Las Vegas: Third place Tony Stewart interview

TONY STEWART , NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- finished 3rd: "The tire that Goodyear brought has made this racing fun again. You can't go out and just run real hard. That's how we lost second (place) to Kasey Kahne there. I busted the...

TONY STEWART , NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- finished 3rd:

"The tire that Goodyear brought has made this racing fun again. You can't go out and just run real hard. That's how we lost second (place) to Kasey Kahne there. I busted the tires off trying to get by (Kevin) Harvick. If I'd known he was going to run out of gas, I'd have taken it a little easier (laughs). I just busted the front tires off. But the car was pretty good all day.

"The hard thing is that we got so good so quick that we really don't know where we really need to be. We keep working on the car but every time these guys get a chance to come in and pit it gives them a chance to get caught up to us. But nobody could catch Matt Kenseth today. He was awesome.

"I was pretty happy with the Home Depot team. When we came and tested here, we were pretty discouraged when we left. We tested really bad. It was just one of those days when we needed to be a little better than what we were earlier in the race. We didn't really get lazy, we just really didn't know how much we could go with the car. The day kept going on and we just kept getting a little tighter and tighter. All in all it was a good day.

"To be honest, with the race we had at Rockingham we really needed a good week here. This just keeps proving what I've known all along and that's this team is always able to rebound and come back."

IS ROUSH'S DOMINANCE HERE AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY SIMILAR TO DEI'S AT DAYTONA AND TALLADEGA?

"I think if you look at different teams throughout the year, there are different tracks that guys are just really good at. Matt Kenseth has always been very strong here at Vegas. We were in a similar mode when we'd go to Richmond and Dover. But there are different teams that find different packages that work for them really well when they get to certain venues. This is one place where Matt and Robby (Riser, crew chief) always have a good package for and they just keep making it better and better. It's just up to all the other teams to try and find out what we've got to do to get caught up to them."

FROM YOUR TEST HERE IN JANUARY, DID YOU THINK YOUR CAR WOULD BE BETTER, AS GOOD, OR WHAT?

"I'll tell you, I was nervous - especially with the way we ran at Rockingham. I didn't worry about it too much until we ran Rockingham. When we tested bad here and then had a bad weekend at Rockingham, I was really nervous coming into this weekend.

"I didn't know if it was something we were missing or what. So that's why this race was so important to us to rebound from Rockingham and to answer questions about whether there was something in our package that we're missing or if it was just a bad race at Rockingham. I think there is a little weight lifted off the team's shoulders now - knowing we just missed it at Rockingham. We still don't know what it was we had going on there, but we just missed it for that week. It gives us some confidence now that two out of three races we finished in the top three twice and that we just had a weird day at Rockingham. Now we're pumped up and getting ready for Atlanta. After a good day here today, it gives us a lot to look forward to at Atlanta because we normally go really fast at Atlanta also."

NOW THAT THE WEEKEND IS OVER, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW RULE PACKAGE?

"I think I'm going to wait one more week for sure to know. This track has always been a track where the tires give up. I felt like I could race better with guys today than I was able to do in the past. It used to be that you could only get up so close and you were done. There was just nothing you could do. Today you could move around on the race track a little more. You could do things driving-wise to keep yourself close. There were still times when Matt (Kenseth) had a straightaway lead on us and we had half-a-straightaway lead on third. But as far as the guys in the pack, it seemed like you saw guys all day in groups there were a lot closer than what we've seen here with the other tires. I think the package is working. I think we're really going to get our first true test of it in Atlanta. At this track, the performance of the tires has typically fallen off anyway. My gut feeling is that our package is better and it's going to make the racing better for the fans and they're going to actually get to see us actually be able to race and not have to worry about fuel mileage."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart