Talladega: Stewart - Friday media visit

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE MATTERHORN/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET met with media at Talladega Superspeedway to discuss the future of his team, his busy week, and racing at Talladega. YOU RACED AT PADUCAH [INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY] LAST NIGHT AND WON...

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE MATTERHORN/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET met with media at Talladega Superspeedway to discuss the future of his team, his busy week, and racing at Talladega.

YOU RACED AT PADUCAH [INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY] LAST NIGHT AND WON THE RACE, TALK ABOUT THAT AND ALSO YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND. "I got a pretty cool start to the weekend. We went to a track that myself and Kenny Schrader and Bob Sargent are co-owners at in Paducah, Ky. I ran a late model and a modified last night. I had a flat tire in the late model race, but did win the modified race. So that's a good start to the weekend, and now I get the chance to come here today and start a pretty cool weekend with the Old Spice Matterhorn car. [We have a] different paint scheme today and different look for the uniforms, so it'll be a lot of fun."

IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS WE HAVE THE ALL-STAR RACE COMING UP, WHICH WAS YOUR TEAM'S FIRST WIN LAST YEAR. WHAT DID WINNING THAT EVENT MEAN FOR YOUR TEAM? WHAT IS THE ATMOSPHERE LIKE WITH BEING SOMEWHERE THAT HAS A LOT OF MONEY AND NO POINTS ON THE LINE? "It was awesome. It was obviously our first weekend having Gene back on board with us to go out and get the organization's first win, and the first win for him after all the years that he has been a part of this sport and having him there to be a part of it with us was really cool. It definitely wasn't a scenario where we were worried about points, or worried about what it paid; it just happened to be a cool night where we didn't have to worry about points and it came with a nice paycheck. The big thing was just getting to victory lane and how much it meant to the guys that had never been to victory lane before in that organization, and seeing how excited they were and happy to be there for the first time."

LAST WEEK YOU TOOK THE BLAME FOR THE BIG WRECK, BUT LOOKING AT THE REPLAY WAS IT REALLY YOUR FAULT? WERE YOU BEING GRACIOUS AND TAKING THE BLAME? "I didn't look at the replays because I went from there to Indianapolis for a tire test for two days and then to Paducah, Ky., yesterday. I don't know. I haven't watched it; I'm not going to watch it. I said what I thought had happened. Obviously, I've heard that a lot of people said a lot of different things about it afterwards that may have been different from what I saw in the one replay that I did see in the infield care center, but I don't care. I'm past it and I'm worried about Talladega this week; I'm not worried about what happened last week."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS WHEN YOU DRIVE THROUGH THE TUNNEL AND YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT TALLADEGA IN GENERAL? "I drove across the cross-over on the backstretch, so I didn't go through the tunnel. It's just another tunnel. I don't know how many racetracks you go to each year, but there's a lot of tunnels and a lot of cross-overs. Most the time by the time we get here it's dark, so all you want to do is get in there and go to sleep. The good thing is that we could take everybody in the media center and put them in cars here and everybody could drive well on this track. I was here one of the days that they actually repaved the racetrack. It was a pretty cool process to watch with how hard and how much work it took to actually do that. If highway D.O.T.s could pave roads as nice as they re-did this race track, you'd fall asleep driving. For as fast as we run here, it's absolutely the smoothest track I've ever been on. The good thing is that it has a lot of grip with it too and because of the fact that there is not a lot of bumps and it has a lot of grip,handling is not an issue. It's literally a 190-mile-an-hour chess match around here for trying to figure out where you need to be and when you need to be there. Literally, we could take everybody in here and take a day and put you guys in cars and we could have you ride them wide open; in three laps, you'd be comfortable doing it.

THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION THIS WEEK AND WHAT MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT HAPPEN OVER THERE. AREN'T YOU SORT OF PLEASED THAT NO. 1, YOUR ORGANIZATION HAS PUT ITSELF SORT OF IN THAT POSITION? NO. 2, WHAT IS THE REALITY OF THE POTENTIAL FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION LOOKING AT ALL THAT'S FLOATING AROUND RIGHT NOW? "Again, I haven't watched TV. I've been testing all week; I've been in a car since last weekend. There hasn't been anything changed at our shop; we've been testing this week and nothing has changed. If anything changes, like I've always promised you, you guys will be the first to know if and when something changes. Our status isn't any different this week than it was last week."

IS YOUR PHONE RINGING OFF THE HOOK ABOUT IT? "No. I don't keep my phone on because I don't want people calling."

JUMPING AHEAD A WEEK TO RICHMOND, YOU'VE GOT THREE WINS THERE, A LOT OF TOP-FIVE FINSIHES. WHAT IS IT THAT YOU LIKE ABOUT THE TRACK, IF YOU LIKE IT AT ALL? WHAT'S UNIQUE ABOUT IT? "Actually, it's my favorite Cup track on the schedule. I just have always thought that Richmond was the perfect size track for a Cup race. It's where the two short track races that we run other than Richmond , with Martinsville and Bristol they're both really cool in their own right, but there is a lot of congestion at both of those tracks. It just seems like that extra quarter-mile, and that three-quarter mile shape, and how wide the groove gets there; it's a neat track for the drivers. It seems like we have to race ourselves and race the racetrack versus racing each other a lot of times. You do have to race each other, obviously, but there's a lot of times during the race where you have the flexibility to move around on the race track and try to find a spot that your car likes better than somewhere else. That's something that a lot of times on a short track you don't have the flexibility. You're more narrowed down with what groove you're going to be in."

-source: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup