TONY STEWART , NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 3rd: "It was fun for us. We had a good car all night. It was just a matter of trying to get to the front as fast as we could. We felt like when we tested here that this was going...
TONY STEWART , NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 3rd:
"It was fun for us. We had a good car all night. It was just a matter of trying to get to the front as fast as we could. We felt like when we tested here that this was going to be a good car for this race. We got to the lead there and Matt's (Kenseth) was leaking something at the start and it really caused us to think about what was going on because my car was all over the place. Once we got by him and got a couple laps then our car came back. So we kind of panicked a little bit as far as what we had on our balance. But Zippy decided to come in early and I'll be honest, I'm not quite sure I understood what he was thinking there but obviously it was the right thing to do. We were able to go out and win that first segment.
"We knew we weren't far off then and we knew Matt was really strong. We just kept working on the car. It wasn't near as good the second segment and we made it pretty good for the third segment. "
DO YOU LIKE THIS FORMAT OR DO YOU PREFER RACING 500 SOLID MILES?
"This is pretty nerve-wracking to me. But this weekend is to celebrate our fans. It's fun. There are a lot of them that come to this race because this is the hub of 90 percent of the race teams and drivers. It's a good place. I hope it (All-Star Challenge) never leaves Charlotte. These fans have been here all week. I've been driving by doing appearances and stuff early in the week and there have been campers here since Tuesday. It's been neat to see. It's a great event. I'd like to see it pay a little more for third place on down considering the last place guy got paid the same as I did for third. But I can't complain. To have a million dollars to race for on a night like tonight is a great thing from NEXTEL and 'Humpy' Wheeler."
HOW MUCH OF WHAT YOU LEARNED TONIGHT ABOUT YOUR CAR THAT YOU CAN YOU TRANSFER TO THE COCA-COLA 600?
"I think we learned a lot. We learned just simple chassis things just trying to figure out how it reacted. We weren't using it as a test session. But we do know that the changes we did we'll have notes on how it made the car react and how it ran on the next run. We'll be able to utilize some of the knowledge we learned tonight for next weekend."
CAN YOU POINT TO ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THE MAKE YOU AND YOUR TEAMMATE, BOBBY LABONTE, GOOD HERE?
"I wish I knew. It's kind of been feast or famine for us. Normally both of us aren't really good here at the same time. But it's been that way at Atlanta too. There's just something about Atlanta and Charlotte that we both like. It's nothing with the track in particular. It's just something the crew chiefs have found with the package and we seem to get around these two tracks pretty well."
WERE YOU CLOSE TO THAT WRECK IN THE FIRST SEGMENT?
"It was actually behind us. I honestly never did see anything."
COMPARED WITH LAST YEAR, IT MUST BE NICE TO COME HOME IN ONE PIECE WITH NO ACHES AND PAINS
"Yeah, Dale Jarrett and I were talking yesterday and I said I just wanted to walk out of here tomorrow. I think I've crashed out of two or three of these and finished two or three of these now. It's a tough race. Everybody races hard and takes chances that we normally don't take because it's a short race. The competition gets tighter and tighter each year. You just don't have a car that you can be patient and pick them off one at a time. If there's a little bit of a hole, you just have to take advantage of it and make it a hole. It makes you take chances that you don't want to have to take. But when you're racing for a million dollars, you've got to do what you've got to do."
ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT THE MILLION DOLLARS WHILE YOU'RE RACING?
"I've never counted money on the race track or what I want to have for dinner on the race track. You just want to win. You look at the first segment for example, winning the first segment wasn't a good thing to do. I should have slowed down and let five guys pass me and finished sixth because you knew they would at least inverted six (positions). We could have put ourselves clear back to 12th by winning that thing. But you're not thinking about it. You want to win everything that you're doing and that's evident by the first segment. We shouldn't have tried to win it. We should have let five guys go and put ourselves in a better position to start closer to the front on the invert."