Watkins Glen: Stewart, Johnson practice quotes

Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen Practice Notes Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (WHAT MAKES YOU SO GOOD ON ROAD COURSES?) "I don't know. I honestly don't know. I just go out and do what I...

Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen Practice Notes
Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson


(WHAT MAKES YOU SO GOOD ON ROAD COURSES?) "I don't know. I honestly don't know. I just go out and do what I do."

(ON KURT BUSCH CHANGING TEAMS, WILL THAT PUT HIM ENOUGH OFF HIS GAME THAT HE MIGHT NOT BE IN THIS CHAMPIONSHIP CHASE?) "It's definitely going to be a distraction for him and his team. But Jimmy Fennig is a champion crew chief and he knows what it takes to win and Kurt does too. If there is anybody can make it through a situation like that, it's them."

(ARE YOU SURPRISED ABOUT THE WAY THE KURT BUSCH TEAM CHANGE CAME DOWN?) "It caught a lot of us off guard, I think. But I'm glad that I don't have to worry about stuff like that."

(ON PRACTICE TODAY) "I just went out and ran laps. I'm really happy with the way it's going. We're just kind of waiting through this weather."

(ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC THINGS YOU WANT TO WORK ON?) "Yeah, but again I'm not going to tell everybody what I want to work on."

(HOW WERE THE NATIONALS THIS WEEK AFTER WINNING AT THE BRICKYARD?) "Oh, yeah, it was awesome. I had a lot of fun. I actually got to watch Danny (Lasoski) win on Monday night at Oksaloosa (Southern Iowa Speedway) and then on Tuesday night I got to run the non-wing car there. But I just had fun this week. It's been one of those weeks where I just haven't stopped smiling. It's probably the best part of winning a big race like that is seeing all your friends and mentors and people that you work along side of each week that come and congratulate you. That's what means the most to you."

(DO YOU SEE A DIFFERENCE IN THESE LAST SEVEN CUP RACES COMPARED TO OTHER PERIODS IN YOUR CAREER) "Yeah, we've won four out of the last six and been in the top five in the other ones."

(WHAT IS IT ABOUT THAT?) "Hey, you've got to remember that I just drive. I get in the car and I drive. It's been literally that simple. Those are questions you'd have to ask (crew chief) Zippy (Greg Zipadelli) because those are technical questions about what's they've found at the shop and what we've found in testing. The cars are just driving better. What the reason for that is, I don't know. But there's one guy who does know and he's over there working in the garage right now."

(WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT DRIVING AT THE GLEN?) "It's just something different."

(ON RUNNING THREE RACES HERE THIS WEEKEND, WILL THAT GIVE YOU ANY SORT OF ADVANTAGE?) "I don't think so. Even my Busch and Cup cars drive a lot different from each other. So there is a little bit of a difference trying to adjust back and forth. And so you just get used to it as you go."


(AFTER TAKING A TOUGH HIT AT THE BRICKYARD, HOW ARE YOU? AND DID YOU GO BACK TO SEE THE DOCTOR DURING THE WEEK?) "Oh, yeah. It was just a normal evaluation process. Thursday I went through the routine. I saw Dr. Petty. I went to the gym and got my heart rate up and went through some different scenarios to make sure my brain is firing on all eight cylinders. I got the green light and here I am."

(WHAT SORT OF XRAYS OR TESTS DID THEY GIVE YOU?) "They did Sunday night (at Indianapolis). NASCAR suggested that the drivers get a scan when everything is normal, or before you have a concussion, so that when you have a baseline to refer to. The CT scan that they did on me looked great. They can see any type of bruising or bleeding instantly. But everybody was very happy Sunday night. They didn't think there were going to be any complications. So that's now my baseline. That's the only one that I have. I didn't have a baseline from before. So we've got that file on the transporter. I brought it over today so we'll have it with us if this ever does happen again, we'll have a baseline to compare notes to."

(WAS THAT THE HARDEST HIT YOU'VE EVER HAD IN A RACE CAR?) "Initially I thought so. But I am so impressed with the soft walls and the way the HANS device worked and my seat worked and everything. I don't have any bruising. I remember the wind being knocked out of me real bad and trying to catch my breath. But the car did its job and the seat did its job. I have no bruising and no broken bones. I rattled my head a little bit, but within a couple of hours after the race, I kind of snapped out of it and was ready to go home and off I went."

(HAS NASCAR CLEARED YOU?) "Yes, as far as I know, that's it."

(ON HIS HARD CRASH AT THE GLEN IN A BUSCH CAR) "They just paved the outside the track there so that when you do slide off the track, you can try to re-enter the track and we don't have as many cautions as we typically do. In my crash, I flew over the sand trap and missed it, so the change they've made in the course wouldn't have done anything for my impact. But the soft walls stuff at that point really did it's job and took care of me there."


(HOW WAS PRACTICE?) "Not too good. We're struggling a bit. We are and so is the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon). So we're trying to get it sorted out. I think we'll end up good. We're not where we need to be right now. We were working on some things during that practice. We knew we had some changes we wanted to make but we were waiting for that intermission because it takes so long to change some of the things. Hopefully we can get back on the track and see if our new ideas will work."

(WHAT MAKES THE GLEN DIFFERENT FROM INFINEON?) "The elevation changes aren't as severe. The track is a lot wider. The track has a lot more grip in it. At Sonoma, you're always fighting forward bite and really burning the tires off the car. This race track has a lot more room and you don't seem to have the same forward bite issues as you do at Sonoma."

(PEOPLE SAY YOU'RE ONE OF THE BEST DRIVERS IN TERMS OF BRAKING AT WATKINS GLEN. IF YOU DON'T HAVE GOOD BRAKES HERE, ARE YOU OUT OF THE BALLGAME?) "Yeah, each braking zone at Watkins Glen is pretty intense, whereas at Sonoma, you have one really intense braking zone. The other ones are just light braking. So this track, with the long straightaways and three really intense braking zones, it takes its toll on the brakes and you've got to take care of them."

(LEADING UP TO THE CHASE, DO YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT STRATEGY?) "No, you just go out and get maximum points. It doesn't matter when it is -- in the Chase, before the Chase, or at the start of the season. It's really the same thing."

(NOW THAT YOU'VE HAD A YEAR TO THINK ABOUT IT, ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE NEW POINTS SYSTEM? IF NOT, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?) "Does it matter if I'm happy with it or not? (laughs) I don't think it matters. It's not going to change. It's good for our sport as a whole. It definitely brought a lot more notoriety last year and introduced new fans to our sport and put a new twist on things. So, looking at the big picture, I think it's a good move."

(IF YOU GET WASHED OUT BY THE RAIN SATURDAY, DO YOU JUST GET IN AND GO ON SUNDAY WITH THE NOTEBOOK THAT YOU BROUGHT TO WATKINS GLEN?) "That's it. That's all we can do. At least we got on the track today so that NASCAR won't have any issues of us not having any practice. We got a fair amount of practice in and if that's all we get, that's it."

(ON THE IMPOUND PROCEDURE AT A ROAD COURSE RACE) "It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I think this is one of the tracks where the teams and drivers would come back and ask NASCAR to have our standard procedure here. It's not, so we'll go with it. It's going to be really tough to qualify, if we do get to qualify. The only laps we have are today. And then you sit around all day tomorrow and then you sit around all day tomorrow and have to get one lap in on a road course with all the different things. It'll make the good guys rise to the top. It's going to be very challenging. So in one respect, I'm excited for it. But it makes more sense to me to have a non-impound schedule on the road courses."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Jimmie Johnson