On last night's edition of his weekly SIRIUS NASCAR Radio show "Tony Stewart Live," Stewart looked back at his performance in Sunday's Daytona 500 and the crash with Kurt Busch in lap 153 that knocked him out of the race. Host, Tony Stewart: "It...
On last night's edition of his weekly SIRIUS NASCAR Radio show "Tony Stewart Live," Stewart looked back at his performance in Sunday's Daytona 500 and the crash with Kurt Busch in lap 153 that knocked him out of the race.
Host, Tony Stewart: "It didn't finish up quite like we wanted by any means. But we're still really happy with the week obviously, winning the Shootout and winning the qualifying race, we couldn't have asked for more there. To start the race off, we got in the lead there. Had an error on pit lane where Robbie Gordon was coming in and he was toward the back of the pack. His pit was right in front of us. By the time my guys were finishing our stop I was trying to get out ahead of Robbie coming in and stalled the car. I guess luckily I probably did because it was either I had to get out or what happened afterwards with the #38 car and him getting together in pit lane right in front of me. It was better that I did kill it. So that was a mistake on my part and once I got going down pit lane I was speeding at the end of pit lane and that was my fault, too. So I made two mistakes there and that sent us to the back of the longest line. In 61 laps worked our way from the back back up to the lead again and had an unfortunate incident in [turns] three and four.
"You know, it was just a racing deal. Looking at it on the tape I get loose and I never got out of the gas but the problem is, when you get loose like that it scrubs off speed and as close as we were running it really didn't give Kurt much room to get stopped either. But its just part of racing. We definitely, between Kurt and I, had the two strongest cars all day and in one instant right there we're both behind the wall."
Stewart's first guest on last night's show was Kurt Busch. It was the first time the drivers spoke to each other since the wreck.
Highlights from the interview:
Co-host Matt Yocum: "Let's go back to the lap where you guys were coming out of turn two and take us, from your vantage point, to the incident we had down in turns three and four."
Kurt Busch: "Tony just got back up to the front from his pit road penalty and he passed us with a head of steam. I was like, 'Man, this guy is strong.' At that point there was no sense in fighting him. He got by us. There was a draft that we all got down the back straightaway. My little brother was behind me. I think Jeff Burton was in the mix. A bunch of fast cars all lined up and we rolled down to three and four with a head of steam. And I started pushing a little bit. I looked up in the mirror to check out where other guys were and I look back in front of me and there's this orange #20 car sideways. And I was shell-shocked. I was froze because this guy just motored by me and I was like, 'Man, why is he sideways?' I think I messed up because the whole situation could have been avoided. But it's one of those racing things where you can sit there and armchair quarterback it a hundred different times but its just so tough, Tony, isn't it? Just having the shot at winning the Daytona 500 go out the window that quick. It takes months to prepare but somebody can take it away in the blink of an eye."
Tony Stewart: "Exactly. And that's what happened. Literally in about a four or five second span we went from having, in my opinion, the two best cars on the racetrack all day to both being in the garage and having our days be over. Like you said, we had got a good run and after our penalty had run from the back. Our car was a little tight at that point, too, and it was important to try to get to the lead to get the push out of the car because if you could be the front guy it made your car handle a lot better. I think we had freed the car up so much trying to get through traffic. You never got the chance to go to the back like we did but we went so far back that when we got back in traffic on the first re-start it was so tight back there that I couldn't pass anybody. I was having trouble the first three or four laps just staying with the pack. As we started moving up it was a situation where you wanted to keep freeing your car up if you were going to keep moving forward and once we got up there I think we were probably in a position where we finally got a little too free at that point.
"Like everybody said it was a very similar accident to what we saw with Earnhardt Sr. there so I was very very glad that we had the soft walls. I was glad that I had a HANS device on."
Yocum: "If it came down to the #20 and the #2, who do you think would have the better piece at the end of the race?"
Kurt Busch: "I would say the #20 car was a little stronger than us. The #11 car was peeking his nose in there. But I'll tell you, my little brother ran very strong all day and that kid, I guarantee you, thought he could win the race after both of us had trouble. It was just a matter of being in the right position at the right time. I want to say that I took our chances away. I just didn't think Tony would get sideways in front of me and that's why I was looking in the mirror driving so much but we've got to get to the end and I would have loved to have had that shot of the #2 and the #20 running up front for the win at the end because, you know, the fastest car didn't win the Daytona 500."
Stewart: "I've got to agree. I think Kurt is 100% right there. For sure I think it was down to the two of us and I think the third car, if you throw a third one in the mix, was Kyle. Consistently all day he had stayed up front and even if he got shuffled back he was able to fight his way back to the top three spots easily. I don't know. I would like to think that we were in the best spot. Obviously being able to fight from the back up to the front like that gave me a lot of encouragement that we were in a good position. I think a lot of it depends on what happens on that last pit stop, who gets out ahead of who and that's probably going to really give the guy in the lead the upper hand at that point. You know, it's one of those things where for another 360 days we're going to have to wait and see what happens."
"Tony Stewart Live" airs every Tuesday (8-10pm ET) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128.
The show re-airs tonight at midnight ET and Saturday at 7am ET.
-credit: sirius radio