TONY STEWART, No. 20 Old Spice/Give Kids The World Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finished: 3rd How was your run today? "We had a good day. This was our last race with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series. I'm just really thankful to...
No. 20 Old Spice/Give Kids The World Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How was your run today?
"We had a good day. This was our last race with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series. I'm just really thankful to Dave Rogers (crew chief) and all of the guys on the Old Spice team and Armor All at Daytona and Z-Line Designs. It's been fun to run that car this year and to run for Dave (Rogers), who everyone knows was an engineer on the Cup team years ago. It's kind of one of those days you're kind of sad your year is over from this standpoint, but I'm so proud of Dave and all of those guys and all of the JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) organization - the 18 team and the 20 team. They've done just amazing things in the last couple of years. I'm just really proud of them. We got in a great battle there. To me, it reminded me of being what I can imagine Daytona was like without restrictor plates and with the sling shot and everything. You could get two or three guys there and it really got fun. That's something that I don't think I've ever been a part of anything that was that much fun here at Michigan. It gave you a chance that these cars are so momentum driven and with the horsepower that we've had taken away it really made that even more critical today. To make sure that you kept your momentum up and didn't get the car bound up in anyway. When you could get two or three guys like that, it was really fun. Guys could go in below you and slide up right up in front of you and you could turn and go back underneath them. That's something that I don't think I've ever seen here in Michigan. It was a fun day. Early in the race we got with Carl (Edwards) and Brian (Vickers) and that pretty much to me set the tone for the day of knowing who was going to be good all day and be there at the end of the race, and that's the way it shaped up."
How does it feel to step out of the No. 20 Nationwide car for the last time in your career?
"They're not done yet. They've got the rest of the year. I got a feeling this record that they set and broke is going to keep growing. I just got off a little bit today - got us a little bit too tight in the center. Dave Rogers (crew chief) and all of these guys on this Old Spice team have done such a great job. They're in a record-setting year and it's just been an honor to drive the car for them. It's been a lot of fun."
What does it mean for Dave Rogers to radio you and say 'this is the most fun I've had as a crew chief'?"
"It a huge compliment - a huge honor. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and I go back a long way because of the Cup Series. He was my engineer there and he got the opportunity he deserved to move over here and he's made the most of it. You couldn't ask for a guy that does such a good job with keeping you pumped up all race long. He's having one of those dream seasons like Kyle (Busch) is having. I'm just really proud of him and his guys and the whole entire Nationwide program in Joe Gibbs Racing. They've done an awesome job not only with the 20 car but with the 18. These guys got awesome stuff to look forward to the rest of the year."
Are you disappointed you didn't win today?
"Not too bad. We've had a great year with these guys and it didn't end the way we wanted to today but still when you can say it doesn't end the way you wanted and you still got a top three it's a pretty awesome day."
Did that long run really help you or did you need a caution to come out? "I don't know how the strategies were working out. I know some guys pitted a little earlier and some guys - we stayed out so I don't know how it was going to work on strategy. It put us all in the same boat when the caution came out."
How did your car handle?
"We just stayed in the top three there and Carl (Edwards), Brian (Vickers) and I got away from the field. It pretty much gave me the indication that was going to be the matchup for the end there. I got us a little too tight there in the center at the end. We lost a little bit of track position there but that didn't cost us. I just couldn't get the car turning like I had earlier in the day. My fault - Dave Rogers (crew chief) and those guys - what an awesome car to run all year and man, did it make Saturday's a lot more fun."
How much fun was the two- and three-wide racing?
"It was fun. It had the feel of what I can imagine Daytona before restrictor plates and the slingshot and all. That's the feeling that I got today from it. It was really fun because if you broke the momentum on these things you could get passed going in and turn and come back off and pass a guy back. That's something you don't see here very often."
What emotions did you have before the race knowing that was your last race with the No. 20 Nationwide team?
"We had a special day, too, today because we had the Give Kids The World paint scheme and Emily Marsala was here -- the young girl that actually came up with the design for the paint scheme. We had her and her family here. I'm going to go and see the guys right now. I never thought it would be such a big deal but it has been, and it feels like it right now. It's not like I will never see those guys again but at the same time I know that's the last time I'm going to get a chance to drive that car for that group of guys. It's fun when you're having success with a team you hate for that to end especially with that group of people like we had there. I've got a great group of guys on our Cup side, too. When you have and are part of a record-breaking season like we are you never want to see that streak end and that partnership end. They're always full of compliments when you get there. Their attitude was always good and this is a team that's had to juggle around four drivers all year. To do that and continue to have that kind of success really makes you proud to be a part of that and it makes you appreciate the hard work and effort that those guys do and put forth every week. I was kind of like, 'Man, wow that easies up my schedule for the rest of the year,' but not that it's here I wish I was running next week again. It's bittersweet for sure."
-credit: toyota motorsports