Phoenix: Stewart - Friday media visit

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT / OLD SPICE CHEVROLET met with media to discuss racing at Phoenix, a special paint scheme on his car this weekend, and much more. ON HOW THE OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET HAS DONE SO FAR THIS TODAY, AND ALSO...

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT / OLD SPICE CHEVROLET met with media to discuss racing at Phoenix, a special paint scheme on his car this weekend, and much more.

ON HOW THE OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET HAS DONE SO FAR THIS TODAY, AND ALSO WHAT BEING GREEN MEANS TO YOU..."I got a different perspective in turn four that I haven't seen before; I never spun there before, but I got to see that today. The practices have been really good, both in race trim and in qualifying trim. It's nice to do well when you have a special paint scheme. I've never really had a lot of luck with them, so it's nice to have that today and to actually have some luck in practice and to have a good car. I'm really excited for tomorrow. The program that we're talking about and what we're talking about in the big picture, relates to the 400 acres I have in Indiana where we raise a lot of wildlife. Obviously what we do as a society and how we take care of this Earth is dictating how we protect our wildlife too, and that's a really big deal to me. Obviously this is a program that I'm really proud of, and really proud of Office Depot for how they've taken the initiative for being proactive versus reactive, and to really work hard to make it better for everybody. I'm never a fan of green racecars, ever. I think this is the only time that I've ever approved a green paint scheme in my entire racing career, but this cause was definitely worth that."

WHY IS EVERYBODY SPINNING OUT? ARE THE TIRES TOO HARD FOR THE WEATHER TODAY BECAUSE I KNOW THEY TESTED THOSE BACK IN NOVEMBER OR DECEMBER?

"No, in our situation I just pushed too hard and got it loose. When I got it out, I couldn't get it back; it was just kind of a slow, lazy spin. I don't know about the 18 and the 48 spins; I don't know what their scenarios were there. That's what happened with us--it wasn't a big drama. I just got it loose and I couldn't get it corrected fast enough to get it back underneath me. I just lost it the rest of the way."

AT FIVE RACES IN, COULD YOU TALK ABOUT WHERE YOUR TEAM IS AT AND HOW FAR YOUR TEAM CAN GO. "Well you never know. This is a sport where technology changes every week. It's hard to say where you can go because it's a week-to-week sport, whereas other pro sports it is pretty much where it is. There isn't a whole lot of technology that changes other sports. That's where what we do is different. I would like to be a little higher in the points, but the main thing is just being in the top-12 and after 26 races still being in the top-12 and having everything ready for that last 10 race stretch."

WITH THE SPOILER, THE ADDED GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED FINISHES, AND THE ADDED DISTANCE, DOES ALL OF THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE OR IS IT NOT REALLY THAT BIG OF A DEAL? "It's not that big of a deal."

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT BEING GREENER THROUGH OFFICE DEPOT'S PROGRAM AND TELL US ABOUT YOUR SPECIAL PAINT SCHEME FOR THE WEEKEND?

"Well I have learned so far is that it doesn't take near as much effort as everybody thinks it does to make a pretty big impact. Its little things just like what we do at the track. NASCAR has been proactive about this for a long time with SafetyKleen, whether it's oil depositing it in the right containers, or at our shop we have our heating and air conditioning system that after five o'clock it goes into conservation mode. It may not keep the temperate at 70 degrees, but it is a lot more efficient at night, so we aren't constantly using energy. The lights are on timers and motion sensors, so if no one is in the room and it doesn't detect motion after a certain amount of time, it shuts the lights off. It's just little things like that that when everybody does it, it makes a huge impact on what we all do. Just being smart in little ways; it's kind of like the voting deal where you think that one person can't make an difference but it does. Just a little bit of effort can make a huge impact on how we all live down the road."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE EFFECT OF THE SUN SETTING BOTH ON QUALIFYING TONIGHT AND THE RACE TOMORROW NIGHT? CAN YOU DEFINE WHAT THAT'S LIKE AND DO YOU USUALLY HAVE AN ISSUE WITH THAT? "Wait until dark, go out on the interstate, stand out in the middle of the lane and wait for cars to come with their high beams on--that's what it's like. It is kind of difficult here because you're going directly into the sun. The nice thing about here is that as the session goes on, the sun will go behind the suites and with the suites being as high as they are, it will bring the shade in sooner. Depending on what you draw, it will make it better for you or worse as far as that sun is. Qualifying really does go pretty quick here so it will be about the same for everybody."

