Stewart, Chevrolet drivers comment on Ponco race

Team Chevy Racing

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 3RD: ON HIS DAY: "It's just nice to rebound from the last two or three weeks. We've had some rough runs the last couple of weeks, so it is nice to be able to have a day like we had today, and work our way through the field. Really proud Steve Addington and our guys. They just did an awesome job, and Steve made a good call there to get us some track position at the end. We weren't good enough to win this thing, but we were a top-five car for sure."

Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

SO MANY QUESTIONS COMING INTO TODAY WITH THE NEW PAVEMENT AND THE DIFFERENT VARIABLES, WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE? “It’s just so hard to pass. Everybody knew that going into it. It’s something that only time and age will take care of. This old race track made it a long time before it had to be repaved. It just makes for a really long, hard day. You just can only get so close to guys and then it was a struggle to get by. I’m really proud of Steve Addington (crew chief) and all the guys on this Mobil 1/Office Depot team just a great job and a great way to rebound from the last couple of weeks.”

TWO WINS EARLIER IN THE SEASON YOU SAID YOU WERE LOOKING FOR THAT CONSISTENCY IS THIS A GOOD EXAMPLE THAT YOU GUYS ARE BACK ON THE RIGHT TRACK? “Well, you hope so. It’s a freshly paved track so that is a different variable all together but I’m really proud of the effort. It’s been a long day, a long week, it’s been a five day week for these guys, just really proud of our team. Congratulations to Joey (Logano) that was an awesome job. He definitely earned that one.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BANANA BOAT CHEVROLET – FINISHED 10TH “We had a really good Banana Boat Chevy today. Our guys worked hard and we had good pit stops. We fell out of sequence at one point and had to battle back through the pack. I am proud of the effort from everyone on this team and feel good about the way we performed this weekend. It’s nice to walk out of here with a top-10 finish for Banana Boat.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – FINISHED 17TH "Well, things didn’t start out so well for us at the beginning of the race. I got loose and got into the wall early on. But this Target team turned it around and we fought until the very end for positions. I think if we didn’t have that damage we would have been a top-10 car.”

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET – FINISHED 8TH: YOU SAID YOU HAD A REALLY GOOD CAR TODAY. WHAT WAS IT THAT COST YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO WIN? “Well, we just didn’t want to run out of gas. I didn’t know the caution flags were going to be so long. And they were long enough to help them guys make it on fuel. We’re not taking those kinds of chances just yet.”

AT WHAT POINT IN THE SEASON WILL YOU FEEL SAFE ENOUGH INSIDE THE CHASE THAT YOU DON’T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT ANY POINTS DECISIONS ANYMORE? “That’s something you need to ask (crew chief) Steve (Letarte). He’s better and smarter about that stuff than I am. I back his call that he made today. I don’t like running out of gas. I ran out of gas here one year and that pisses me off so bad that it’s just hard to recover from it, mentally, you know; in the next couple of weeks. There’s just no excuse in running out of gas. You put fuel in it and you go run. But those guys that were up there; Mark (Martin) is racing for wins and Joey (Logano), I don’t know exactly where those guys are in points but they’ve got to get some wins to try to get the wild card. I’m not going to give up 30 points or 20 points in a race; not just yet, you know?

“I like the call we made today. We raced back up to eighth and didn’t win the race; might not have won the race. We might have run third; I don’t know. But it was the right call for us at this time. We had a really, really good car. That was fun. That was the funnest car I’ve had all year and the best car I’ve had a Pocono in a long, long time. So I’m just really trying not to be too upset about it because we did a lot of good things today and we’ve got a lot to look forward to.”

WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO COME BACK TO SOME OF THESE PLACES WHERE YOU’VE STRUGGLED IN THE PAST AND DO SO MUCH BETTER? “Dover is usually the first race that starts off where we usually start to go south or where I tend to so south. It’s been nice to run good. Our team is strong. We’ve really been strong all year. I expect it to keep going. I’ll be terribly disappointed if we don’t exchange a run like this at all the ovals. I’m a shot in the dark at any road course you take me to, but we’ll try to do the best we can there, too.”

DO YOU FEEL GOOD GOING TO MICHIGAN? “I do. Yeah, knowing the repave and how similar some things might be there, and we’re going to go test for a day. We learned a lot during the five days we were here and hopefully we can go there with some of that stuff we learned and have a strong car.”

