TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: DID THE CAR BURN A LITTLE MORE FUEL THAN YOU EXPECTED? "I don't know. I don't build motors, I don't do carburetors, I don't read [spark] plugs. I just pit when they tell me to pit. I've got...
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
DID THE CAR BURN A LITTLE MORE FUEL THAN YOU EXPECTED?
"I don't know. I don't build motors, I don't do carburetors, I don't read [spark] plugs. I just pit when they tell me to pit. I've got enough trouble just trying to shift and brake and steer the thing around there. I don't know. I don't follow that. That is why I've got a great crew chief in Greg Zipadelli. Him and the motor guys are the ones that really plan out the strategy, as far as the fuel consumption. They are the only ones that really know what the fuel consumption really is. I really don't have any idea when we're in the car. I couldn't even tell you how long a segment we could have run today. I have no idea how many laps we ran. That is information I never even check on. I concentrate on driving.
"It's hard to know what is going on out there and it's hard to know what everybody else is doing when you're sitting behind the steering wheel. That's why we've got Zippy. Zippy and the motor guy know how far we can go on fuel mileage. It' s up to those guys to figure out what the best case scenario is. They know when everybody else has pitted. They know how long we can go on the track. I pit when they tell me to pit. I stay out if they tell me to stay out."
HOW ARE YOU FEELING?
"I can tell you one thing --- 15 minutes ago, I didn't feel good at all. I think a lot of Cup drivers underestimate how much carbon monoxide we're getting these days. I've been down in the medical center. I feel like I could go out and start the race all over again. I'm a little tired, but I don't have a headache like I normally have right now, after having some oxygen.
"This is probably one of the most physically demanding races of the year for us because you're shifting, you're going up hill, down hill. There is just no chance on the racetrack to really take a break to let your arms and body relax. You're constantly working here for 110 laps."
ON GAINING IN THE POINTS TODAY
"Hopefully today will give us our second wind. We've been behind and we've not been running the way that we wanted to run. But, these guys never quit working, trying to get us where we needed to be. Hopefully, it does give us new life right now."
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE FRUSTRATION OF BEING BURIED IN THE FIELD WITH A WINNING CAR MID-WAY THROUGH THE RACE?
"You've just got to go do your job. That's the hand that you're dealt. You can be as frustrated as you want to be, but you've just got to take them one at a time. Each time we got out there we gained positions, just taking them one at a time like that. It wasn't until later in the race that guys got really blocking and changing lanes in braking zones that it got hard to pass. Hopefully, that is going to change here. We're going to have Indy car racing with stock car bodies on them before long. It's getting worse and worse. It's almost disgusting to see all these guys doing that. But, one day it's hopefully going to change. If not, we're going to start punting guys out of the way.
"When you haul off in there and you commit yourself and then a guy changing lanes like that you've got no choice but to run into him. I don't know how many guys got hit today, but there were a lot of rear bumpers that were caved in, so I'm sure it was the guys changing lanes.
"I can promise you one thing. The next time we go to a road course, I'm going to haul it off in there and if a guy moves over, he's gone. I'm going to brake like I'm going to brake and that's it. I'm tired of the guys blocking. Drivers are doing it every racetrack we go to these days and it's getting frustrating. If they want to go Indy car racing and block, go Indy car racing. This is a stock car series and if a guy gets a run on you and has done a good job and got a run on you like that, it's your job to do a better job the next lap and try to figure out why he got a run on you instead of blocking. Hopefully, that is going to change. If not, we're going to change it."
"It's frustrating these day that you don't know whether to pit or not pit because of the tires. I applaud Goodyear. I think they've done a great job this year. We've had such a good, safe tire everywhere we've gone. The safety is great, but the racing is terrible. It used to so much fun to watch the races when tires gave up and guys had to actually use strategy and the drivers had to use strategy on how hard to run, how hard not run. Nowadays, it's all about track position. It's not about how good or bad your car is. We were at Pocono and our car was three-tenths faster when we got in clean air than we were when we were in dirty air. Guys are staying out on 20-lap tires and they're just as fast as anybody else is and it's ridiculous that it should be that way. It really confuses the racing because people are like, 'Why all of a sudden are these guys just as fast as the leaders and they've got 20-lap tires on?' It's bizarre and it's not just here. It's everywhere we go these days."
ON THE PHYSICAL DEMANDS HERE
"I don't feel bad until I get out of the car, believe it or not. I can't speak for everybody, but you know you feel hot. This is one of the hottest races of the year. Darlington - the Southern 500 -- is one of the hottest races. You just don't get moving around fast enough to really get a lot of fresh air in the car it seems like. I knew I was hot at the end, but (PR guy) Mike [Arning] and (assistant) Eddie [Jarvis] and the guys that were around me after I got out of the car said I was [very red]. You feel so bad. This race and the races at Bristol, I normally feel bad. But, every week that I get out of the car, I've got a bad headache and the trainers wanted to try something different this week. Once we got cooled down they got us on oxygen just to see if it would clear the headaches up. I feel 1,000 percent better right now after having oxygen for 25 minutes than I have all year getting out of the car."