CHEVY NSCS AT LAS VEGAS — Tony Stewart Press Conf. Transcript




American Muscle


MARCH 9, 2012

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and discussed his chances this week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, dirt racing and other topics. Full Transcript:

WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET ABOUT BEING HERE AT LAS VEGAS? “I’m excited about it.  This was probably in all reality this was the strongest race that we had last year.  We had a car that just was dominant.  We still let it get away from us, which this is one of two tracks that we haven’t won at yet. It was real disappointing to lose it with a penalty last year.  I’m excited to be back my car feels really good today.  I feel like we are off to a great start.  We have a shot at a decent qualifying run, hopefully, and really excited about our race package so far.”

WHAT DID THE ENGINE GUYS TELL YOU HAPPENED LAST WEEK AND OF THAT WHAT CAN YOU TELL US? “They told me when I flipped the switch back on it didn’t start, which I already knew. I didn’t ask any more questions. I figured I didn’t need to know.  I figured they have addressed it. They told me that they knew what it was, so that was good enough for me.  I don’t need to know about electronics too much.  If I can’t see it work I don’t get too interested in it.”

ARE YOU WORRIED AT ALL THAT PEOPLE ARE CAUGHT UP NOW? ARE YOU INTERESTED TO SEE WHERE YOU STACK UP IN TERMS OF THAT?  DO YOU THINK PEOPLE HAVE MADE GAINS? “It happens every year like that.  You look at how good we were at Homestead.  We hadn’t been that good the previous year at Homestead.  So we caught up to somebody.  It is part of technology.  It always leap frogs.  Am I worried about it? No.  It is a fresh year, people have had time to work on their programs and make them better through the winter and that happens every year.  I don’t know that you worry about it as much as you try to make sure that they gains that you make through the winter are better than the gains that everybody else makes.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT QUALIFYING TODAY?  HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR CAR WILL BE FOR QUALIFYING? “I think it’s going to be good.  It was pretty impressive to look at the time sheet.  We were third on the sheet and we were only two thousandths of a second off the quick time.  It was a .702 a .703 and a .704 so two thousandths of a second between first and third was pretty impressive. It will be a cool qualifying session to watch.”

I JUST WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT THE DIRT TRACK EXPERIENCE LAST NIGHT I HEARD THAT WENT OK FOR YOU.  JUST WHY YOU HAVE BEEN TRYING TO DO MORE OF THAT IT SEEMS LIKE THIS YEAR? “Last night was my eighth race this year.  I am having fun running the dirt stuff.  Last night was probably the least amount of fun.  I look like I haven’t slept for three days and it’s because my eyes are absolutely rubbed raw from trying to get all the garbage out of it from last night.  It was a disaster over there.  It was definitely a tough night for sure.  I do it because I enjoy it.  I love running my sprint car.  Kenny Wallace and I have probably run more races this year than anybody.  I am having fun with it.  My guys come over.  We had people from Mobil 1 and Office Depot at the track last night.  They enjoy coming and watching us play.  I feel like the more time that I’m in a race car, no matter what type of car it is and I’m having fun doing it, it’s better for me.”

CARL EDWARDS LAST YEAR JUMPED OFF THE STRATOSPHERE AND WON THE RACE. HAVE YOU THOUGHT OF JUMPING OFF THE STRATOSPHERE? “Carl’s deal has been circus acts from day one.  I’m just kind of a straight up old school, I just want to go out and win races type guys.  I’m not much for jumping through flaming hoops and flipping around and jumping off stuff.  I’ll just drive race cars and all that.”

THE NEXT FEW RACES WE WILL BE GOING BACK AND FORTH FROM THE EAST TO WEST COAST AND THEN WE WILL BE BACK IN MARTINSVILLE.  YOU HAD A WIN THERE LAST YEAR CAN YOU TALK ABOUT MARTINSVILLE AND WHAT IT TAKES TO BE SUCCESSFUL THERE? “It’s a tough couple of weeks for the teams.  It is easy for a lot of us because we got the chance to go from Phoenix straight over here and kind of relax for this week after Daytona was over.  It’s really the hardest on the truck drivers and the crews to try to figure out how to get all the equipment back and forth.  There are still only seven days in a week and you have a short turnaround time.  It does make it a challenge for the teams.  As much as you want to put all your effort into getting ready to go to Daytona, you really have to prepare to get through Martinsville and Bristol and all these races because of the short turnaround times back and forth.  We are used to kind of coming out to the West Coast early in the year and going back and forth.  It is something that you know ahead of time to prepare for.  It’s something that you do have to think about.  If you start tearing up race cars early in the year it can get you in a bind in a hurry.”

