TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed racing at Martinsville, Juan Pablo Montoya, catching and beating Jimmie Johnson, the success of Stewart-Haas Racing and...
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed racing at Martinsville, Juan Pablo Montoya, catching and beating Jimmie Johnson, the success of Stewart-Haas Racing and other topics.
TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND. "Yeah, I like Martinsville. This is a fun track to us. One we look forward to coming to each year. Just excited about it. We didn't have a very good practice this morning but we'll sit back and its Darian Grubb's (crew chief) strength to sit in there after practice is over and try to dissect over all the information and coming up with a game plan so hopefully we'll get a little better practice in tomorrow and not get totally rained out."
ONE OF THE GUYS WHO HAS MADE THE BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT THIS YEAR IS JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, AS SOMEBODY WHO IS RACING WITH HIM WHERE HAVE YOU SEEN HIM PICK UP RELATIVE TO THE OTHER DRIVERS AND WHAT ARE HIS STRENGTHS? "His strengths are he just has a ton of talent. What he's done different I don't know. I mean right before the Chase started they started hitting and really found something that seems to be working everywhere for them. His talent showed the first day he showed up here in a Cup car so that side of it hasn't changed. He's been there all along."
HOW BIG WAS THE SPRING MARTINSVILLE FOR YOU AND HOW HAS YOUR SEASON PROGRESSED FOR BOTH YOU AND NEWMAN BECAUSE YOU'VE BEEN PRETTY AWESOME SINCE? "Well you kind of answered your own question. But yeah it was a good feeling to get our first top-five here. It's been an awesome year. Obviously to come here that early in the year and get our first top-five was a big momentum boost for the whole organization. The same day that we got our first top-five here I think Ryan ended up eighth but he charged from the back to do it twice I think. Even though he didn't get the lime light at the end of it he probably had more of an impressive day with his run then we had with ours. I think we both left here with the feeling that we had two great race teams that were able to be competitive and be able to fight back and have good runs."
COULD YOU TALK ABOUT THE ATMOSPHERE IN THIS GARAGE GIVING PEOPLE ADVICE AS TO OPPOSED TO OPEN-WHEEL RACING, IS IT A BIG ADJUSTMENT FOR SOMEONE FROM A DIFFERENT CIRCUIT TO BE OPEN ABOUT GIVING TIPS? "Yeah, I think a lot of the other forms of racing I've been a part of you didn't see that a lot but here you see that more and more. I think it's because the guys respect each other more here but at the same time if the guys that you're racing with are out there making mistakes they're putting you at just as much risk especially in a 500-lap race. At some point you are going to be around them and if they're doing things wrong that puts you in a bad spot. You help them out and the thing is it's kind of a cycle. I mean there was somebody that helped us out when we first came in and I think ads our careers progress and mature we all do the same thing for the new guys coming in as it is their turn. It just seems like it's a cycle that the veteran drivers help the rookies."
WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE? "Well when they're beating you, you stop. That's a pretty easy line to draw. You go back to them and say hey, now what do I need to do. You don't tell them how to do everything, but you explain to them the etiquette involved, you explain to them the little things that help as the day goes on. It's not always things that's going to help them beat you but its stuff that's going to help them have a more enjoyable day and keep them from having as many problems on the race track."
COULD YOU COMMENT ON SOUTH BOSTON SPEEDWAY? "I ran a midget race there but I don't really remember much about it. I've only been there I think twice total and the one night we got rained out so I didn't even get a chance to run. It seemed like a fun track. I didn't run there in anything heavy just ran the midget division that night and we had fun. It was a fun track to run with those cars but I haven't really been there with any other type of race car."
AT THE US NATIONALS TONY SCHUMACHER SAID THAT YOU AND HE MADE ARRANGEMENTS TO TRADE HELMETS, DO YOU COLLECT THESE HELMETS AND IF SO HOW MANY OF THEM DO YOU HAVE? "I've probably now got around somewhere from 70 to 75. Some of them are helmets that I've traded with people but I've just bought individual collections through the years since I started in 1999. The first helmet that I traded in the Cup Series was with Elliott Sadler who I was running for rookie of the year with. Every year I trade helmets with drivers in the series and the collection just keeps growing. One day we'll have a nice place to display them all to everybody but right now a lot of them are in boxes but one day we know we'll have some place nice we can let everybody enjoy them."
HOW TOUGH IS IT FOR A YOUNG DRIVER TO GET THAT BREAK AND WHAT CAN THEY DO TO HELP THEMSELVES? "It's sure math. There's 43 guys that run the race every week here. There's probably nowadays close to one million drivers in the United States so do the math. Figure out what he odds are making one out of 43 out of one million people and that's how hard it is to get that opportunity. There is no clear cut way and sure thing. The only thing that I can tell you is a sure cut way to do it is to win races to where you're in the paper every week for winning races. That's about the only way that you can guarantee that somebody is going to notice you."
ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE ANYTHING NEW FOR 2010 IN REGARDS TO NEW RACE TEAMS, TRACKS ANY MORE BIG EVENTS? "No, I'm full right now. I'm hoping to have a little bit of an off-season and actually have a life after the next five weeks is over. This winter was a long winter for us getting ready for what we're doing this year and this year has been a long season so I think we've got enough right now. We don't have any plans for anything next year."
WHAT DOES STEWART-HAAS RACING HAVE FOR THE END OF THE SEASON GIVEN THE SURGE YOU HAD AT THE BEGINNING TO GET IT ALL TOGETHER? "We're still just trying to take it one week at a time like we did at the beginning of the year. Darian has got his list of cars that he wants to take to what race tracks we have left. We are just making pushes to try and finish strong. I mean, we are doing the best we can every week and that is all I can ask them to do every week."
WHAT DRIVERS HELPED YOU OUT WHEN YOU CAME IN TO NASCAR? "Bobby Labonte, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, those were probably the three guys I leaned on the most. A lot of that is because I got to run with them in the Nationwide Series too. Obviously, Bobby Labonte was my teammate. I ran just about every week with Mark and Jeff. So they were a big help also."
HOW DISAPPOINTING WOULD IT BE FOR YOU IF YOU DON'T WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? WHAT IN YOUR OPINION HAS TO HAPPEN FOR YOU TO CATCH THE NO. 48? "In the next five races, we have to get 156 more points than he does. That is the reality of it. There is nothing that says if we do this this this and this that is going to guarantee that we can even get there. A lot of it is dictated by what those guys do too in front of us. It is about math. I mean, there is no magic to it. We have got to go out and...we could finish 20th the next five races if they finish 42nd or 43rd. It's literally about math. We just have to figure out how we can outperform them and this is a part of the year when they are strong. I don't know if we can do that. So to answer your question if we are going to be disappointed, of course we are going to be disappointed. But, at the same time, we're happy for what we have been able to accomplish this year. Is it going to be the end of our world? Absolutely not. I mean, no matter where our two teams end up this year, we have a lot to be proud of by just by making the Chase, we did more 99.9% of the people in this room said we could do to begin with and we exceeded our own expectations. What we get from here forward is a bonus. But we are competitors. We want to win every time that we go out. Of course we want to win the championship, but, it's not going to be a great thing if we don't win it but at the same time it is not going to be the end of our world."
-credit: gm racing