrack and you can feel it when you're running with guys out there."
WAS TODAY A BIG CONFIDENCE BOOSTER FOR YOU?
"This was a real big day for us. I don't know if it was for the guys, but it was a big day for me. To come here and know this was the same tire we had trouble with at Texas, and then to be able to do what we did here today really made me feel good. It really makes me look forward even more to going to Richmond this week for the Pontiac 400."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 EAGLE ONE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (11TH):
ON HIS RUN
"It was a pretty tough day. We struggled. We kicked butt through the corners and our car was pretty good, but we just couldn't stay with the Fords down the straightaway, plus a couple other guys. But it's a pretty much a Ford track, it looks like. I was watching Jeff [Gordon]. He ended up good, but he was driving his hind end off so bad and everybody else around him was just cruising, it looked like. "It was a difficult day for us, but we finished 11th. I think we were better than that and should have probably finished better than that, but that is where we ended up."
HOW WAS YOUR CAR OUT FRONT?
"It was fine. If I was by myself, I was OK. But some of the Fords, when they got beside you or behind you they would just drive right off. It was pretty difficult to run with them."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (22ND):
HOW TOUGH WAS TODAY FOR YOU?
"It was good for one lap. It wasn't good for many laps, but good for one. I guess that's just the way it is."
IS THIS THE BIGGEST HANDFUL YOU'VE HAD WITH A RACE CAR IN A WHILE?
"I don't know. I can't say it really was. It's just that everything we seemed to try had us about four tenths [of a second] off all day."