NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
FEDEX 400 BENEFITING AUTISM SPEAKS
DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MAY 30, 2014
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 CODE 3 ASSOCIATES/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway and discussed getting back in a sprint car for the first time since his accident last year, his outlook for Dover this weekend and many other topics. Full Transcript:
YOU GOT BACK IN A SPRINT CAR THIS WEEK HOW DID THINGS GO FOR YOU?
“Just fine it was just like when I got in the Cup car it felt like I hadn’t been out of it.”
HOW NICE WAS IT TO GET BACK ON DIRT FOR YOU?
“It was fun. Obviously, it’s been nine and a half months since I got a chance to run one. It felt good we actually did a full blown test it wasn’t just going out and making laps. We actually got a chance to run through a lot of shock stuff and set-up stuff. Ready to go again.”
DOVER HASN’T BEEN THE BEST PLACE FOR YOU UNTIL LAST YEAR WHEN YOU WON. YOU ARE SECOND FASTEST IN PRACTICE HERE DOES THAT GIVE YOU SOME OPTIMISM?
“Yeah, it does. A cool day like today we are all going to be flying around here. It was really good in qualifying trim. I’m not sure it’s where we want to be in race trim yet. If we can get a decent starting spot that will make the day a lot easier at least get started.”
HOW ABOUT KEVIN (HARVICK) AND THE PIT CREW CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH WORK IT IS TO KEEP THE PIT CREWS RIGHT AND UP AND WHAT YOU DO ABOUT THAT?
“We had the same thing on our last stop too it just wasn’t as big a penalty for us I guess. Man it is very hard. The good thing is that is something that you can fix pretty easy. It’s not that you are searching trying to find something it is cleaning things up a little bit. They are a good group of guys. They are a group that can shake things off pretty easy so I don’t think that will be an issue for them.”
NOW THAT YOU HAVE BEEN IN A SPRINT CAR AND TESTED HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT COMPETING IN A RACE ANYTIME SOON?
“Yes I have.”
CAN YOU TELL US WHEN?
“Nope, I will be able to tell you how it went. Let’s put it that way. You won’t know when it’s coming. When I do go nobody is going to know about it. I’m going to just slide in and do it. I want to enjoy it. I don’t want it to be a cluster. Judging off the fact of how many people showed up just to talk to me about going and testing for a couple of hours I can imagine what the group is going to be like after I run my first race.”
YOU SHOULD SEE YOUR SMILE RIGHT NOW. WHAT IS IT YOU LOVE SO MUCH ABOUT SPRINT CAR RACING?
“I’m smiling because I am laughing at you guys because it’s like my God I went and tested a sprint car. I still laugh about how big a deal this has all been made. We had Cup drivers get hurt last year. One had a broken wrist, one had a broken back and nobody said anything. It was all minor news. I’ve made more news by getting hurt in a dirt car than any of these guys. It’s bigger news than the guy that had the same injury I had falling off a bicycle last week. I get chuckled.”
DID ANYONE TRY TO TALK YOU OUT OF GETTING BACK INTO A SPRINT CAR? WOULD IT OF DONE ANY GOOD IF THEY HAD TRIED?
“Nope, it’s my life. I’m going to live my life. It’s nobody else’s decision, but mine. I think there are a lot worse things I could be doing with my life than what I choose to do.”
IS THAT PART OF THE RECOVERY PROCESS FOR YOU A LITTLE BIT GETTING BACK INTO A SPRINT CAR? IS THAT PART OF THE CHECKLIST?
“No, it’s just what I wanted to do. It wasn’t really part of a checklist. Daytona was the checklist of being able to get back in. Once we did that we knew we could do this it was just a matter of when to do it.”
ARE YOU ON SCHEDULE YOU THINK WITH HOW YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD FEEL OR HOW YOU HOPED YOU WOULD FEEL AT THIS POINT BOTH MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY?
