Talladega II: Stewart - Friday media visit

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET met with media and discussed car speeds during practice, have at it boys, drafting partners, re-paving at Daytona, and more. HOW WAS THE CAR IN PRACTICE? "I think it's pretty decent. I ...

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET met with media and discussed car speeds during practice, have at it boys, drafting partners, re-paving at Daytona, and more.

HOW WAS THE CAR IN PRACTICE? "I think it's pretty decent. I guarantee we're a lot better than we were in the spring here. So I'm pretty excited about it so far."

WHEN YOU'RE SEARCHING FOR A DRAFTING PARTNER, IS IT MORE ABOUT HOW THE GUY DRIVES OR HOW HIS CAR CUTS THROUGH THE AIR? HOW DO YOU GO THROUGH THAT PROCESS OF FIGURING? "It's both. It's both. It can be the best driver out there but if his car is not fast, you've got to pick somebody who is quick. But you can have the fastest guy out there but if he's somebody that you're nervous around, you might choose somebody else. So it's an evaluation that you go through the whole course of the race. You don't really make that decision necessarily before the race starts as much as you watch what guys are doing during the race and kind of evaluate it as you go."

SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE? "Absolutely. And without warning too (laughter)".

DENNY HAMLIN AND KYLE BUSCH BOTH WENT OVER 201 MPH DURING PRACTICE. SOMETIMES 200 MPH SEEMS TO BE NASCARS POINT WHERE THEY MIGHT MAKE A CHANGE TO THE PLATE. DID YOU FEEL ANY MORE UNCOMFORTABLE OUT THERE THAN NORMAL? "I never got pushed so I never got up there. I don't think it's any different than it was in the spring so to me it's a non-event right now."

ON THE DAYTONA REPAVING PROJECT, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT'S GOING TO BE LIKE? "It's a lot different. It's nice. It's very similar to here (Talladega). That's how smooth it is. It's the same construction company so they're doing a really good job on it. It's going to have some imperfections in it but that's what adds the character back into it and that's what was so special about Daytona in the first place but they have done an excellent job. It's pretty amazing to think we raced there in July and that they are as far along as they are.

"It just amazes me; the engineering side, and watching the equipment work. To sit there and think about putting a roller on top of a 31degree banking and have to figure out how to keep that roller even pressure left to right is pretty remarkable to see who they do all that."

HOW DO YOU THINK NASCAR'S "HAVE AT IT BOYS" HAS WORKED OUT? DO THE FANS SEEM TO LIKE IT? WHAT ABOUT THE DRIVERS? "I think it's been fine. The good thing is that the drivers are always pretty good about policing things. The more corporate America was involved, and it's not a bad thing, but I think NASCAR tried to protect everybody on that standpoint and I think we lost the balance in the equation. So this year I think what NASCAR has done has kind of put it back to where it should be."

WAS THERE AN OCCASION OF 'HAVE AT IT BOYS' THAT WAS FUN TO WATCH? "Well, it's never fun because you can get caught up in it. But you understand why it happens and it's nice to know that you don't have to rely on NASCAR to settle petty disputes. We can do it amongst ourselves and the good thing is NASCAR is there in case it doesn't get resolved and it gets out of control and that's the way it always was."

HAVE YOU BEEN SCRATCHING YOUR HEAD OVER THE SPEEDING PENALTIES? "No, not at all. We know where it was at last week and we know why it happened. We made the adjustment and we didn't have it the rest of the day. But you know it just shows everybody is pushing to get everything they can get. Nobody wants to lose anything; especially on pit road. So, we're pushing that envelope as far as we can."

AT TALLADEGA IT WOULDN'T MATTER AS MUCH AS A PLACE LIKE MARTINSVILLE, RIGHT? "No. not at all. This is a place where you don't mind if; you know, the last stop is the one that you're really the most concerned about. The rest of them during the day are really a non-event. Guys are going to get shuffled back and forth so much that this is the one weekend that I probably lean on the crew guys the least except for that last stop. That last one is when I want a good one."

IS THIS THE LAST REAL CHANCE FOR THE CHASE TO GET SHAKEN UP? ONCE WE COME OUT OF HERE ARE WE GOING TO KNOW PRETTY MUCH WHO IS IN IT? "Well, I would think so. But you look at some of these races this year, week to week there are places that you wouldn't think would be a big mix-up deal and there's guys that have had problems. That's the thing. Every week is an opportunity for it but this is a bigger opportunity than most."

-source: gm racing

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup