Talladega II: Stewart race press conference

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 3rd: TALK TO US ABOUT YOUR RUN TODAY, ESPECIALLY WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND THAT LAST PART OF THE RACE. "It was pretty tough for us, as a team, considering I didn't get to ...

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 3rd:

TALK TO US ABOUT YOUR RUN TODAY, ESPECIALLY WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND THAT LAST PART OF THE RACE. "It was pretty tough for us, as a team, considering I didn't get to practice the car yesterday. I was sick with a migraine and really was going through a lot of pain. I didn't even get in the car. I want to thank my teammate, Bobby Labonte, and Kyle Petty, who drove it the car about six laps total. I just didn't know what to expect today. I didn't get any practice yesterday with the new spoiler and didn't know how well the car would or would not suck up to the cars in front of us. For the most part, it was pretty uneventful for us. When we came in on the first stop, the water temperature was real hot. We pulled some tape off and it killed our car as far as the ability to draft up to cars in front of us. >From that point on, we weren't really that strong a car. We pretty much stayed at the back of the lead pack. We made a couple of good charges up to the front just to see if we could get up there. We could get part of the way there, but if we ever got stalled we were stuck and we'd fall all the way to the back of the pack again. The crew had a really good stop on our last pit stop, got us out first of the cars that pitted. We restarted ninth or something like that and got up to fourth or fifth, something like that and just stayed around the top 10. We got the red and we knew that we were going to have to take everything we could get. If you had a little bit of a run on a guy, you had to take it."

WAS THERE ANY EFFECT FROM THE MIGRAINE TODAY? "It really wasn't bad. When I woke up this morning, I opened the windows and everything was fine. Yesterday when I opened the windows I was like a vampire bat. It hurt to look at direct sunlight. Today, I was fine. The people at the infield care center came over here yesterday before the first session in the morning and gave me a shot to knock me out for what they said would be about 4 or 5 hours-it ended up being about 7 hours. It knocked me out and took about 90 percent of that headache away. The remainder of the day I stayed in the bus and just laid around and watched TV. By the time I went to bed it was all but gone and then this morning, when I woke up and got a shower, it was totally gone. During the race, none of it came back. I felt good in the car all day, I was very comfortable in the car and never had the headache come back or anything."

WHAT THOUGHTS DID YOU HAVE ABOUT BEATING THE DEI CARS AFTER THE RED FLAG? "I told Zippy, I didn't think we were strong enough when we pulled the tape off, it must have killed the cowl pressure or something. Whatever it did, it slowed the car down. It wouldn't suck up like it did before. I knew we weren 't strong enough to lead the pack. The whole day, Dale and I had never got together and at the end of the race, when it all comes down to it, we always find a way. Sure enough, at the end.you know that the 15 and the 8, they've got their restrictor-plate program down. They are the top restrictor-plate team in NASCAR right now. You know the odds are against you when you're behind them. Dale and I have run together religiously for 2 years now when it comes to plate races. He knows when he's in front of me, if he pulls out I'm going with him and I know if he's behind me and I pull out he's going with me. It's an advantage for me because we work so well together that he has the confidence to go ahead and pass cars and have security knowing he has a partner. That's something that was hard today. You didn't always have a partner when you pulled out. To get with him, I knew if we could stay together at the end, and it didn't really work until the last lap, but that last lap was a big lap for me, getting back up to third. We tried to get him a win, but we couldn't get him past the 15 car."

HOW WILD A DAY WAS IT? "It's always been crazy. That's what restrictor-plate racing has been about. You throw us three-wide together, 11 or 12 rows deep for 500 miles and make us run that close to each other because of the rules package, what do you expect? That's the result. We're all smart enough to know what we have to do with our cars to pull up in the draft. When you're beside a guy, you know what effects hurt you. You know that if you get a run and you can push the guy in front of you, you have to physically push the guy in front of you. There's a bunch of things we do here that we don't have to do anywhere else and shouldn't have to do here anyway. It is what it is, this is what we signed up for, so this is what we do four times a year. We just hope we walk away from this place every time we come here."

-gm racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kyle Petty