IS THERE PRETTY MUCH NO REGRETS TODAY BECAUSE OF IT’S ‘DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T’ THE WAY THE CAUTIONS FELL, AND IT JUST DIDN’T WORK OUT FOR YOU GUYS? THERE WAS NO WAY YOU GUYS WERE GOING TO BE ABLE TO PLAY THE STRATEGY PERFECTLY? “Yeah, there was a real good race for the lead. And the caution came out for the No. 43 (Stephen Leicht) hitting the wall. And I saw his car. He hit it pretty good. So I can’t be too upset about it. They can’t sit there and guess whether there is debris out there or not; they really have to take into consideration our safety and do the right thing. It upsets you at the time when a caution comes out and you don’t think it’s necessary, but they’re just looking out for our safety.

“And there were a lot of times when there was a debris caution and there was legitimate debris on the race track. It’s frustrating and it really changed the way we had to call our race. So everybody was really set to go. The guys at the end gambled; and a few of them beat us. It’s all right. It was fast, though, huh (laughs)?”

ON THE PIT ROAD SPEEDING PENALTIES “Steve (Letarte) just told me about them and just said to be careful. So I was extra careful. I was probably really ridiculously slow coming onto pit road. But I just don’t want to get popped. I get burned on TV and by the fan base whenever we do anything stupid on pit road such as miss our stall or something. It takes me about a year and a half to get over that in a lot of people’s eyes (laughs); so I can’t make too many mistakes on pit road. We have to be pretty careful.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET, FINISHED 4TH: ON HIS DAY: "We had a long day, we had a lot of issues, speeding on pit road. There is a segment down there where something is just not like it normally is. I got nailed twice (for speeding on pit road), and I know a lot of other guys got nailed. There is something wrong with the timing loop, and the orange line and the way the drivers interact with that. Normally when we hit the orange line we go, and I did that the first time we got nailed. The second time I waited until the tail was over and got nailed. We'll look into it and see what happened. But either way, we still came back. We had a very fast race car, and I had a shot at the win. I got real loose in turn one, and I still rallied back from that to fourth and catch the leaders."

DESCRIBE THE RACING OUT THERE: "It still is Pocono, and there is a certain style of racing that takes place here. The asphalt is about as friendly as we could hope for on a repave. Although, the start of our race was pretty exciting. But I think a lot of that was due to the rubber left over from the race that took place here yesterday. We saw a slick track every time we were on the race track after the ARCA cars. I attribute those conditions to that. But outside of that loose condition, our car was awesome all day long."

NOT ONE BUT TWO SPEEDING PENALTIES ON PIT ROAD TODAY. YOU HAVE HAD MOST OF THE RACE TO DIGEST IT ANY IDEA WHAT COULD HAVE CAUSED ALL OF THAT? “All we can really come up with is, NASCAR has the rule is from yellow line to yellow line and what they do they measure from the nose of the race car back to the transponder so from the yellow line back however many feet is where the timing loop is. So long story short when we get to the end of pit road when your nose hits the line you take off. I did that the first time and I got nailed; alright maybe I just over did it. The second time I waited until the tail crossed the yellow line and still got pinned. All we can come up with is that the yellow line versus the timing loop that orientation is different here. Things were just repaved, everything has been redone and we need to physically walk down and mark it off ourselves to understand what happened there. We got nailed along with a lot of other guys.”

WAS THAT A PATENTED STATEMENT RECOVERY BY YOU AND THE NO. 48 GUYS? “Yeah, I think so. Chad (Knaus, crew chief) called a great race. He got me some track position on two tires. The pit stops were flawless and we had a fast car. If I had three major things with the big slide I had down in turn one on the second to last restart. If one of those three things didn’t happen I think we would be in victory lane celebrating right now.”

KENNY FRANCIS, CREW CHIEF FOR KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET – Sidelined in accident and Finished 29th: “The car was really good today. We just got behind on the pit strategy. I made a bad call. But he just got into (Denny) Hamlin on that restart and that must have cut the tire a little bit or something because the tire evidently started going down because he started having some smoke out of the right front and started losing ground and finally just blew going into (Turn) 1.”

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Stephen Leicht
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing
Tags chevrolet, earnhardt, johnson, mcmurray, montoya, stewart