Richmond: Pontiac Racing - Stewart, Zipadelli comments

Pontiac teams look to defend "Home Turf" in Pontiac Excitement 400. DETROIT, Mich., April 30, 2002 - Winning a race of any kind is a big deal to a race team. But winning a race named after one of your backers is huge, and that is just what five...

Pontiac teams look to defend "Home Turf" in Pontiac Excitement 400.

DETROIT, Mich., April 30, 2002 - Winning a race of any kind is a big deal to a race team. But winning a race named after one of your backers is huge, and that is just what five Pontiac teams will set out to do Saturday at Richmond International Raceway, as it plays host to the Pontiac Excitement 400.

Pontiac driver Tony Stewart experienced the ultimate high last year when he claimed his brand's flagship event. The 13-time NASCAR Winston Cup race winner tested the track a week ago and is hoping to defend his title.

Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix:

WITH REGARD TO PERFORMANCE, IS RICHMOND YOUR BEST RACETRACK?

"I don't think it's at the top of the list, but I'd certainly put it in the top five. Our strongest track is still Homestead, by far. We're just dominant at Homestead, for some reason. But, I really like Richmond.

"We haven't won every time we've been there, but even when we haven't we've been in the hunt all day and still come up with a fifth- or sixth- or seventh-place finish. Last year, we were able to win there, which meant even more because we were able to get a win for Pontiac in what is kind of its 'home race.'

"Richmond is probably my second-favorite track on the circuit behind Bristol. It's just a lot of fun. The way the sealer wears off, it creates an advantage for guys that can really get their cars driving good. If you do that, you can stay on the bottom of the racetrack while everybody else has to hunt the sealer to try to find grip. It's a unique track with its own unique personality and I think that's why we like it so much."

IS IT THE BEST OF ALL WORLDS FOR YOU - SPEED, HANDLING, TIGHT CORNERS, ETC.?

"We run a lot of 'D-shaped' racetracks during the year, but with it being a three-quarter mile racetrack, it's still short-track racing. But because of its unique shape, going into turn one is different than going into turn three. Each end of the track has its own unique personality. I've been able to find lines there that nobody else has found, yet. It makes it a track that I really enjoy going to."

Greg Zipadelli, Crew Chief, No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix:

WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO NEXT WEEK'S PONTIAC EXCITEMENT 400?

"We'll go there with really high expectations. We tested there last Monday and Tuesday, and we were really good. That race will be all about track position, so the guys in the pits are going to play a big role, just as much as what we're able to do on the racetrack.

"Over the course of our three years going there, we've been good enough to win all but one time. With that kind of momentum, we can't help but to expect a lot. But, we'll just go there and do the best we can and try to win there.

"That's what we do every week. I don't think there is any one place that we look at as a better opportunity over another. I feel like we can pretty much unload anywhere and win right now. With the level that Tony is performing at, with the intensity level of this team and with the 100 people that are preparing our stuff and supporting the effort back at home, it gives us a chance to be a contender every week."

-pontiac-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart