Loudon II: Chase leaders post race interview, part 2

Continued from part 1 ON IF YOU ARE PARANOID AND WORRIED IN THE CAR GOING FOR THE FIRST WIN: TONY STEWART: "Yes." SAME QUESTION: JEFF GORDON: "Heck, I was in second thinking I thinking that I had a flat tire one time, I am just glad to...

Continued from part 1

ON IF YOU ARE PARANOID AND WORRIED IN THE CAR GOING FOR THE FIRST WIN:

TONY STEWART: "Yes."

SAME QUESTION:

JEFF GORDON: "Heck, I was in second thinking I thinking that I had a flat tire one time, I am just glad to hear he (Bowyer) was complaining about something. I am sitting here thinking I would have liked to have been in his car complaining about something. He was complaining and driving away, that is the best kind you have got. Yes, there is no doubt. But it really doesn't matter how many races you have won, you are out there and until you have seen the checkered flag, it is not over. It can be taken away from you in a matter of seconds, I am sure there were a lot of things like that going through his mind, feeling vibrations and the car not handling and whatever things that were happening in there. That is very common, especially your first one.

TONY STEWART: INTERJECDTS: "Yes, I guarantee that is exactly what is going on. You are just praying that everything is going to go all right, especially when you have a day like he had where you have been so dominate all day. You are so fearful that something that is out of your control is going to happen and it is going to take it away from you. It is not uncommon, I don't think any driver is psycho, but it is hard to not start imaging things that aren't happening with your race car. Thinking things are worse than they really are, especially when it gets close to the end like that. I think that all of us on our first win had those same thoughts exactly to the tee of what you said, everybody hears something that is not there, feels a vibration or thinks their car is worse than what it really is. Especially when you tend to overdrive it at the end, especially when you are working your way toward your first win. Like Jeff said, it is not uncommon for anybody to have that on your firs t run for a win."

ON BEING MORE RELAXED AFTER HAVING A GOOD RUN UNDER YOUR BELT TO START THE CHASE:

TONY STEWART: "Ok, we all had to go to Talladega for two days which we would have all rather have mowed our grass or stained our decks or done something, or had to do some kid's paper route than have to be at Talladega for two days. Then they sent us to New York to deal with a bunch of media and we all had to wear suits. So you can imagine by the time we got here, we were all pretty stressed out being in places that we really didn't want to be. I think we are all pretty much relaxed now knowing we are out of there for the week."

ON REMEMBERING TAKING HIS FIRST CHECKERED FLAG:

JEFF GORDON: "I am an emotional guy, I was crying with two laps to go. I doubt whether Clint was doing that, maybe he was, we might have wiped the tears off before he got there. Man, that was along time ago. A long time ago. It is one of the coolest experiences, as race car driver, to get to this level and race against the best drivers, the best teams, it sends a chill up your spine that first time you do it, because you have worked so hard to get to this level, there isn't a greater feeling, except having a baby, there isn't a greater feeling than getting that first checkered flag."

ON IF THIS RACE IS OVER HYPED:

TONY STEWART: "Last I checked, every race is 10 percent of the Chase so they pay all the same points. It is not like this race pays more points than anything else, but you are the ones that create the hype, not us. You have to answer your own question in all reality. It is kind of a transitional period. The 26 races are over, the 12 drivers are set and locked in and then it is the question of how everybody is approaching the Chase. I guess it is not so much it is how it is over hyped; everybody wants to know if your approach to the next 10 weeks is different from the last three or four weeks. Some of us were locked in, some of us weren't. Some of us were racing two or three guys just to get in the Chase and others were just trying to race for bonus points. So obviously, this week is a different week, the approach is different but I am not sure it is over hyped. It is the week leading up to the first of 10 big weeks so we kind of settle in the rest of the Chase."

SAME QUESTION:

JEFF GORDON: "I thought we were hyping the Chase, hyping the next 10 weeks, 10 races and the Chase for the Nextel Cup. I didn't realize we were just hyping New Hampshire. Stewart Interjects: "I mean it is Bob Bahre's place and that is pretty cool and that is a pretty cool place."

"It is a cool place and this is the first step to your championship. I don't think it was over hyped or under hyped, it was all about the championship and like Tony said, this is one-tenth of that."

