TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE SWAGGER/OFFICE DEPOT IMPALA SS AND RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION/US ARMY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media and discussed Gillette involvement in the rescheduled Prelude to the Dream on Wednesday,...
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE SWAGGER/OFFICE DEPOT IMPALA SS AND RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION/US ARMY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media and discussed Gillette involvement in the rescheduled Prelude to the Dream on Wednesday, September 9; racing at Pocono, if qualifying gets rained out and other topics.
TONY STEWART - TALK ABOUT GILLETTE COMING ON BOARD FOR THE PRELUDE TO THE DREAM AND MAKING THE EVENT AVAILABLE ON HBO PAY-FOR-VIEW:
TONY STEWART: "Gillette has saved us all. They are the superheroes in this today. You know it was hard to have to call the race off because of the rain. All of the drivers were ready, all of the teams that supplied cars that were ready and we already had a ton of fans at the race track in June. To have to call that, makes you feel like you are going to your own execution, unfortunately. Due to everybody at Gillette, they have brought it back. We had rescheduled the race anyway but we didn't think that we were going to be able to do the pay-for-view side and that is where the majority of the funds for the charities come from. Thanks to Gillette coming on board here, they have saved the Prelude and being able to help us support our troops as well as fallen and injured soldiers. It just shows how caring the Gillette family and the two Gillette Young Guns we have here (Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne). The whole line-up for Gillette is coming to the Prelude so I think these guys have figured out that when they shave, they have less drag, so they have an advantage on us so I am trying it today myself."
FOUR MILITARY CHARITIES BENEFIT FROM THE MONEY RAISED FROM THE PRELUDE, TALK ABOUT THE CHARITIES:
RYAN NEWMAN: "For all of us, everybody in the United States to be doing what we are doing today, whether it is work or enjoyment and pleasure for us, it is both, we're loving what we are doing. Giving back and thanking the injured and fallen soldiers who gave us the opportunity to be here doing what we are doing today, is what we are very thankful for. In the grand scheme of things, one race at Eldora Speedway is small but it is the idea and the principle behind it to help out for those people who have given us the opportunity and the freedom that we have. For me, having over one million US Army soldiers that are fighting for our freedom each and every day, it is just, for me this year especially, it has given me a little bit more of an eye opener to the things that have gone on in the past. I'm extremely gratified to be in the position that I am. I really look forward to the Prelude because like you said, it is a lot of fun, but when you put the fun with fans and the great cause, it should be the makings of a great day."
DOES BEING ABLE TO GET THE SUPPORT FROM GILLETTE SO QUICKLY FOR THE RE-SCHEDULED EVENT SAY TO YOU HOW IMPORTANT THE EVEN IS? COULD YOU HAVE CONTINUED TO DO IT WITHOUT IT?
TONY STEWART: "I would like to believe that is what it is due to. This is an event that gets talked about for a long time mainly because of the drivers. The drivers are excited to do it. It is a chance for us to get out of our element. There are a lot of us that do run dirt tracks occasionally, but that is where a lot of nervousness from the guys who don't go run it a lot because they don't know who they are racing against. Where this is an event where the drivers they are racing against are the same guys they race against every weekend. There is not that pressure of running against a bunch of guys they don't know. That makes it a lot more appealing to these guys who don't get a chance to do it very much.
"To have Gillette come on board this quickly I think shows how caring they are and how much they respect our Armed Forces. How much they respect the charity side to want to step up and be a part of this and work as hard as they have to make this happen for us as quickly as they did. It is very impressive."
STEWART - HOW CHALLENGING IS THIS GOING TO BE DOING IT THE WEEK OF RICHMOND AND HOW IMPRESSED ARE YOU THAT THE DRIVERS ARE GOING TO DO THIS DESPITE IT BEING SO CLOSE TO THE START OF THE CHASE?
TONY STEWART: "Logistics wise it's really not that big of a challenge. The reason is that it is changed to that date is because that is the weekend of the World 100 at Eldora which is our biggest race of the year. The same teams that supplied cars for the Prelude in June are the same teams that ran the Dream that weekend also. Logistically it's easier for the teams that supply to cars. For the drivers, what we did when we sent out the invitations, that was the date that we had with the original proposal to have for a rain date because of that. To have these drivers who have already all committed up to this point, every one of them and we have Marcos Ambrose and we are adding A.J. Allmendinger to the line-up. To have all these guys that excited about, most of them had committed the same day we were supposed to have the race and got rained out, most of them had already committed to coming back. There were a couple who had schedule conflicts that they actually worked around and got us back in to it. To see how dedicated and committed everybody is, that is what makes me so proud to race with these guys every week. You are fierce competitors everyday you are here at the race track. But the one thing that you are proud of and that you learn when you come to NASCAR is that these drivers are very giving people and giving back to their communities and they support each other's charities and causes. To see all these guys commit that early and the guys that had conflicts worked so hard to re-work their schedules to make sure that they could be there has been very humbling to me and I am very appreciative from our side."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS IF WEATHER DOES RAIN OUT QUALIFYING TODAY AND HAVING THE BEST PIT STALL SELECTION AS THE POINT'S LEADER:
TONY STEWART: "I'll take it. I am all for raining because of that. That is a selfish reason obviously. It would be nice to get on the race track today and get our practice session in. I'm ok if qualifying gets rained out. Really was a benefit having that first pit selection last time, especially our situation of myself crashing the car in practice and having to go to the back for race day. That helped us gain a lot of spots on pit road. It helped take what should have been an extremely long day and make it a good day."
TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THE RACES LEADING UP TO THE CHASE?
RYAN NEWMAN: "I look forward to the races that we have and obviously, to come back to Pocono where we had a great redemption day last June. Some of the tracks that we go to, be it Bristol or Richmond and Michigan and places like that where we can expand on the performances that we had that got us in to the Chase. I look forward to going back to those race tracks. We have to keep our noses to the grind stone and one eye looking forward and one eye in the rear view mirror but focus on going forward. Protect what we have got but at the same time, put ourselves in a position to continue to learn and get that first victory and answer that question in respect to everyone saying 'do you belong in the Chase?'
DID YOU HAVE AN ADJUSTMENT AS AN OWNER/DRIVER EARLY ON OR DID YOU JUST HIT YOUR STRIDE EASILY?
TONY STEWART: "I really believe that it seemed like once we went to Daytona and got through SpeedWeeks, we clicked right away and much quicker obviously than any of us would have predicted. We thought for sure, it might take half of the season before we kind of started hitting our stride. To run third in the Shootout and second in our qualifying race and eighth in the 500, those were three really important races to us from the communications side. Then we go to California and finish eighth. You get away from the superspeedway side there, it just seemed like everywhere we went, our communication has been really good and comfortable. From that side it has felt comfortable from day one. It has just kind of been fun."
STEWART - WHERE ARE YOU ABOUT ADDING A THIRD TEAM TO STEWART-HAAS RACING:
TONY STEWART: "We are definitely open to it for sure. We are interested for sure. We feel like it is a matter of timing, it is everything. I don't know that something would happen for next year. I think we are getting close to the stage of the season where it may get too late to have that opportunity to add a third car for next year. It is something that at least as a company we feel comfortable with and feel like with the right opportunity, that it is definitely possible."
YOU DON'T RACE ANY DIFFERENTLY FROM WEEK TO WEEK, BUT WITH THE POINT STANDINGS LEAD, WILL YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT FROM A PREPARATION STANDPOINT?
TONY STEWART: "I don't believe so from that standpoint. I think the only difference you would see would be a race like we had here in June.
"Where we were running good in the point stands, we have the opportunity to try and win it on fuel mileage. We legitimately drove ourselves to that position. Having the risk versus reward of taking a chance to win and get those 10 points, that's the difference right now. You know, the stuff that you do to get here, you don't want to change that. Obviously what we have been doing at the shop and the things that we do during the race weekend to get ready for the race, you don't want to change it because it has been working. So from that side, you do the same things to try and win the race each week. You look at the strategy of the race and some guys are fighting to stay in the top-12 or the top-35, our challenge is a little different. Our challenge is to try to get those 10 bonus points so our strategy allows us to take some more calculated risk and have the opportunity to take more chances out there to try and win more races."
HOW TOUGH IS IT TO SWEEP BOTH RACES AT A TRACK, ESPECIALLY HERE?
TONY STEWART: "It is pretty cool when you go to venues twice during the year if you can win both of them. I know we did that In Dover early in my Cup career and that was a pretty cool weekend. It is hard to win one race. It is that much harder when you only have two chances. If you can win both of them, it makes it very very special. Having the first one under our belt here and having a car that drove well all day, that is already a step in the right direction for us leading in to this weekend. I mean we have got a lot of confidence before we even it the track."
ARE YOU JUST RIDING THE WAVE UNTIL YOU FALL OFF THE SURF BOARD?
TONY STEWART: "You want to keep doing what you are doing. Obviously, it is hard to imagine that you are going to have everything go exactly your way for 38 weeks. Honestly, we had Vegas where we had a loose wheel and ended up 24th or 26th that day. We have had days that didn't exactly go right. The good thing is we have had so many days that have went right, it has kind of over shadowed that. We know what the reality is, we know there are only a certain number of variables that we can control and there are a lot of variables that we can't. All we can do is focus on those variables that we can and we'll cross the bridge if and when something else happens, we'll deal with it the best we can. In the meantime when you are having success like this and you are having consistent runs, you focus on doing what has kept you to this point."
HOW COMFORTABLE ARE YOU WITH YOUR SPOT IN THE CHASE?
RYAN NEWMAN: "I'm going to say 1/12th. Realistically, it is racing. Just like Tony was just talking about, you never know what situation you are going to have. Jimmie didn't think we was going to crash at Loudon two years ago or whatever it was, the first race. You just never know. So whoever is the favorite, look at last year with Kyle Busch, whoever the favorite, there are pitfalls. You put yourself in a position to be in it if you do a good enough job. Then once you are, you do your best and if your best is good enough, you will be at that head table. As simple as it sounds, that is what it comes down to."
-credit: gm racing