TONY STEWART met with members of the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and discussed the first practice session, the importance of qualifying at NHMS and other topics. Full Transcript:
HOW WAS PRACTICE?
“I don’t think we are terrible. I think we have gained on it a lot since we were here in the spring. Definitely feel a lot more confident after this first session now.”
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU GOT OFF TRACK THERE?
“(laughs) I just was trying to… there is mold release on top of the tires that is why they are always shiny when you first go out. I just got on it too much and with the track being cold like that I just spun. I didn’t spin all the way out but it’s bad enough I had to go through the grass. I told them I said ‘I didn’t think I would run out of talent in the first five seconds of the session.’ No big deal.”
THEY DIDN’T FIRE YOU?
“Not yet, well I don’t know they might they were having a meeting a minute ago. If they start changing the seat I will know.”
YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU KNOW SO FAR FOR THE WEEKEND?
“Yeah, I think so. I think we need to gain a little bit, but we are definitely in the hunt right now I feel like. I feel like that was a good start. I would have liked to have been a little bit closer to the No. 11 car. He was definitely the fastest car in both race trim and qualifying trim. I think we found something late in the session there that may help out. We will get back to work on it. We will see what we can do qualifying obviously then get back to work on the race stuff tomorrow.”
TALK ABOUT THE WIN HERE LAST YEAR AND THE CHAIN OF EVENTS THAT FOLLOWED:
“Again, we have talked about that 18 thousand times. The story hasn’t changed. I mean it was good, especially after winning at Chicago, but it’s still a long way to go right now. We got this weekend and eight tough weeks after it.”
AFTER LAST WEEKS RACE DENNY (HAMLIN) SAID IT WAS ONE RACE OF 10 AND HE WAS GOING TO WIN THIS WEEKEND. WOULD YOU EVER GO OUT AND JUST SAY ‘I’M GOING TO WIN THIS WEEKEND’? IS IT PART OF A DRIVER’S JOB TO MAYBE SAY THINGS LIKE THAT AT ALL TO PUMP UP THEIR GUYS?
“I don’t know that it’s a driver’s job to do that, but it’s nice. He wouldn’t say that if he didn’t have the confidence to go with it. He’s not a guy that just, he doesn’t just say stuff like that unless he feels confident about it. We will see what happens. There are 42 other guys that are going to try to keep him from doing that this weekend though.”
OWNER QUESTION FOR YOU: IS AJ ALLMENDINGER TOO MUCH OF A HOT POTATO FOR ANYBODY TO TOUCH RIGHT NOW?
“I don’t think so. I don’t think so at all. I think obviously in NASCAR has reinstated him for a reason. I don’t see any problem. I think if anything he is a good pick right now because I think he is going to be hungry to go out and run well again and pick up where he left off. He was running well when he had the drama there. I think somebody that is looking for somebody that is hungry and can get the job done; I think he is a good pick right now.”
YOU HAVE HAD RACES HERE WHERE YOU HAVE NOT QUALIFIED WELL AND THEN FINISHED WELL AND VICE VERSA. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE DYNAMIC OF WHERE YOU QUALIFY IN RELATION TO THIS TRACK?
“Well this is a little harder place that if you don’t get qualified good to make your way back through. It can be done. We have done it, but it makes for a long, hard day. It’s a shorter race we only have 300 laps here to get it done. I like the length of the race, but if you qualify badly you have got to get a lot done in a lot quicker and shorter amount of time.”
HOW HAVE EACH OF YOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS BETTER PREPARED YOU TO WIN THE NEXT ONE?
“It doesn’t matter whether you are a reporter or a driver or whatever the more experience you’ve got the more you’ve been in different situations and the more you can always go back and rely on a scenario that you’ve had in the past. After 32 years of this now surely I’ve learned something by now.”