ON FEELING AFTER THRILL OF FIRST WIN SETTLED IN:

TONY STEWART: "I felt like it was a huge...it wasn't just a win..it put me in a group with guys that had won NASCAR Cup level races. Going through the garage, I think the neat thing is, when Clint gets back to the garage, it doesn't matter what team these guys are from that will still be in the garage area, when he goes by, they are going to congratulate him and everybody knows how hard it is to get that first win. I know Jeff pulled up along side of him, he was so far ahead of us when he took the checkered flag we had to bust our butts to get to get down there just to get to him. I never did get to him, I never did get caught up, Jeff you were ahead of me, you got to him before him. I just walked down to victory lane, that was the only place I could catch him where he wasn't moving. (Laughs) You recognize that somebody has worked that hard for that accomplishment and he has going to have a lot of pride in knowing he got that f irst Cup first and never has to answer that question of when you are your going to get that first win, doesn't have to be asked ever again. You have that feeling of pride and you have that sense of accomplishment that you finally got to that huge goal just to win a Cup race, let alone be in the Chase and have opportunity to run for a championship."

SAME QUESTION:

JEFF GORDON: "There is just something unique about your first win. That one is extra special everybody is happy for you. If he goes and wins next week it won't be the same, I can tell you that. (Laughs) The coolest thing not only your first one, but especially your first one, but every one win, from today until next Sunday, he is the Man. He is going to flip through the channels, he is going to see if face and name up there on ESPN and every other racing show, if he reads the papers, he is going to see it there. But more importantly, when he comes back to the race track, people are going to look and talk to him a little bit differently because they are happy for him. He is the last guy that has won on the circuit and first guy to win in the Chase, so there is something special about that, so he will feel that until next Sunday unless he does that again."

ON WHAT WAS COMBINATION THAT MADE BOWYER SO DOMINANT TODAY:

TONY STEWART: "If we had been able to see that, we would have fixed our junk. He was first and we weren't. Honestly, I don't think you can see it. It is the same theories that we go to every week. It is who can get their car to roll the center of the corner, who can get in the gas first, why he was able to do that, we don't know. He seemed like he could go anywhere he wanted to go. He could run the bottom, the middle. His car just had a good balance to it that none of us could get our cars to do. Gordon interjects: "The only time I saw him out of control was when he was behind you that one time and it made me at least feel like he was still human."

ON IT BEING EASIER TO ACCEPT GETTING BEAT BY A CAR THAT WAS SO STRONG?

TONY STEWART: "You guys are really starting to over think this whole thing. Gordon Interjects: "Way, way - oh man. What other choice do you have but to accept it? It is what it is. I guarantee you if we had run 7,000 laps unless he had blown up, we still weren't going to beat him. You just have to accept it. Honestly, I am happy with second, I really am, it was a good day for us."

ON LEVEL OF COMFORT RACING EACH OTHER HARD FOR POSITION KNOWING HE ISN'T GOING TO DO SOMETHING STUPID:

TONY STEWART: "I can speak for my side and say absolutely. I have the confidence to you you around somebody you don't question where he is going to go. We got around, one guy in particular with yellow stripes on the back of the car, I am not going to say any names, but it has a bull on the side of it, you don't know where he is going when you get there most of the time. He is getting better. When you run with somebody like Jeff, we have run so long with each other, we have raced with each other for nine years now.

JEFF GORDON: INTERJECTS: "We pretty much know that if we touch one another, it wasn't an accident. (LAUGHTER)"

TONY STEWART: "When I do, it is a lot of times it is an accident. There have been a couple of times it has not been (LAUGHTER), but occasionally I will slip and it is an accident.

JEFF GORDON: INTERJECSTS AGAIN: "I am not saying I didn't have it coming!" MORE LAUGHTER

TONY STEWART: "Let's go back to this confidence thing we have in each other, shall we. No, seriously, I feel a lot better running with the guys that you run up front with every week than you do than the guys you don't run with every week and don't run a lot of laps with. I run around each other enough and have been around up front with each other enough, we understand each other, and we know what is going on. If Jeff slips and bumps in to me, I know what the situation was, you don't freak out and panic, where some of these other guys, you don't know when they hit you if they were trying to wreck you or what they were doing. I think at this level, there is a high enough amount of respect and confidence in each other, that if something happens, knowing what the circumstances were leading up to it. We can tell when we run in to each other if it is intentional or not. We can tell if that much."

SAME QUESTION:

JEFF GORDON: "I have the utmost respect for Tony. I think he is one of the best, if not the best out there. I think until it gets down to game time, the final run, or getting in position there toward the end, we know when one another is better than the other. And my car didn't take off very good on cold tires. All those cautions killed up, Tony got some good runs, got underneath me, I let him go. I got back up to him; he would let me go. I had a little trouble getting away from him. My car was real loose for a couple laps. Finally it came back and it was from that point now that who had the better car. And that is usually the way it is. We have had our hi9story and our times, but I think we have gotten through those brain dead moments on both our parts. Now we just love to race one another hard and clean."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup