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Tony Stewart Dover Press Conference Transcript

Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:12 am

Tony Stewart Dover Press Conference Transcript

Posted: 30 Sep 2011 12:05 PM PDT

TONY STEWART met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway and discussed how his team has turned around quickly in the past couple of weeks, racing in Dover, how small changes can make a big difference in running order and much more. Full transcript.

I KNOW YOU COME HERE TO WIN EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND AND I KNOW THAT SEVERAL DRIVERS HAVE SAID TODAY THAT THAT TURNAROUND CAN HAPPEN, ARE YOU SURPRISED OR WAS THERE EVER A FEELING OF FUTILITY THIS YEAR, DID YOU HOLD ON TO THE FACT THAT THAT SWITCH COULD COME THAT QUICKLY?
“You know that this sport is so technology driven that you can find something in a week and it be a big difference so you never look at it and say it can’t happen. You just hope it’s going to happen or you hope you’re not in a situation where you are looking for that. You hope you are already there but we were in a situation where we needed some help.”

IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE AND OWNER/DRIVER HAS WON A CHAMPIONSHIP, CAN YOU KIND OF PUT THAT IN A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE?
“Come talk to me in eight weeks and we’ll talk about it. We’ll worry about it in eight weeks. We’ve got a long way to go before we need to worry about that.”

CAN YOU JUST TALK ABOUT HAVING TO WEAR ALL THOSE HATS IN THIS SITUATION NOW?
“Same thing we’ve been doing for three years now. This isn’t a new topic. We’ve been doing this for our third year now. We’re not doing anything different.”

BUT THIS MIGHT BE THE BEST POSITION YOU’VE BEEN IN, IN THESE THREE YEARS.
“So far, but it’s early.”

SO WHAT’S BEEN THE BUILD-UP, HOW HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THE TWO YEARS AND WEARING ALL THE HATS?
“It hasn’t been different than the first year. You surround yourself with good people and that’s something we learned from Joe Gibbs a long time ago. If you surround yourself with the right people and let them do their jobs then it should work out fine.”

AFTER WINNING LAST WEEK IN NEW HAMPSHIRE YOU SAID YOU WERE CONCERNED ABOUT HERE AT DOVER, WHAT WERE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT?
“We just haven’t been very good here the last couple of races so we definitely need to pick up our performance this week.”

WHAT CHANGED, EARLIER IN YOUR CAREER YOU WERE BETTER HERE AND NOW THE LAST FEW YEARS YOU HAVEN’T BEEN?
“Technology has changed a lot in the last 13 years, the cars have changed a lot, the tires have changed a lot. There have been a lot of variables that have changed.”

YOU GUYS HAVE DRIVEN DIFFERENT TYPES OF VEHICLES, WHEN THERE ARE SOME OF THESE BIG CHANGES THAT HAVE HAPPENED IN THIS SPORT, IS IT AS DIFFERENT AS COMPLETELY DRIVING ANOTHER TYPE OF CAR?
“I don’t think it quite that big of a change but it is a difference and I think that is probably the reason why I like driving different types of cars because when you do have a change like this it doesn’t seem as drastic of a change to me I guess because I’m used to bouncing around different cars in different fields. So I think you get used to it a little easier.”

WE LIKE TO THINK AS TALLADEGA AS THE WILD CARD, BUT HERE THINGS HAPPEN SO FAST COULD THIS BE A WILD CARD TRACK?
“I don’t think so. I think the races here are pretty normal. I don’t think there is anything that is out of the norm here.”

THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE SAYING JIMMIE JOHNSON IS 10TH IN POINTS, HE’S OUT OF IT DO YOU OVERLOOK HIM STILL AT THIS POINT?
“I’m not even looking at any of the 11 guys; I’m worrying about what we’re doing with our car honestly and not worrying about where everybody else is at. We got to go out and do our job. If we don’t do our job it doesn’t matter where they’re at or who it is, it’s irrelevant if we don’t go do what we do.”

YOU’VE SEEN A LOT OF SWINGS FROM POINTS LEADERS, I THINK 11 POINTS LEADERS THIS YEAR COMPARED TO LIKE FOUR IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS SO IT SEEMS TO BE A LOT MORE SWINGS NOW, DO YOU KNOW WHY THAT IS?
“I have no idea. No clue.”

THE NEXT TWO WEEKENDS ARE GOING BACK TO 1.5-MILE TRACKS, ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK TO THOSE?
“It doesn’t matter to me. It doesn’t matter what the 10 races are in the schedule. You’ve got to be good at all of them so we are just taking it a week at a time right now like we’ve been doing all year.”

KYLE LARSON SWEPT THE USAC RACES LAST WEEK, SAID HE WOULD GIVE ALL THE MONEY BACK TO GET A RIDE IN ONE OF YOUR WOO CARS, TALK ABOUT HIS SUCCESS SO FAR AND WHAT YOU’VE NOTICED ABOUT HIM.
“He’s done an awesome job. It doesn’t matter what kind of car he gets in he goes fast. I was there to watch him last week at Eldora and it was impressive to watch him run all three divisions. The impressive part was he had never been there before. That is what was impressive is how quick he took to it and he looked like a veteran around there.”
IS THERE A FUTURE FOR HIM AT TONY STEWART RACING?
“Let me get through worrying about what I’m doing here first.”

ON PAPER IT KIND OF LOOKS LIKE YOU GUYS CAME OUT OF NOWHERE, DID YOU COME OUT OF NOWHERE?
“I don’t know, did we?”
IT SEEMS LIKE IT.
“You’re going to tell the story so you tell me whether we came out of nowhere.
OTHER THAN ATLANTA, UNTIL ATLANTA THE NO. 14 WASN’T THERE.
“Alright, you’re telling me something everybody already knows. We already know that part of it.” SO IT’S OLD NEWS? “Yeah. We’ve been answering that and talking about that for three straight weeks now. We weren’t good until Atlanta.”
DON’T YOU LIKE TALKING ABOUT BEING FAST?
“Yeah, I love to talk about being fast. We weren’t good before Atlanta and Atlanta started a four-week stretch now that’s been really good. I don’t know why it’s turned around or what’s been the answer for it but I’m happy it’s been that way”.
.I’M TRYING AS HARD AS YOU ARE TO ASK IT DIFFERENTLY AS YOU ARE TO ANSWER IT DIFFERENTLY.
“I know, that’s why I’m smiling while I’m answering.”

LAST WEEK YOU MENTIONED GETTING RID OF DEAD WEIGHT; DOES THAT MEAN SOMETHING IT’S EASIER TO DRIVE WHEN YOU HAVE OUTSIDE DISTRACTIONS OVER YOUR HEAD?
“I think the last two weeks have proven I don’t care what the distractions are I can focus on what I need to focus on.”
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT, DISTRACTIONS?
“Anything. Dealing with you guys is a distraction but we can still go do what we need to do.”

WHEN YOU MAKE CHANGES TODAY, I’VE HEARD THE ONLY CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE ARE SMALL THINGS THAT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE, WHEN YOU MAKE A TINY GAIN TODAY DOES IT MAKE A BIGGER DIFFERENCE THEN WHEN YOU WON YOUR FIRST COUPLE OF CHAMPIONSHIPS?
“I guess the competition is just so close that a little chunk can move you a lot in the running order in practice. It used to be the field used to be separated by ¾ of a second, now it might be four tenths of a second so a smaller change is a bigger percentage of gain there. I just think with the closer the competition gets any gain is a bigger gain than what it used to be.”
SO NOT A SPEED DIFFERENCE AS MUCH AS A RUNNING ORDER DIFFERENCE?
“It doesn’t matter how fast you run it’s all in perspective of how fast everybody else runs so you’re gain is only relevant to the guys around you.”
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