TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: ON GOING TO NEW YORK CITY FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE SEPT. 11 ATTACKS: "I feel bad about going up there. I'm not sure I want to get that close to it, to be honest - not because I'm scared...
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON GOING TO NEW YORK CITY FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE SEPT. 11 ATTACKS: "I feel bad about going up there. I'm not sure I want to get that close to it, to be honest - not because I'm scared about being there, just because I feel bad about being that close to where so many people's lives were lost and so many people's lives were changed. "It's just a bad feeling to be that close to where it all happened."
HOW BIG OF AN IMPACT DID THE ATTACKS HAVE ON YOU PERSONALLY?: "It was big. I was laying in bed and got a phone call from a friend that said, 'Hey, do you have your TV on?' I said, 'No, I don't.' He said, 'You need to turn it on.' All my life all I've focused on was driving race cars, trying to be competitive and trying to win races. At the end of that day, it was kind of like, 'You know what? Driving race cars doesn't seem that important anymore and having my life revolve around driving race cars doesn't seem that important anymore.' The way I've changed my perspective on life has changed because of that day.
"I watched TV that entire day. I never even got out of bed. I was in bed when I turned the TV on and I think I finally got out of bed at 8 o'clock that night and finally took a shower. I didn't want to leave it because you just didn't know what was going to happen next."
WHEN IT COMES TO OTHER WORLD EVENTS THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN YOUR LIFE, WHERE DO THE ATTACKS RANK IN YOUR MEMORY?: "I think because of the age I'm at right now, I probably have a better understanding of what is actually happening right now as compared to other events in the past. Like I said, my focus is different after Sept. 11. You always see things happen and it's like, 'Well, it's not happening to me and my life is going on and unchanged.' But, the reality of it is that even though it probably isn't affecting our lives as bad as it is others, it still has an impact on the way we're living our lives right now. It's definitely a different life than what we've had in the past.'
DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO VISIT "GROUND ZERO" OR TALK WITH ANYBODY THAT'S BEEN INVOLVED WITH THE EFFORT THERE?: "Honestly, I'm probably just going to try to go in [to New York], go to the banquet and go home. I'm really looking forward to trying to spend time with my family now and with my girlfriend's family. That's my big focus at this time of the year - just trying to get time to do what I want to do and be home with my family right now."