TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET met with media and discussed racing at Daytona, his earlier practice session, Bruton Smith’s ideas to make the racing more exciting, and more. Full Transcript:
HOW WAS PRACTICE?
“It was pretty uneventful.”
HAS ANYTHING CHANGED HERE SINCE FEBRUARY?
“Humidity and temperature, maybe? That’s it. The rest of it’s all the same.”
DID THE CAR RUN ANY DIFFERENTLY OR ANY HOTTER WITH THE NEW POP-OFF VALVE OR IS IT JUST THE SAME?
“We never got it up to get it to where it popped off. So, we didn’t really get that far.”
IS HANDLING BECOMING AN ISSUE AGAIN HERE AT DAYTONA?
“We actually worked on our balance a little bit. We tightened it up from where we started. It may be starting to get that way, which would be good. The more it gets to be a handling race again, the better off we’ll be.”
TELL US ABOUT THE STRATEGY TO RUN SO MANY LAPS IN PRACTICE. WAS THERE SOMETHING YOU WERE TRYING TO ACHIEVE WITH THAT?
“No, actually I wasn’t really paying attention to how many laps. I just kind of made our runs. Once the packs would thin out, we’d come in. There wasn’t really any rhyme or reason for how may laps we ran.”
WHY IS THIS JULY RACE SUCH A COMFORTABLE FIT FOR YOU?
“I have no idea (laughs). I wish I did. I think the races that we won here were really on handling and that track was older and bumpier and worn out.”
THERE WAS A LOT OF SPECULATION LAST WEEK THAT THE SWAY BAR THING WAS GOING TO AFFECT HENDRICK AND MAYBE YOU GUYS TOO BECAUSE YOU USE SIMILAR SET-UPS. DO YOU THINK THAT AFFECTED YOU AT ALL? WAS THAT A BIG DEAL?
“Once we has the problem on lap 30 and we pretty much just kind of rode around and tried to stay out of everybody’s way the rest of the day, so I’m not sure we really had full read on it. But I don’t think it really bothered our car that bad.”
CAN YOU DO ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK? IT SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS A SENSOR
“IT was an electrical deal. It’s a sensor that went bad. It’s not something that was installed wrong. Anytime electronics are involved, sometimes they fail.”
SO IT’S JUST LIKE GETTING A FLAT TIRE OR SOMETHING?
“Yeah, there’s nothing you can do about it. You just try to make sure that everything you’ve got is as good as it can be.”
AT THE END OF A RACE HERE, AND YOU TRY TO DECIDE WHO TO WORK WITH, DO YOU LEAN TOWARD PEOPLE YOU TRUST OR FRIENDS?
“I don’t think you really have the option to choose that. I think it’s just whomever you’re around. Whoever you’re with at the end there, that’s they guys you’re going to be around. So, I’m not sure when you’ve got 43 cars out there you have the flexibility to say oh I’ll work with this guy or that guy. They might be 20 cars away from you and the time that you want to do something.
“So, unless you’ve been running with them for a long time, but late in the day it’s just more times than not that I haven’t necessarily been with the guy I’d like to run with.”
AT KENTUCKY LAST WEEK, BRUTON SMITH SAID HE THOUGHT SOME OF THE LONG GREEN FLAG RUNS HAVE MADE THE RACING BORING. HE SAID SOMETHING ABOUT CHOPPING THE RACES UP OR SOMETHING WOULD MAKE IT MORE INTERESTING. TO A RACER, COULD THERE BE SOME SUPPORT FOR THAT?
“I think the more that you interrupt and disrupt the race, I don’t know; I don’t know that I necessarily agree with that. Bruton has been a pretty successful promoter for a long time, so more times than not he’s going to be right.”
HEADING TO NEXT WEEK, SINCE YOU HAVE TWO WINS, ARE YOU ABLE TO TRY SOMETHING AT LOUDON FOR LATER ON IN THE CHASE?
“I don’t think we’re that comfortable that we can do that so we’ll go race it just like we do any other race. Our approach every week for 14 years in my career now has been to take it one week at a time. We’ve never taken a race weekend and said all right, we’re in good enough shape, we’re just going to throw this weekend away and try different things and do that. We would never have been in a position where we’ve been flexible enough to do that.”