Posted: 11 Jun 2011 10:08 AM PDT
TONY STEWART met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway and discussed the Prelude, how he runs at Pocono, personnel changes with the team and much more. Full transcript.
TALK ABOUT THE PRELUDE, HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?
“I thought it was good. I wish I would have ran a little better but its good seeing another first-time winner there and everybody had a good time. That’s what it’s all about.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW SUCCESSFUL IT WAS AS A FUNDRAISER FOR YOUR CAUSES?
“The hard thing is with the HBO/Pay-Per-View side it takes months to get those numbers in. That’s the hard part because we never know right away. I checked with everybody I knew and they all ordered it. There were people that ordered it and went and watched it somewhere else too. I think everybody was trying to do everything they could to do their part.”
FINALLY SAW A BREAK WITH THE WEATHER FOR YOU I KNOW THAT’S A FIRST ALMOST WITH THE YEARS PAST, THE GUYS SAID THEY HAD A GREAT TIME, WHAT WAS YOUR SENSE OF HOW GOOD OF A TIME ALL THE CUP GUYS HAD?
“I was still getting text messages this morning from drivers. They’re the ones that make it so big. It’s hard to get that many guys together and get their schedules all coordinated like that. They’ve always done a great job for us there. That’s the best part and highlight to me, giving a lot of money away to kids and making sure that these guys are having a good time. When I know they’ve had fun then it’s all worthwhile.”
HOW DID FIRST PRACTICE GO?
“I think we’re okay. Not 100 percent sure but I think according to the times we’re okay so far. I’m not sure we can say we’re spectacular but we’re above average I think.”
IS IT LIKE RIDING A BIKE COMING BACK HERE NOW SHIFTING AGAIN, ARE YOU LIKING THAT?
“I don’t understand why anybody should have to shift on an oval in a stock car but here we are and here we are doing it again. It is what it is.”
THE LAST 10 RACES HERE, YOU’VE ONLY FINISHED OUT OF THE TOP 10 ONCE, WHY ARE YOU SO SUCCESSFUL HERE AT THIS TRACK? “I don’t know honestly. It’s just seems like you’re always having to compensate for one end of the track or the other. It’s hard to get your car perfect for all three corners. It seems like it’s pretty easy to get two of the three but you never get all three of them. That may be part of it because you always have to make yourself adapt. The rest of these guys are pretty good at adapting too.”
WHY NOW WITH THE CHANGE WITH BOBBY HUTCHENS?
“We just feel like we’re not headed in the direction we want. We’ve got to make a change in that direction. I can promise you it’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my life. I think the world of Bobby. I have a lot of respect for Bobby but it’s a situation where you’ve got to sit there and evaluate where and if things are going in a direction you want it to go and I just don’t feel like it’s doing that right now.”
WHAT DOES MATT BORLAND BRING TO THE TABLE?
\“Matt has been there from day one. The thing we wanted to do was take Matt because he’s so smart and put him on a project side where he can really look at different aspects of our team and company and try to figure out how to get 100 percent out of it. He’s been in the role of competition director there at the shop before so it makes him an easy choice to have somebody in there like him right now until we can find somebody we feel like is the right person.”
SO ARE YOU ACTIVELY LOOKING?
“Yes, we are. Normally when you let somebody go you are looking for somebody else to take that position. We didn’t close that spot.”
MORE THAN HALF OF YOUR CAREER WINS HAVE COME IN JUNE, JULY AND AUGUST, IS THERE SOMETHING THAT JUST TAKES YOU AND THE TEAM A LITTLE BIT TO CLICK OR IS IT JUST THE TRACKS THAT HAPPEN TO BE IN THOSE MONTHS?
“I just think that’s gets into the time of the season when the tracks get really slippery and for some reason I think we’ve always been a guy when they do get slick it seems like that’s our specialty I guess more so than anything. I like when the tracks get greasy and loose grip and you have to slide around a little bit. That’s the only thing we can think of.”
IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN HORSEPOWER AND HANDLING WHAT WOULD YOU TAKE AT MICHIGAN?
“You can’t take just one, that’s the hard part. There has to be a good balance of both. You can have the best horsepower there but if you can’t make it handle through those long corners you aren’t going to be able to carry speed down the straightaway but at the same time you can have the best handling car in the corners but if you don’t have something to make it handle down the straightaway it’s not going to matter either.”
WHATS HARD ABOUT RUNNING 400 MILES AT MICHIGAN?
“I don’t know that there is anything hard about it, its knowing the closer you get to the front the better your car is going to drive. It’s having the confidence of knowing what you need to do with your car during a race and knowing where to move out on the race track as your balance changes. That’s the good thing about Michigan, races really wide and you can move around and help yourself out. That’s probably half the battle.”
NASCAR JUST ANNOUNCED THEY ARE GOING TO CHANGE HOW THEY ARE CHANGING QUALIFYING ORDER. DOES THAT CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY AT ALL?
“I think it changes for the crew chiefs because they are the ones that pay attention to it. I’ve got confused. I didn’t know what format we were running because we would have never typically made a qualifying run at the end of this first session then I was explained why. It’s more just a crew chiefs plan on what we’re going to do and when we’re going to do it. It really isn’t a big deal for the drivers.”
RYAN HAS BEEN IN THE NEWS AGAIN THIS WEEK FOR ANOTHER POSSIBLE SECRET FINE, COULD IT BE A POSSIBLE DISTRACTION?
“Not a distraction to me because it has nothing to do with me.”
NOT SURE IF YOU WATCH NASCAR RACE DAY BUT IF YOU DO WHY DO YOU WATCH IT AND WHAT MAKES IT SUCH A GOOD SHOW?
“I’m still trying to sleep in that hour in the morning. It is a good show to watch because I’ve been on it a lot and been able to see segments. I do know this about it, if you want to know what’s going on, if you want to be up to date on everything and all the news that’s going on all the way up to race time, that’s the show you watch.”