Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Monte Carlo SS met with media and discussed his recent back-to-back wins, climbing the fence to the flagstand, momentum during the summer months, and the importance of wins from now until the Chase ON HIS...
Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Monte Carlo SS met with media and discussed his recent back-to-back wins, climbing the fence to the flagstand, momentum during the summer months, and the importance of wins from now until the Chase
ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT: "It's not going to be very good. I got really loose in the center of (Turns) 1 and 2. That's not going to be a very good run."
DOES IT MATTER? "Yeah, track position is big here. If you've got a car that's capable of getting to the front, you'll get there anyway. But it just doesn't make it easy here. It's hard to pass here."
ON GOING FOR THREE WINS IN A ROW: "It's another week. I'm not looking at it from that standpoint. I'm just trying to figure out how to get back into victory lane here at Pocono. It's been a long time since we won here. So that would be a nice weekend to get another win here."
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE SUMMER WHEN THE NO. 20 TEAM HEATS UP? "I don't know. It's been that way for nine years now. If you can figure it out, let us know."
LAST WEEK YOU TOOK YOUR GUYS UP THE FENCE TO THE FLAGSTAND WITH YOU. IF YOU WIN HERE ON SUNDAY, WILL YOU DO THAT AGAIN? "Last week is a little different deal (Brickyard). That place is real special to me. So that's probably a one-off deal there."
WAS THIS WEEK ANY DIFFERENT FOR YOU? DID YOU DO ANYTHING TO CELEBRATE YOUR WIN? "Nope."
ARE YOU TAKING ANYTHING FROM WHAT THE NO. 11 (DENNY HAMLIN) HAD IN THEIR SET-UP HERE LAST YEAR? "We always end up with a little bit different package just because what he likes feel-wise is a little different than what I like. But we still are able to share notes as far as what makes the cars do what. But our driving styles are just different enough to where we have a little bit different package."
ON THE MOMENTUM THE NO. 20 TEAM IS STARTING TO BUILD "You win two races in a row and everybody says you've got a big momentum run. So you tell me. You guys (the media) are the ones who call it that."
BUT YOU'VE BEEN CONSISTENT ALL YEAR. YOU'RE JUST NOW GETTING THE FINISHES YOU WANT, RIGHT? "No, I wasn't looking for two wins last week (laughs). So, yeah, that's what we want obviously and I've gotten over that bad luck slump thing. We should have won six or seven races by this time of year already; including the last two weeks. Hopefully we got that monkey off our back that's kept us from winning a bunch of races by now."
DO YOU THINK NASCAR'S FINE WAS TOO EXCESSIVE? "No. They needed to do that. And you understand why. It's just one of those deals where you're so excited that you're not even thinking about what you're saying. NASCAR did the right thing there. Obviously if we had 10 minutes to think about what we were going to say before we said things it would give us a bigger advantage of not getting into those situations. But that's why this sport is so exciting, too. You get to hear the emotion and feel the excitement from drivers or the disappointment, depending on what happens."
HAVE YOU AND KEVIN HARVICK TALKED SINCE INDY? "Yeah, we talked last night. And I know what he was disappointed about. He should have run second. He had the second best car for sure. Kevin and I are good friends and we talked about it last night. I would have been upset if the roles were reversed too. I can't blame him for that. I made a mistake. I let the car get too high. I've heard differences of opinions from people watching the tape but I still take responsibility for it. I would never race Kevin like that on purpose. I don't race anybody like that on purpose because I'm big about racing guys clean and having them race me clean. But the thing is, when I make a mistake I fess up to it right away and I did it right in victory lane when we won the race. We had more to lose there then to gain in that situation. So it shows how big a race it is to everybody. Finishing second there would have been a heck of a lot better for him than seventh, for sure."
IS THERE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN THE WAY THE POCONO TRACK IS NOW COMPARED WITH HOW IT WAS WHEN NASCAR WAS HERE IN JUNE? "It's just warmer. And anytime it gets warmer, it gets slipperier, which actually plays into my favor most of the time. So I'm kind of excited to see it get warm now."
ON THE TRACKS COMING UP THAT ARE GOOD FOR HIM. CAN YOU GAIN ON JEFF GORDON? "You never know. And it's not important. The big thing is to just get as many wins as you can get before the Chase starts to get those bonus points. Whether you're first or 12th doesn't matter. It's how many races you can win in the meantime and get those 10 extra bonus points right now."
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOW YOU'RE RUNNING NOW COMPARED TO THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON? "We had bad luck. That's all you can attribute it to. The performance on the track has been good, it's just that now we're getting the finishes to go with it. We had bad luck to where either I would mess up and cause a pit lane speeding violation that was my fault of fuel pump cables breaking or things that just kept us out of victory lane; just bad luck. Finally, hopefully we're through that back luck string."
A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO YOU GOT TO GO TO SHARON SPEEDWAY AND BATTLE WITH KEVIN HARVICK, CLINT BOWYER, AND DAVE BLANEY. ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING BACK THERE? "Yeah. I ran Tuesday on the dirt too. If I could run on a dirt track once a week and still run the Cup stuff, that would be like a perfect week for me."
-credit: gm racing