DENNY FACES A SITUATION OF POTENTIALLY HAVING TO HAND HIS CAR OVER TO A RELIEF DRIVER TOMORROW NIGHT--YOU'VE BEEN THERE AND YOU'VE HAD TO DO THAT. CAN YOU TELL US WHAT THAT'S LIKE, NOT ONLY FROM AN EMOTIONAL STANDPOINT, BUT ALSO FROM A PRIDE STANDPOINT--IT'S YOUR CAR, YOUR NAME IS ON THE DOOR, DOES ANY OF THAT PLAY INTO IT? "It never did from my standpoint because it took a lot to get me out of a racecar. If someone gets out of their race car, you know that they're in a lot of pain or they don't feel well. My mindset is that if I can't focus on what I need to do, then I'm not doing a good job for the team and the best thing I can do is get somebody in who can focus. No driver wants to get out of a racecar, but this is a sport where we play sick, we play hurt, we don't get substitutions. When you get in a situation like this where you may have to put somebody else in there, you realize that it isn't something that happens very often here, so it's unfortunately a necessary to be in a situation where you have somebody on standby. This isn't a sport where if you go out-of-bounds it's no big deal and a ref just blows a whistle, this is a sport where if you go out-of-bounds it's going to hurt. It would make his situation worse if he has a problem."

NEXTERA, YOU GUYS DO A LOT OF WIND POWER AND SOLAR POWER STUFF, DO YOU GUYS PLAN ON DOING ANYTHING IN NASCAR OTHER THAN JUST SPONSORING TO HELP THE SPORT BECOME GREENER? "NextEra Rep: We've had a partnership with ISC for a number of years and we're evaluating different alternatives for things we can do at their tracks. Primarily, in our first sponsorship arrangement with ISC, we offset the carbon footprint for the events at Daytona and Homestead, and now we're looking to do the same thing through the Office Depot balancing effort here. We're also looking at the land that ISC has at its various tracks, and trying to determine if we could install solar or wind technology at the facilities. "

AFTER BEING AN OWNER FOR A LITTLE OVER A YEAR NOW, HAVE YOU LEARNED ANY NEW STRATEGIES THAT HAVE CHANGED THE DIRECTION OF YOUR TEAM, OR HAVE YOU SET ANY NEW GOALS FOR YOUR TEAM OR RYAN'S TEAM? "No, not really. The good thing is that we got off on the right foot last year, so we got in that mode and got in the right direction to start with. The hard thing is that the technology constantly changes each week and what you're doing to the racecars to try to keep that balance is the direction that we're trying to find and that everybody is trying to find. There is no magic to it; it is literally just going and trying to do a better job than everybody else trying to figure it out. There is no set direct plan saying this is the direction that we'll go, but that's the plan that we've had since we've started, so we'll stay that way."

WE TALKED ABOUT THE FACTOR OF EVERYTHING BEING UP ON THE EDGE AT TALLADEGA IS THAT EVER UNSETTLING TO YOU? "Any time that you're running 180 miles-an-hour and not even two guys need to make a mistake that can wreck 20 cars, that's always a little unnerving, but it is what it is and the fans think it's the greatest thing in the world. As long as they keep liking it, we'll keep doing it."

CAN YOU SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT JIMMIE JOHNSON IS DOING AND WHAT THE REST OF THE FIELD NEEDS TO DO TO TRY TO KEEP PACE? "He's winning; it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. If any of us knew what they were doing, he wouldn't have won four in a row. You're asking for an answer to a question that we're all trying to figure out right now."

-source: gm racing

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