“I honestly thought I would be done with all this by now. As far as rehab, pain, all that stuff I thought it would all be done. I thought we would be healed 100 percent by now. But keep going to the doctor on our scheduled appointments and they keep updating us on how it’s going and what they think the outlook is for it. We just adjust it. When you haven’t gone through something like this you don’t know what to think and don’t know how to feel about it. You don’t know what to judge for recovery times and this and that because you’ve just never been through it. If it ever happens again I will have a better idea of how to answer that. You just take it a day at a time still.”
WOULD THE BEST PART OF FINALLY WINNING AGAIN WOULD THAT BE THE BEST PART US LEAVING YOU ALONE WITH THE QUESTION?
“I can pretty much make you leave me along anyway without having to win a race. The best part of winning a race would be winning a race. Trust me you guys think that you guys weigh too much on my opinion and views about things. It’s not going to be about you guys trust me.”
HAVE YOU EVER WORKED OUT THIS MUCH IN YOUR LIFE AS YOU HAVE DOING REHAB FOR THIS INJURY?
“No, I hate it. You sweat; you get out of breath it is crazy. Then you feel sore. I don’t know anything about this that is good, but I know at the end of the day it’s going to make me feel a lot better.”
IT APPEARS LIKE YOU HAVE A GOOD TEAM AROUND YOU:
“Yeah, we have fun. They work me hard in therapy, but it’s kind of like everything else you do in life. If you are not having some fun while you are doing it there is no reason to make yourself miserable doing it. We have a lot of fun. We joke around, we kid and we laugh a lot. That laughter covers up a lot of pain in therapy.”
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT HERE ON THIS RACE TRACK IN DOVER?
“I would like to see it really get hot and slick. It’s cool and has a lot of grip right now. Everybody can go fast when it’s like that. I would just like to see it get really hot and slick like it normally does.”
ARE YOU ENJOYING HEARING FROM YOUR FANS ON TWITTER?
“Yeah, I am. There are times when you get some down time and you are not really doing anything and it’s kind of neat to just go and read what is on their mind. I realize what I have been missing a long time, but I realize why I have been missing it too. You say 100,000 things that are right and fun and then you say one thing that is bad and destroy everything. The risk versus reward isn’t very good on this deal for people in our position, but you realize why it’s cool for the fans too. It’s cool for me to see what is on their minds. I think I’m having as much fun reading what they are writing as they are about what I’m putting on there.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR GUYS LIKE YOU AND OTHERS TO GO BACK AND RUN INDYCAR TO KIND OF SHARE THE NASCAR SPOTLIGHT WITH OTHER FORMS OF RACING AND KIND OF CREATE A UNIFIED RACING COMMUNITY?
“I thought the racing community was unified all along. I didn’t know it was ever divided.”
IT’S LIKE AN US VERSUS THEM MENTALITY:
“I’ve never really heard that. I think that is more on the media side. Anytime you have seen guys do the double the IndyCar guys were behind Kurt (Busch) and kind of followed what he did in the evening and all the NASCAR guys followed what he did there. I don’t think it’s ever really been as divided as everybody thinks it’s been. It’s been more perception than anything.”
WAS KURT (BUSCH) AS INVOLVED WITH THE CUP TEAM AS HE NEEDED TO BE DURING THE DO
“I don’t know I was too busy with my team. You would have to ask him and his crew chief that.”
HOW CLOSE DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE TO GETTING A WIN?
“We luckily have been able to win at least one race a season my entire Cup career. I don’t think there is ever a point where especially with this format that you get panicked. Because you don’t have to be stellar in the points you just have to get a win. Our track record shows that we can get it. It’s just a matter of when is it going to happen. Especially with the new rules package this year I don’t think anybody is in panic mode I think it’s more just everybody is still learning. We are still right at the end of May right now so everybody is still learning these cars and going to tracks for the first time in the season. I think you get six or eight weeks before Richmond then you start panicking if you don’t have that win. I think it’s still too early to panic at least for us.”
TALK ABOUT DANICA PATRICK’S MATURITY AS A DRIVER:
“She’s much better than the media and some of the fans give her credit for. They are not there when we are in our debriefs. Most of the people that are sitting there saying she is not doing a good job have never set foot in a race car to begin with. I don’t really pay attention to that too much. I think she is doing a good job or we wouldn’t have her here.”
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES