CHEVY NNCS AT INDY: Weekly Top 10 with Tony Stewart BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS: ON FRIDAY'S PRACTICE SESSION "We were just trying to find the balance out there in the second session. We went...
CHEVY NNCS AT INDY: Weekly Top 10 with Tony Stewart
BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS:
ON FRIDAY'S PRACTICE SESSION "We were just trying to find the balance out there in the second session. We went from being a little too free at the beginning of it, to being too tight toward the end of it. So, we'll try to find a balance between those and something that will be good for tomorrow.
"I'm not really worried about qualifying as much as I am the race. We started like 22nd last year, so you want to get to get a good spot so you can get a good pit selection, but other than that, it really doesn't mean a whole lot."
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE WALKING AROUND HERE AS THE DEFENDING CHAMPION? "It's just more relaxing (laughs). I think we are able to enjoy this for the race itself versus everything else that goes around it. It's just definitely been more relaxing because of what we did last year."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE DO TO WELL THIS WEEKEND? "No, not at all. It's just the opposite. We are relaxed and just worry about working on the race car. The goal is definitely to win the race this weekend, don't get me wrong on that, but it's not like a do or die situation like it's always been the last seven years. This year, we're going to go out and try to do what we do here every year and try to win the race. But if it doesn't happen, at least we've got last year to fall back on.
"We'd like to do it again this year and do it back-to-back. But at least we go the monkey off our back and got it done here last year. It's definitely letting the whole team enjoy themselves a little more this year. And it'll probably give us a little more of an advantage being able to focus more on the car than we are the prize. Hopefully by doing that, we can get the prize."
WHAT DID YOU DO ALL WEEK? DID YOU TAKE IT EASY? "I did a lot of nothing and a little bit of something. I basically just stayed home on my property down in Columbus and fished. I had Ryan Newman there Thursday fishing and drove my Late Model and drove my Sprint Car last week testing a little bit."
ON LOVING THE BRICKYARD "Oh, yeah. This is still the Holy Grail in my opinion. It's such a satisfying feeling knowing that no matter what happens this weekend or the rest of my life that I've at least won here once. I want to be like Jeff (Gordon) and everybody else. I want to win four or five times here too, but just winning it once is an accomplishment that not a lot of guys can say they've done here."
ON JEFF GORDON HOPING TO TIE DALE EARNHARDT FOR NUMBER OF WINS - AND ALSO MATCHING MICHAEL SCHUMACHER'S RECORD AT INDY...HOW DO THEY COMPARE AS DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES? "Yeah, I think the Formula I deal is that you can't anything away from Michael Schumacher, but when you only had six cars running last year (at the Indy GP), that's an asterisk with it. There are only three or four cars capable of winning every week. Where at this level (in NASCAR), there are 12 or 14 cars that could win on any given weekend. So I think it is different. If Jeff ties it, you've really got to put him ahead of Michael here. And then definitely, it's a huge accomplishment when Jeff gets that next win. We're all proud of him for what he's been able to do in his career and especially at the level of competition that we have here now. To be able to win the races that he's won I think is a huge accomplishment that we all have to strive for."
WHAT WAS YOUR TEST LIKE HERE? WAS IT DECENT? "Keep in mind what a test is. You try things that you don't have the luxury of trying on a race weekend. So, we just went through and tried a bunch of stuff and went through all that information and brought back what we thought would be a good package for here. So far in race trim, we've been both loose and tight, which is a good thing. I'm glad we've been loose. That's normally the hard thing to do here is to get your car freed up here enough so I'm pretty happy with the way we started out in practice."