Tony Stewart -- ...
Tony Stewart -- #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet
RE: THE SPRING RACE HERE, WHAT YOU REMEMBER ABOUT IT I have no idea, honestly. And the thing I remember about the spring race was leaving with burns on my leg. I don't really remember much about it.
IS SUNDAY THE LAST "IF" RACE FOR YOU REMAINING THIS SEASON? No, I don't think so. I'm excited about this weekend. I think our mile-and-a-half program has come a long way since we came here in the spring. You know, the thing that caught us up in qualifying was just an early draw. That's what kept us out of the top five-we were fifth in practice. So, I feel confident that our car is going to be a good race car. You know, just the circumstances caught us in qualifying as far as having an early number. It was definitely a disadvantage.
SO YOU FEEL AS GOOD ABOUT THIS RACE TRACK AS YOU DO THE OTHER TWO? Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
YOU WERE ON YOUR WAY TO A GOOD DAY IN APRIL BEFORE THE PROBLEMS YOU HAD Yeah, I don't even remember where we were running. Somebody said we were having kind of a decent day but I don't remember what position we were running in. I've never been on fire before, so that race in the Spring-that was one memory of the race that sticks out in the mind.
WHAT WAS THAT LIKE? I don't even know. In 26 years of racing, I've never been burnt there like that because of fire. I've been burnt before in a race car because of hot parts, not because of fire. But, there was definitely something. My father has second- and third-degree burns on his body from a car accident right before I was born, actually. I've been able to grow up around a man that had to go through third-degree burns, but I've never been a part of it.
DID YOUR BURNS AFFECT YOU IN THE NEXT FEW RACES AFTER THAT? It was uncomfortable, but still, when you're out there running, you do what you've got to do. So, that's basically what we did.
ARE YOU COMFORTABEL WITH THE TIRES AND HOW THEY ARE REGULATED, RULES, ETC? It's the same for everybody. It's just about figuring out how you have to adjust your chassis to go with them. If that's what it takes to make it safer for us, then it's a good thing.
DID THAT MAKE IT HARDER FOR YOU AT ATLANTA? Not necessarily. Instead of just going down on the right front, you go up on the right rear, instead, maybe. You work on another corner of the car. I guess to a certain degree, but we all set parameters of knowing how low we would want to set for ourselves anyway. They worked around it in other areas to compensate for it.
RE: IS THIS YOUR YEAR? ARE YOU GETTING THE FEELING THAT THINGS ARE GOING YOUR WAY AND THINGS ARE FALLING INTO PLACE? Not necessarily-we're just out there doing our job. The good thing, in my opinion, for these next three weeks, is that we're just going out and doing what we've done all year. We go out and try to win the race. And if we can't go win the race, we're not going to take any chances to win it. We'll just take what we can get and do it safely. We didn't back into anything last week, we were a top-10 car all day and we finished ninth. From our standpoint, we did what we have to do and had a solid, consistent day. The other guys were, at times, in front of us or behind us. We just stayed the most consistent all day.
Kevin Harvick and Kevin Harvick Incorporated (KHI) announced a partnership with Dollar General Corp. and with Burney Lamar as the driver of the No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet in the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series. In addition, Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick will drive two Busch Series events each in the No. 33 Dollar Chevrolet.
PRESS CONFERENCE EXCERPTS
We started KHI in 2003 as pretty much a hobby. We started racing truck because I hadn't won a truck race and really wanted to win a truck race and we were able to accomplish that feat. And that rolled into a full time truck program with GM Goodwrench and we've raced the trucks for a couple of years full time and are on our fourth year now. We started the Busch team last year. Tony (Stewart) and Kid Rock wanted to run a race and its evolved into a full time program this year. We set a goal the beginning of the year to win a race and finish in the top 10 in owner's points and so far, so good.
Today we're going to announce a second full-time team. Burney Lamar will be the driver of the Dollar General Chevrolet. We couldn't be more excited to have Dollar General and Burney as part of KHI. On the Dollar General side, we are the only major sports sponsorship in the history of the company -- a company with nearly 8000 stores and 60,000 employees. It's a tall order to represent a company of that magnitude. But I think we're up to the task. We're looking forward to running for a driver's championship with Burney. He's done a great job this year with our development program.
In addition, I will run two races and Tony Stewart will run two races with the Dollar General sponsorship. Tony will run 10 races next year and I will run a total of four for the No. 33 KHI car. We'll have the No. 77 and the No. 33 full time next year. In addition we'll have a full-time truck with driver Ron Hornaday too next year.
I'm excited. Obviously Kevin and Delana gave me a great opportunity to win my first Busch race here at Daytona, which was definitely one of the biggest wins of my career. With being in the Cup Series as long as I have, people don't understand why it was such a big win. At the beginning of the year this year, I figured I have run in 22 different divisions in my career. There were only two series I hadn't won a race in yet and one was the Busch Series and one was the Grand Am Sports Car Series, which I still haven't win in. But being able to win the Busch race at Daytona was huge for us. That was something that due to Kevin and Delana having the faith in me to come over to the Busch side and handpick some of the races I wanted to run, which is something that not a lot of car owners would give you that flexibility. So I'm grateful for that. Dollar General is a great company and they have a great passion and dedication for this sport.
I've just got to say I'm really excited to be a part of the Busch Series. It's a dream come true, really, to grow up racing and watching everybody in the Busch and Cup Series and then have an opportunity to do it. To drive for Kevin and Delana and represent a Fortune 500 company like Dollar General, really has been a dream come true.
Jimmie Johnson -- #48 Lowe's Chevrolet
RE: TALK OVER THE RADIO BETWEEN TEAMS Was there something I missed?
IT'S BEEN SAID THAT THERE IS TALK ON THE RADIO AGAIN THIS WEEK Really? Wow. If there is, to which I had no clue, there's other people people worrying about stuff way too much and making something more of it. We're here doing our jobs just like we do every week. So, I'm glad it gives the fans something to talk about. You guys are gathered here in a big circle to talk to me. Any press is good press, I guess.
GREG BIFFLE SAID THAT YOUR TEAM WAS TRYING TO CIRCUMVENT THE RULES BY TESTING IN A CAR THAT HAD THE #25 ON THE SIDE I was there filling in for the #25 team. You can go back and look at other examples of drivers filling in for teams. The #20 car was there with his yellow cars and an #80 on the side of it. #20 hauler, #20 team -- #20 everything. Denny Hamlin was driving it. I'm not sure how that all laid out, but I'm not sure how that's any easier on the eyes in this opinion than what I was doing for the #25. If you look at the Atlanta test, the #8 was down there with the Budweiser car and a #15 on it, with Junior driving it. You know, we go to NASCAR, we ask what we can do. We ask how we can help our teammates out and fill in. They tell us if it's right or wrong. So, we're doing all that we can and we went down there and tested.
HE'S SAYING IT'S YOUR CAR WITH THE #25 ON IT Well, we all know that all the cars are the same and that cars switch between shops. You know, if he was able to tell that it was my car with the #25 stickers on it, he's better than I am.
DO YOU THINK IT'S COMICAL HOW THESE TEAMS ARE WORRYING ABOUT HOW EVERYONE IS LISTENING TO EVERYONE ELSE ON THE RADIO, WHEN THEY NEED TO BE WORRIED ABOUT THEMSELVES? Yeah, well, it all started years ago when people talked about their spring changes and talked about what's going on with the cars and you were able to hear something and take some information that would help you. From there, I still think there's trends where you can scan someone and listen if maybe sometime somebody slips and puts some information out there on the radio. Or you can hear if they're adjusting right rear spring and it's a thought you may have. If the other guy is doing it and you see it adjust, you have the chance to do it as well. So, it's a tool that we use and that we have. Drivers and crew chiefs have always been trash talkers-this isn't a new thing. Everybody got real sensitive. So, I'm not sure where the problem is coming from. But, if you're going to scan somebody's radio and hear something you don't like, it's your own fault.
