Tag:Tony Stewart
Posted on: October 29, 2011 2:59 pm
 

NASCAR too political for Tony Stewart

By Pete Pistone

Tony Stewart doesn't like the politics of NASCAR racing when racing at Daytona or Talladega. The two-time Sprint Cup Series champion met the media this weekend at Martinsville Speedway and commented on the controversial racing last weekend in the Good Sam Club 500:

DO YOU THINK IT IS MORE POLITICAL DUE TO THE TWO CAR DRAFTING, IS IT MORE APPARENT BECAUSE THERE ARE TWO PEOPLE WORKING TOGETHER DURING THE RACE?

"Yeah, I think so. When you have multi-car teams and you saw a distinct deal last weekend with manufactures running with each other, it is becoming more apparent of what is going on. You can talk to everybody you want to talk to and everybody is going to say no they are not doing this or yes they are doing this, but all you have to do is pause your TV with the field in there and look and see and it pretty much tells the story of what is going on. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how it’s evolving that way because of the two car draft." 

IN WHAT WAYS IS THE POLITICAL DRAFTING DIFFERENT THAN IT WAS WHEN YOU CAME IN THE SPORT IN 99’, 2000?

"When I started, the political games were the teams when they went to restrictor plate tracks they tried to not show their hand until race day and then NASCAR got chassis dynos and things they could pull after the race and figure out exactly what was going on, so that gave NASCAR a more accurate assessment of what the situation really was, this is something NASCAR really can’t control once the cars go on the race track and what the driver’s are doing and how they are pairing up and is it because of manufactures, is it because of individual organization, so it is hard for NASCAR as a sanctioning body to control that and have everybody just racing." 

IF NASCAR WANTED TO STOP THE TANDEM DRAFT, IF THEY STOPPED ALLOWING DRIVERS TO TALK TO EACH OTHER WHICH CREATES THIS POLITICAL CONVERSATION THING, WOULD THAT SOLVE IT OR CREATE MORE TROUBLE?

"I don’t know that it would create more trouble necessarily, but guys before they even got to the racetrack on Friday, knew who they were going to be running with but I would say 90% of the field knew who they were going to be drafting with once they got there so, I don’t think that is necessarily the answer. The answer is make it to where you can’t push each other and if you can physically keep the cars from pushing each other like it used to be then that eliminates the problem. You are not going to keep guys from running with whoever they want to run with on the race track but if you can keep the cars from actually making contact with each other and physically pushing each other that is the logical way to solve it."  

 
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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: October 27, 2011 1:04 pm
 

Video: Tony Stewart on Inside NASCAR



On and off the track, the October race at Talladega was filled with drama. Tony Stewart talks about the strategy of "sandbagging" and the behind-the-scenes bickering of team owners.


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Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:15 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 12:23 pm
 

Report: Steve Addington to leave Penske Racing

Posted by Pete Pistone

The Charlotte Observer is reporting crew chief Steve Addington is on his way out as crew chief of Kurt Busch's Shell/Pennzoil Dodge at season's end. Addington and Busch have worked together through somewhat tumultuous times this year but managed to secure a spot in the Chase and went to victory lane two weeks ago at Dover International Speedway.

Speculation is Addington will end his tenure at Penske Racing to possibly take the role of Tony Stewart's crew chief. That move in turn would send Stewart's current crew chief Darian Grubb to a management position inside the team, perhaps as Director of Competition.

Busch comes into Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway sixth in the standings and 16 behind leader Carl Edwards.

Here is the complete Charlotte Observer story:

ADDINGTON TO LEAVE KURT BUSCH 


 
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Posted on: October 13, 2011 8:38 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 6:27 am
 

Tony Stewart rolls to Charlotte pole

By Pete Pistone

BANK OF AMERICA 500 STARTING LINEUP

Tony Stewart scored his first career Sprint Cup Series pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday night.

Stewart's lap of 191.959 mph earned him the top spot for Saturday night's Bank of America 500.

Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, A.J. Allmendinger and Greg Biffle rounded out the first five qualifiers.

Other Chase drivers in Saturday's field include Ryan Newman (6th), Jimmie Johnson (9th), Kevin Harvick (14th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (15th), Denny Hamlin (17th), Kurt Busch (20th), Jeff Gordon (24th), Kyle Busch (25th) and Brad Keselowski (26th).

Sprint Cup teams will have two practice sessions on Friday.

 
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Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:17 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Tony Stewart's actions amuse Danica Patrick

By Pete Pistone

KANSAS CITY, KS - Tony Stewart made headlines a few weeks ago when he was upset during a media session and snapped at a reporter to "ask an original question."

Stewart's Sprint Cup Series protege Danica Patrick took notice of the incident and enjoyed how her future boss handled the situation.

During Patrick's media availability Friday morning at Kansas Speedway, the Indy Car driver who will make a full-time leap to NASCAR next season, addressed Stewart's high energy session with the press.

"I'm remembering his interview a few weeks ago just before the Chase," said Patrick. "I was like, 'Awesome!' I sent him a text afterward and said, "That was awesome!' "

However Patrick doesn't think she'll take a similar approach to her dealings with the press anytime soon and pointed to Stewart's position as a veteran in the sport.

"I'd imagine everyone respects him, and he's accomplished a lot, and you can say what you want a little bit more," Patrick said. "I'm still young and still have things to do. I look at those moments and think that looks like something nice you can say sometimes. I don't think I'm in position to do that all the time, but Tony is, and he's earned his way there. I would imagine you all respect him. And it's true. Sorry, but what he said was kind of true, but I'll let that be part of my inner monologue for a while."
  

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Posted on: September 30, 2011 3:12 pm
 

"Dead weight" comment dead issue for Tony Stewart

By Pete Pistone

Tony Stewart's post New Hampshire victory lane remark about losing "dead weight" earlier in the week generate a lot of buzz in its aftermath. Stewart would not elaborate on what he meant when reporters followed up last week in Loudon and continued that stance Friday when he met the media at Dover:

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.”
 

 
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Posted on: September 29, 2011 10:56 am
Edited on: September 29, 2011 11:14 am
 

Video: Tony Stewart on Inside NASCAR



Following a spectacular win in New Hampshire, Tony Stewart talks to Inside NASCAR's Chris Myers and Kyle Petty about his latest victory and his rise to the the top spot in the rankings.


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Posted on: September 25, 2011 8:10 pm
 

Stewart, Grubb post New Hampshire comments

Posted by Pete Pistone

DARIAN GRUBB:  It's just a huge day for the entire 14 team and what we've done to battle back from all the adversity we had in the middle of the year, like you brought up and reminded me again how we ran out last year with one to go.  It's bittersweet just because we had that last year.  But to come out this year, second race of the Chase, win the first two, we feel very honored and very lucky to have had two weeks go our way.           

KERRY THARP:  We'll take some questions for Darian.           

Q.  When y'all were in the doldrums, did you sense this coming or did you have no idea when you were going to climb out of this?           

DARIAN GRUBB:  It was one of those where we kind of had no idea.  We had a really good start to the year, had good racecars, fast racecars, chances to win, strategies to win, got beat over and over and over.  It beat us down.  Middle of the year we couldn't hit on anything that made it better.  Rode the same, didn't have feedback or anything that was positive.  Everything was just kind of there.            

The last few weeks we started getting better.  I think it was the same time at Michigan that Tony said we weren't Chase contenders even if we made the Chase.  I think everybody started taking an extra load, working harder, getting faster.           

Q.  Tony brought this up in Victory Lane.  Didn't make it clear what it was about.  He spoke at some length and said, We dropped some dead weight earlier this week and it helped a lot this weekend.  Can you explain what he was talking about there?           

DARIAN GRUBB:  I've heard a lot of people talk about it, but I haven't heard what he was talking about.  I know he went and did a lot of dirt racing and had a lot of fun this week, kind of unloaded everything.  Maybe it was a lot of dead weight off his mind.           

Q.  No personnel changes in the team?           

DARIAN GRUBB:  Not that I know of.  Maybe he's talking about me and I just don't know it yet (laughter).            

Q.  Can you speak to the success this team has had here this year.  You come here in July, you run 1-2, win the pole, win the pole again and the race.  What is it about this place that suits your style here?           

DARIAN GRUBB:  We're not really sure.  We have fast racecars from the time we started at Stewart Haas Racing.  We had good, consistent weekends.  Even crashed a car here at one point in practice, brought out the backup, started on pole, ran top five with it that week.           

It's just a good track for Ryan and Tony both.  Makes our job a whole lot easier at Stewart Haas Racing.  The drivers know what they need here, what the feel is they're looking for.  If they don't have it in Happy Hour, or even the times before that, they tell us quick.  We make sure we keep them filled in on what the weather is going to do for the race day so we can make sure.  Tony was excited when he saw the sun come out today and it got a little slick.            

Q.  Obviously this became a fuel mileage issue today.  Can you tell us where you were in terms of fuel at the end as opposed to a year ago.            

DARIAN GRUBB:  We actually were two laps to the good at the end this time.  I pushed the window from the run before longer than most people and pitted two laps later than the 33 to make sure I had a little bit of a cushion.  Had good fuel mileage today.  Tony did a great job saving when he needed to.  I semi cut him loose, wanted him to hang with the 33.  I didn't think they could make it.  If they did, I wanted to make sure he was close enough to make a run if they ran out.  He did a great job on that.  Didn't use any more fuel than we had to.  Had two laps left.          

Q.  Was he instructed to save fuel at any point during the last five to 10 laps?           

DARIAN GRUBB:  I told him to run fast enough to keep up with the 33 but don't push any harder than you have to.  If there's a chance you can pass him, go get it, then we'll go into save mode after that.  We weren't going to give up a good finish to try and beat him, but then again we weren't going to ride and save fuel to guarantee we had a good finish.           

Q.  Just the elation this team felt when they saw Clint run out.  Did you think he had enough to go to the finish?            

DARIAN GRUBB:  I thought he was going to be close.  He pitted two laps before we did, we knew he was going to be at least closer than we were.  If he was going to be pushing it that hard and still think he could make it, we knew we were going to be right there with him at least.  Our mileage from what we were doing that window-wise before that was a little bit better than what they had.          

KERRY THARP:  Tony Stewart has joined us.  He's today's race winner.  This is his 41st win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, obviously his second straight win, his third victory here at New Hampshire.  This is Tony's 16th top 10 here at New Hampshire in 26 races.  Good track record here.  He's the points leader by seven points over Kevin Harvick.           

Tony, just talk about another strong performance today by the 14 team.  You're two for two.           

TONY STEWART:  Yeah, it was definitely an awesome ending to the day for sure.  It was rough getting there.  The first two-thirds of the race I think we kind of hung around 10th or 12th, not by choice or design.  Just seemed like that's as far as we could get at the time.  We were in a lot of traffic.  Just seemed like a lot of guys would get stuck in traffic and kind of maintain position.  There were only a couple guys you could see that really could make headway and drive through.  It seemed like the closer we got to the front, the better our car drove.            

We may not have been the best car at the end.  Clint was just a tick better than us.  I definitely did not know he was in a situation to worry about fuel.  So the good thing is Darian told us we were two, three laps to the good.  I got to run hard all the way to the end.           

Seemed like when we got in the top five or six cars there, we had pretty good lap times.  Like I say, we weren't the fastest car, but we were solid and could maintain that pace the whole last 100 laps.            

KERRY THARP:  Congratulations again on the victory.  We'll take questions now.          

Q.  Tony, ever since you were on TV in Victory Lane, the buzz all around the track and Internet is wondering what you meant when you said, We dropped some dead weight earlier this week.          

TONY STEWART:  We're just going to leave it at that.           

Q.  Could we ask if that was -           

TONY STEWART:  You can't ask anything.  It is what it is.  That's all it was is what you said.  That's where we'll leave it.            

Q.  Darian said there's not been any personnel changes on the team.            

TONY STEWART:  No, there hasn't.            

Q.  Can you talk to the success your team has had here this year.            

TONY STEWART:  Loudon has been awful good to us this year for sure.  Ryan did a great job both of races of being fast in practice, getting the pole.  I'm not sure exactly how their day shook out, what they fought during the day.  But in the spring we started up front and we were able to stay up there all day, just keep working and chiseling away at it.            

Today was a lot harder run at it from 20th.  We just kind of stuck to the plan.  We never tried anything trick to get us up there.  We just stuck to the plan.  There was the one stop where about half the field came in.  That took us from about 10th or 12th up to 7th.  May have been four or five guys that pitted there.  It just seemed like we got close enough to the front at that point, that's when we finally got in range when we could do something and make some ground.           

We got back there with some cars that we just got stuck behind.  We got stuck around the 56, the 31.  It's all 'cause we're running the same speed.  It seemed like once we got up there in a little better air, we were able to take advantage a little bit better.            

Q.  What kind of momentum do you get from the two wins?  You're a confident guy.  Going into next week, what does this do for you?           

TONY STEWART:  It's huge.  When you talk about momentum, that racecar doesn't know anything about momentum.  It knows what you put in it, it knows how we drive it.  It doesn't know stats, it doesn't know anything other than just what's put in it.            

