Continued from part 1 Tony Stewart IT WAS A PRETTY WARM DAY OUT THERE TODAY. DO YOU USE UP MORE ENERGY OUT THERE OR WAS IT A PRETTY LEISURELY DRIVE OUT THERE? DID YOU FEEL THE HEAT AT ALL? "If you think that was leisurely, I'll put you a...
Continued from part 1
IT WAS A PRETTY WARM DAY OUT THERE TODAY. DO YOU USE UP MORE ENERGY OUT THERE OR WAS IT A PRETTY LEISURELY DRIVE OUT THERE? DID YOU FEEL THE HEAT AT ALL?
"If you think that was leisurely, I'll put you a seat in there and you can ride around. The thing to always keep in mind, I have been sick all weekend and I didn't even tell Zippy until this morning because I didn't want anybody worrying and I didn't know what we could do about it anyhow. I have had a cold for three days. So I worked hard to stay hydrated throughout the weekend because I knew it was going to be hot out there. I don't care if it is monster trucks, drag cars, sprint cars, stock cars, Indy cars - if it is driving well, you don't use near as much energy as you do if it isn't driving right. If it isn't driving right, you are fighting it. If you are fighting it, you are using energy. That made it easier for me today. I knew in happy hour that I had a good driving car. I told him this morning, so if I started struggling a little bit, be patient with me because this is what was going on. He knew that and he kept telling me on the radio during every caution to keep drinking my liquids, keep drinking my water. That is the kind of relationship we have. He knows when I am struggling. It is the little things like that that make a difference. Even though we were working on the race car, he was working on me as the driver, as much as working on the car. That is the kind of things we do."
CAN YOU SAY THAT TODAY'S WIN WILL GIVE YOU THE MOMENTUM TO GO ON A RUN AND HAVE A STREAK LIKE YOU DID LAST YEAR?
"You guys are getting way too deep in to this. We won a race today guys. Next week we might fall on our face, next week we might win again. Who knows. We don't know, you guys are asking good questions but none of us know what is going to happen next week. We don't know if this is a momentum builder. We know going into this weekend we had a good shot at winning this race versus the other ones we have already had. I don't know. If it leads to a good run, great. But there is nothing we learned here that we are going to take to the week after that. We are at Martinsville, it is a short track race. Next week we go to Texas. Nothing we learned here is going to get applied to the Texas car. Then we go to Talladega soon and nothing from here or Texas is going to apply to that. I wish I knew the answer to that. I hope it leads to a streak. But there is not any evidence to back that up and support that right now."
CAN YOU REPEAT WHAT YOU DID LAST YEAR?
"Sure, about every three months of my career I go into a five racing winning streak in my head. It's tough competition. I may not win another race the whole year. I hope I win 10 more but I may not win another race this year. That's how tough it is right now."
WERE YOU SURPISED HOW QUICK YOU WERE ABLE TO PULL AWAY ON THE THREE-LAP SHOOT-OUT?
"Yeah, I was. Jeff got a really good re-start the time before, a lot of that was because I let him get a good restart. He was hanging back and kind of rolling the re-start to where he had more speed coming. So when I took off he had more momentum built up than I had at that time. The second I just kept watching in the mirror I told Greg that he's hanging back again. I just kept running pace car speed and he just catching me. Finally he ran into me and ran into me and took me clear up off the ground and spun the tires before I even got on the gas and as soon as he sat me down I took off. I don't know what happened behind but all I wanted to do was get two car lengths on him getting into one so I could get through one clean without him right behind me. If we could get a way a little bit then I could go back to running my line, my pace versus driving the car on the entry of the corner to get away from him to where they can't get to you in the center."
ON HIS FENCE CELEBRATION:
"When we did that at Daytona, it was just one of those spur moment things. I wish everybody had the opportunity to be up there during something like that because that is the coolest view to see people no matter what kind of driver they're supporting they're still cheering because they know that before you even celebrate with your race team, you're celebrating with them. To climb up there, that's a pretty cool view and to have that opportunity to win races and know that when I win a race I can go up there and have that view. If they don't enjoy that and they don't like it anymore then that's the day I'll quit doing it. Trust me it's tough for a fat kid like me climbing up these fences after you just got done running 500 laps with a cold for three days. I would never let those fans down. The response every time we've done that has been so overwhelming that that is part of victory celebration. When I get that checkered flag first that's part of what I look forward about winning races, celebrating with the fans like that."
HOW HAPPY ARE YOU THEY DIDN'T TURN THIS PLACE INTO A POND?
"I'd like to see them do to this place like what they do at Bristol - once a year put dirt on it and let us race on it as a dirt track because this place would be a cool dirt track too. I like it the way it is, trust me. The speedway has done such a good job and staff here has done good of making improvements here - giving us new garages here, fresh asphalt, fresh concrete in the corners. They've really taken what was a very aged race track and make it modern and something that we're all excited about racing on. The racing here has been awesome since they did everything that they've done. As a fellow promoter I'm excited to see things like this happen and see how excited the promoters are to do things to make the competition better like this."
Greg Zipadelli , crew chief for the No. 20 The Home Depot Monte Carlo SS
"Thanks for allowing me to come back again. This is a good sign when you get to come back in here for a few minutes.
"We had a great race car all weekend. We practiced well, we qualified well and we raced well. We got a little bit behind there at one time. We had made an air pressure adjustment and made it just a little too tight. We had to go back and then back again there with about 130 or so to go. We were hoping that we were going to get the opportunity there to get another set of tires on it and change what we did."
ON HOW GREAT OF A DRIVER TONY STEWART IS AND WORKING WITH HIM:
"He drove a great race today. He stayed focused and concentrated and didn't use himself up here, mentally or physically. That is one thing I said to him earlier, it didn't matter how well we ran at the beginning, we needed to have enough there to run at the end. We have gone out and led a lot of laps in the past and haven't been able to close the deal. Today, we really wanted to close the deal and make sure we were there at the end. He did everything he had to do, he ran as hard as he needed to all day long."
DOES IT SEEM TO YOU THAT THE RACING IS A LITTLE ROUGHER OUT THERE THIS SEASON?
"Well, he got into Jimmie (Johnson) a couple of times there getting up off the corner because Jimmie's car wouldn't go and that was for the lead and for the win. That is just short track racing. When we did get by him, we drove away. Other than that, we didn't touch a single person all day long. That is fairly black and white. Some days, it has been the other way around. But you are right, that seems like it has been a little more the nature this year. "
IS SHORT TRACK RACING NERVE RATTLING FOR THE GUYS ON THE BOX AND IS IT MORE DIFFICULT TO CALL A SHORT TRACK RACE?
"I think it is. There is a lot less room for error. As far as adjustments, you are doing fine adjustments. As far as track position, it is so important, you want to make the right decisions, the right call all the time. If you pit and everyone else behind you stays out or you stay out and everyone behind you stays in, this is one of those tracks that you will pay for it all day long."
WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE TODAY IN WINNING COMPARED TO LAST YEAR'S RACES WHEN YOU DOMINATED AND DIDN'T WIN?
"It is frustrating to run as good as we have this year and not be able to close the deal. Like I said earlier, that is one of the things we talked about before this race was to really concentrate at being there at the end. At that one stage, we made some adjustments to tighten up our car and I think it hurt it. The 48 had made some changes and theirs got better. There at the end, I think it flip-flopped. They did something on that last stop and we went back to where we were at the beginning of the race. The track temp had come down and we were good enough to hang with him and Tony did a good job of working him over."