YOU FINISHED SECOND AT BRISTOL A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO; HOW COME IT HASN’T BEEN TOO KIND TO YOU THE PAST THREE OR FOUR RACES? “If I knew that we wouldn’t have missed on it now would we? I don’t know.  For some reason and even the day that we ran second we got a lot of that on track position on a late pit stop.  We just haven’t been able to get a good balance there recently.  Hopefully, we will find something different this year when we go.”

WAS IT THE TRACK WHEN THEY RECONFIGURED IT? “No.  I like the track the way it is now.  I know there has been a lot of debate on whether it is better or whether it was better the old way.  I like it because we at least get to use the whole race track now and we don’t have to just sit there and drive through each other to pass.  You actually get to race guys now.  I enjoy that side of it.  I think it is a lot more fun. Sometimes because it is more fun doesn’t mean that you’re successful at it. That’s what makes it challenging.”

YOU HAVE SHOWN A WILLINGNESS AND AN ENJOYMENT IN RACING ALL KINDS OF CARS.  SMI (SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS INC.)  JUST ANNOUNCED A GLOBAL RALLY COURSE CHAMPIONSHIP.  IF IT DIDN’T CONFLICT, WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY THAT? “Yeah, as soon as they get 30 hour days and 400 day years I can run all the stuff that I already want to run let alone stuff that SMI is adding.  Who knows, I’ve wanted to try everything at some point in my career.  We have driven just about everything at some point.  It wouldn’t hurt my feelings to try something new.”

CARL EDWARDS SAID THAT AFTER THIS WEEKEND, HE WILL HAVE A FEEL FOR HOW GOOD HIS TEAM IS.  OTHER GUYS HAVE SAID WE WANT TO GET TO MAYBE EASTER BEFORE WE EVALUATE OURSELVES.  AT WHAT POINT DO YOU EVALUATE HOW GOOD YOU ARE GOING TO BE? “I don’t think you really set a time limit on that to be honest.  I think you make that evaluation each week when you are done.  I think Monday morning you sit back and look at where you are at and you look at how your previous weekend went.  You look at how your season is going up to that point.  You evaluate weekly. You can’t just sit there and say ‘ok well two or three races into it we are good’.  You look at Carl’s year last year he won this race and then he didn’t win a race the rest of the year.  You look at how our season was.  We weren’t very good for 26 weeks then all of a sudden we got hot for 10 weeks.  I don’t know that you can ever just draw a line in the sand and say at this point we can say that this is where we are at.  It is a constant state of evolution and the technology changes weekly.  With that you never can just draw a line in the sand and say this is where we are at. You better constantly be trying to make it better.”

WHAT IS THE BASIS OF YOUR AND STEVE ADDINGTON’S (CREW CHIEF) RELATIONSHIP? HOW DID YOU BECOME ASSOCIATED? WHO IS THE BETTER BASS ANGLER?  “It’s been too cold to fish anywhere that we live at.  My place is like, we don’t call it fishing, and we call it catching because if you can’t catch 30 fish in a day at my place you don’t have a lure.  I don’t know.  The great thing is that Steve and I got to spend some time together this week.  We spent a lot of time at Daytona with each other.  It was fun to go from Phoenix to here.  A lot of the crew guys stayed out.  We all got to spend time together as a team. Have a new team leader like that it’s important for myself and for all the guys to try and spend as much time with each other as we can, for all of us to get to know him a little better and for him to get to know his guys.  It was fun to watch this week, we have all been together a short amount of time but it looks like just hanging around all of us the appearance is we have been together a lot longer than what we really have.  It has been fun to watch.”

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