TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and discussed racing at New Hampshire, aggressive driving, the Brickyard and other topics. TALK ABOUT BEING AT NEW HAMPSHIRE...
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and discussed racing at New Hampshire, aggressive driving, the Brickyard and other topics.
TALK ABOUT BEING AT NEW HAMPSHIRE THIS WEEKEND: "I always like coming up here. This is a place that before I ever won anything, we missed in an Indy Car. With like 18 laps to, we had 2 ¾ lap lead in my IRL race here. It's all been uphill from there. We've had some good races here and bad races here but it is a place I've always enjoyed."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW HARD THE TRANSITION FROM INDY CAR TO STOCK CAR IS FOR DANICA PATRICK SINCE YOU KNOW IT SO WELL? "It is opposite ends of the spectrum. You go from a car that has a ton of grip and a real flat platform as far as how the car just kind of sits on the track and you really don't feel a lot of movement in it to a heavier car that moves around more and obviously has a lot less down force. It is a big transition here. It is quite a bit different so this will be a challenging weekend."
JEFF (BURTON) WAS IN HERE THIS MORNING AND SAID THE RACING WAS HORRENDOUS LAST WEEKEND, WHAT IS YOUR TAKE AND IS THERE ANY PARTICULAR REASON THIS IS GOING ON? "I agree. I have no idea...trust me because I sat there wondering the exact same thing the whole race. It was bizerk. It was like open season."
DOES SOMEONE NEED TO STAND UP IN A DRIVER'S MEETING AND TAKE THE LEAD AS A DRIVER AND SAY THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE? "It is a little late now. We are a week past it already. I don't know. We'll see. I don't know what the reason was. I don't know if there was something in the air last week or what. It was absolute out of control. The good thing is we are out of that environment and we're back to an environment where you won't see that this weekend."
MARK (MARTIN) SAID HIS ORIGINAL THOUGHTS WERE THAT NASCAR WOULDN'T WORK AT THE BRICKYARD, HE HAS CHANGED HIS MIND OBVIOUSLY, DID YOU HAVE THOSE THOUGHTS AS WELL AND HAS IT BECOME BIGGER AND BETTER THAN YOU THOUGHT IT COULD BE? "I'll be honest, when I first heard about the test that was going to happen there, I was against it. I've always said that. But on that day, I was a guy that had grown up in Indiana. I remember the month of May literally being the full month of May at Indianapolis and I was against it. But, after seeing the test session there and after the first race there, it was like Wow, this really does work and it really does belong there. I was against it because I thought that the Indy 500 was the only thing that deserved to be at the Brickyard. But, as time has gone and obviously what we have seen with the success of the Brickyard 400, Formula One came in, I thought it was a great idea. You realize that you have got this great facility and to be able to bring the major forms of racing into one facility like that was a pretty cool deal."
ARE WE SEEING A STEADY EROSION OF RESPECT ON THE TRACK JUST FROM THE BEGINNING OF THIS YEAR OR LONGER OR WAS LAST WEEK JUST ONE OF THOSE WEEKENDS? "I don't that it is the lack of respect as much as it just such a lack of patience. There's a phrase we use all the time "Give and Take". There is a lot more taking anymore than there is giving amongst the drivers. It is not due to respect...everybody respects each other out there. There is a lack of...the equation is out of balance right now between give and take. Like I said, there is just a lot more taking than there is giving. It is getting worse and it is probably going to get worse before it gets better it looks like."
THE COMMENT HAS BEEN MADE THAT PART OF THE REASON WE ARE SEEING SOME OF THE ROUGH DRIVING IS THAT THE YOUNGER DRIVERS, THE 25 YEAR-OLDS, THIS IS THE WAY THEY KNOW HOW TO RACE AND THE OLDER GUYS CAME UP AT A DIFFERENT TIME AND HAVE A DIFFERENT WAY OF LOOKING AT RACING, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? "That and younger guys coming in aren't accustomed to running 500-mile races or 500-lap races and realizing that you have to be patient and you have to have respect for each other. It's something that was always self-policing. In this era, we have lost some great race car drivers and nobody really wants to have to self-police on the race track like we used. If you did something wrong to somebody, they waited, it may have been five, six, ten weeks down the road, but somewhere along the line, you got paid back and you got wrecked and while you were sitting there wrecked and going why did I get put here, it makes you think about...well, maybe it's about something I did earlier. You just don't see as much of that as you used and that was the way it used to fix itself and in my opinion, that is what it needs to get back to again."
IN THE CHASE MINDSET, AT WHAT POINT TO THE RATIO SHIFT FROM WINNING AND HAVING TO SAVE POINTS AND NOT BE OVER AGGRESSIVE? "I think if you are in the top three or four guys right now, that is all you are worrying about is getting wins. You have that cushion with enough points to not have to worry about not making the Chase so it is a matter of just getting the wins. If you are ninth through 12th right now, you are worrying about just making sure you have enough points to be in it and going from there. It just depends on where you are at in the standings right now."
IS THERE OVER AGGRESSION IN THE TOP-15 GUYS BECAUSE OF TRYING TO GET IN THE CHASE AND WITH THE YOUNGER GUYS, IS THERE A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY BECAUSE THE RACE CAR IS SO SAFE? "I honestly don't know if that is the case because they didn't have softer walls in the tracks they came up from so you could still hit hard. I just think that the style of racing that most of the younger guys are accustomed to. That is style of racing I was accustomed to when I came here, but you learn from the veterans that's not how we race here. Some of the veterans and even some of the younger guys that have already figured it out take the bull by the horns and remind these guys that this is not how we race."
-source: gm racing