RE: TRACK SURFACE HERE AT TEXAS I think the track is getting slicker. The Busch race is going to do that as well. We'll still be starting with some sun and with some heat. I would imagine the track is going to start off slick and then as the night goes on it will really tighten up, or pick up a bunch of grip I should say. I would predict it would be like a race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. And we saw that yesterday in qualifying, that as the sun went down and the heat broke, the speeds really picked up on the track. I think it will be kind of a 600-mindset starting the race tomorrow. Start with a loose race car, knowing and hoping that the sun is going to set and the track will come to you.
HOW ARE YOU GUYS RIGHT NOW? We're still working on it. We're working in different areas, trying to find some speed. Our teammates in the #5 and #25 have looked really good. The #24 and us have been a bit off right now, so I'll climb in here and pow-wow and we'll talk and figure out how to piece everything together.
HOW IS IT FOR YOU RIGHT NOW, BEING 43 POINTS BEHIND IN SECOND POSITION? You know, it's not a bad situation. We're not really far out. We still need to outperform the #20. It doesn't look like anybody has any weak tracks coming up, so it's going to boil down to luck and being on the marks. We lost some ground at Atlanta. We were on par with them all day long and looked like it was going to be a wash for points, and then at the end the handling fell apart and we got real loose and slid back. So, with three races left, a lot of that stuff can still happen but I think it's going to be a fight all the way until the end.
WHERE IS THE PRESSURE RIGHT NOW: ON TONY OR ON THE GUYS CHASING HIM? I'm only paying attention to the #48 team. The pressure is on us. The pressure is on us to do the best job possible. Everything else will fall into place.
CAN YOU APPROACH A RACE ANY MORE CONSCIOUSLY THAN ANY OTHER? I guess there's a point out there where you know you're asking a little bit too much of the race and you know you're being a bit greedy. And you true to live on this side of it-on the safe side. Earlier in the year, or if you've got ground to make up, you'll try to live on the other side of it. And it's not that it's a lot different-we're still going as fast as we can or as hard as we can, but it's small, subtle things that you can do a little bit not to make a mistake.
IS IT A WAY TO GET AROUND THE TESTING LIMITS TO GET IN ANOTHER GUY'S CAR? The rules have been the rules. Like I said, we were in Atlanta and say some stuff. At Talladega, for Talladega testing it was going on like this. Like I said, I was filling in for the #25 car. I was filling in for those guys. I'm not the only one that's been in somebody else's car with somebody's else's number on the side-I'm not the only one doing it. And it's just kind of how it is.
JEFF GORDON SAID THAT HE'S ALMOST GLAD YOU'RE BEHIND RIGHT NOW BECAUSE IT FORCES YOU TO ATTACK MORE. WOULD YOU AGREE? I agree with that. But, I would take the 43-point lead, to be honest with you. To be in control isn't a bad thing, especially with a few races left. Where we are, especially from last year, we experienced a lot leading the points all year long. And when we started to lose our advantage and not have the speed, we panicked and started to do some things wrong. And then we recovered and got it back and just ran out of time, basically. Eight points. So, I like where we are. I think we're in good shape. There are a lot of good tracks coming up for everybody. Everybody is going to have to fight for the end.
RE: PHOENIX COMING UP Yeah, it's a flat track. We haven't had the best of luck at flat tracks lately. So, we're out there helping the #25 guys out. I've got some more laps on the track, so hopefully we can take some of that information and apply it to our cars and go from there. It's going to be a very important race. With that mile track being in the final two, it puts a lot of pressure on that, with tempers flaring up. It's a short track-you'll see some bump and runs. You'll see a lot of different things taking place.