Momentum deals with people.  It's not just these first two races of the Chase, it was the two weeks leading before it, too.  We haven't finished outside the top seven now in the last four weeks.  That's huge for us.  It's huge for our guys.           

We've had one of those seasons up to the Chase where we couldn't do anything right.  I mean, we couldn't get it clicking.  We couldn't get through all the bad luck.  It seems like every week something would happen and we'd have to try to dig ourselves out of a hole the rest of the day.           

I'm hoping and praying that we're through that bad luck string now and things are hopefully going to click the next eight weeks.           

Q.  Darian touched on this, you said yourself a few weeks back you might be wasting one of the Chase spots.  I assume you don't feel that way now.  Did you see that coming, the turnaround, or was it a matter of time?            

TONY STEWART:  It happened in a week.  We went from five laps down at Bristol to running third at Atlanta the next week.  No, you don't see it coming.  It's not like we say, Okay, this is what happened, this is what's wrong, this is what you have to do to fix it.  Like I said, we just had really weird luck this year.  There's been races where we just missed it, couldn't get it happy, get the car happy.  There's been races where we've been a top five, top three car or winning car, something stupid happened, you finish 15th or 20th, you leave going, We missed an opportunity.            

The potential's been there all year.  You wonder when the bad luck string is going to stop.  You hope, like I said, it happens another eight weeks now.  We hope we're through it and we can keep clicking off top fives, 10s.  If we could get a couple more wins, that would be awesome.           

The thing about this sport is things change week-to-week.  The one thing I think our organization is really good at is taking what we're doing day-to-day.  I mean, we don't lose sight of where we're at today worrying about two weeks down the road.  We focus one day at a time.  Obviously, stuff like the chassis that we're going to run through the end of the year, Darian has those planned out, but we really just focus on the day that we're on, what we can do to make the most of that day.             

Q.  You talk about the bad luck you suffered.  You had some here last year in this race.  Given the bad karma, you're reaping good karma from the stuff you went through.  Can you speak to the irony of running this race, Clint running out of gas after you ran out last year.            

TONY STEWART:  Yeah, it's amazing that it's happened like that.  But Clint was one of the first guys that called last year and, as happy as he was he won the race, he knew how disappointing it was for us.  He was one of the first guys that called and said, I'm sorry about what happened.  You don't want to win them that way and you don't want to see guys lose them that way.  This is a sport that guys have a high level of respect for what happens and how it happens in this sport.  To have a win get away from you that way, it's disappointing for anybody.            

Sitting up here right now, we definitely know what it was like last year for him and can sympathize about it.  It shows the character he has.  He was one of the first guys on pit road to get to me and congratulate me.  He was laughing about it.  He's thinking about the same thing of what we're talking about, a how ironic it was that last year the roles were reversed.  Shows what character he has, he's a great guy.  Like I say, you hate to see somebody losing races that way.  You love winning, but you hate to see somebody lose a race that way.           

Q.  Tony, on the front straightaway where you look the lead, what was the technique behind that?  When did you decide that was the point to make your move.            

TONY STEWART:  I mean, I planned it for 280 some odd laps.  I knew he was going to run out of fuel right at that moment versus just driving through him and running over him, seems like it might be an easier option to turn left and run around him (laughter).  That was the strategy all along.  Just had to wait for that opportunity.          

KERRY THARP:  No follow-up for that.  We'll go ahead.          

TONY STEWART:  Wow (laughter).  And we were doing so good in here today.             

Q.  The comment you made going into Chicago about your Chase chances.  Stunning turnaround going from feeling like you don't have a chance, and now you have a pretty good chance.  Can you talk about that stunning reversal of fortune for you.           

TONY STEWART:  I wish I could say you could predict it.  I wish you could see it coming in the future.  The hard thing is, as much as it turned for us, you never know what's going to happen.  Like I say, we hope the next eight weeks go this way.           

The reality of it is you look at guys that are in the back half of the Chase right now, they're guys that a lot of people expected to be in the top five, top three in the points right now.  It shows that one or two bad days can put you in a bad spot pretty quick.           

As much as we want to sit here and beat our chest and be proud of what we've done, and we are proud of what we've done these first two weeks, we got eight hard weeks to go here.           

The celebrating isn't going to last long.  We got a lot of work to do.  I'm proud of our group.  I'm confident that we've got a group of guys that are very, very focused right now.  Like we said, the cars don't know anything about momentum, but the people do.  This is the perfect scenario to go into these last eight weeks, for sure.


 
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