Second Place post-race press conference Richmond International Raceway Tony Stewart ...
Second Place post-race press conference
Richmond International Raceway
Tony Stewart #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet
ON SPINNING OUT AND MAINTAINING HIS TRACK POSITION
You got to spin out once in a while just to help keep the ratings up. You don't want everybody getting bored in the grandstands. It's just a fun night. When you're racing with Ryan (Newman) and Kasey (Kahne) and guys that eight or ten years ago you were racing sprint cars and midgets with, it makes it a pretty cool feeling tonight for the three of us to go out there and dominate this race with Kurt Busch involved also. To have three guys from the same background - all three of us have raced with each other in those types of cars together - and be able to have the night like we had. I guarantee you the USAC officials in Indianapolis, Indiana are pretty proud right now of the three guys they sent up here.
IN YOUR BACKGROUND WHAT DID YOUR EXPERIENCES GIVE YOU TO RACE WELL AT TRACKS LIKE THIS?
I'll be honest. I don't think there is any advantage that we have. That's just the background we came from. Mark Martin came from ASA. Rusty Wallace came from ASA. The crème rises to the top all the time. When do you that, that's how you get to the situation. That's how you get to this level is by going out and doing things like Ryan did. Ryan had the world record in a midget for I don't know how long and he's still got it. Kasey has won the big races that he's won. I've won the championships and big races that I've won. We all earned our way here. It's just cool on a night like tonight, the three of us can be together at the top like that.
ON REMEMBERING WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO GET YOUR FIRST WIN
It just brought so many memories back of '99 and the same race I got my first win at. When I was watching him come backwards down the first straight away, I thought if he doesn't lift he's going to crash by the time he gets back down to Turn Four. He was just so excited I don't think he even knew how fast he was going or where he was going. He was just going. I can remember. The best thing about it is I had my teammate behind me that night. It was a similar situation. Bobby (Labonte) and somebody else were racing hard for second. That just let me do my thing. That was just enough to get the nerves down enough that you could just go out there and cut off good laps. For a guy like him who has been close so many times and something happens and you not get that first win. I guarantee you, he'd rather have the caution go at two to go because he was really strong. I kept him honest on the restart, that's for sure. He was not going to make it easy, I promise you that. He did everything right. He ran a really, really, really smooth and what I would consider a perfect race. He didn't do anything wrong. When he wasn't the best on the track, he let guys go. The same guys that he let, gave him respect when they got back up and they let back by. When it came time at the end to go, he was the fastest car on the track and he made zero mistakes. He didn't give anybody an opportunity to get to him.
ON APPEARING TO BE BETTER THAN KASEY KAHNE IN LAP TRAFFIC AND IF IT'S FROM EXPERIENCE
I don't know. He might have been just being very careful where I was just having so much fun. That was when I was having the most fun is when we had the lap traffic. Every time it seemed like we caught lap traffic, we caught a pack at a time. They were racing each other for position and trying to be the guy that if they did get down without trying to stay with the leader to get lucky dog. I don't know. I'd just say it's him being careful. He had such a good car that there wasn't any reason to take any risk.
WHAT DO YOU SEE IN KASEY'S POTENTIAL?
You see patience and car control. The same thing as when I saw Ryan when he was at the early stages. You see natural talent. You see a lot of guys that come up and have the best cars and can't do anything with it. You see guys that come up and are in mediocre equipment but make it rise to the top. Kasey was one of those guys that no matter what he got in, he was good and competitive and was able to win it. He was just one of those guys that always stood out when he was a rookie in USAC.
ON WHAT YOUR FIRST WIN DOES TO YOUR CONFIDENCE
I guess the way I felt is that you finally feel like you're solidified. It's like it's one missing piece of the puzzle. You've proved to everybody that you belong. Everybody knew that he's belonged here. There's something about getting the first win. Once you get that win it does add a lot of confidence. That kid doesn't need any more confidence is the bad thing for all of us. It just gives you such a feeling that finally I've done what I've need to do here and I finally won at the top level. Whether that feeling of satisfaction shows up with the race team or not, when that kid goes home and sees his cousin and his brother tonight and his buddies, that kid is going to have a smile on his face that nobody could knock with a ball bat. That's something that that kid deserves. If nothing else, that kid is finally has something that he can say is his and he's got the hardware to say 'see I can do this and I have done this now.