NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Toyota/Save Mart 350
Topics: Toyota/Save Mart 350
June 21, 2009
THE MODERATOR: We're now joined in the infield media center by today's second place finisher, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot Old Spice Chevrolet, Tony Stewart. Tell us about your run.
TONY STEWART: I'm happy with it compared to where we were yesterday in both the race practices. We were a little disappointed and discouraged when we left the racetrack. But man, it just makes me so proud of Darian Grubb and Jeff Meendering, our car chief. Man, they worked so hard yesterday. I stayed here until the garage closed with them, and everybody in every department of the race car had to make changes, basically tore everything apart and just -- we changed about six major things between yesterday and today.
We got off to a little bit of a slow start, but it seemed like once we got 15, 20 laps into the run, we were one of the fastest cars on the track, and we just kept marching our way forward. We weren't getting the fuel mileage we wanted, and that changed our strategy a little bit. Instead of being a two-stop race it turned into a three-stop race for us.
The best thing about it was that, and the same with Kasey we just got turned loose to where we could just run as hard as we could run, and I'd much rather be in that situation here at Sonoma. It's so much more fun to attack the racetrack and run hard.
Kasey just never made a mistake at the end. He did an awesome job those last 20 laps and just never slipped a wheel, never missed a corner and made a mistake. He made one mistake the whole time in the closing laps there and we were able to get a run on him, but couldn't do anything when we got there. He was just better than we were.
Q. How much of a threat was Marcus on some of those restarts?
TONY STEWART: You know, he's good at it, and the same with Juan. Juan gave us fits twice on the restarts. He's just good at it. He knows how to get going there, and Marcos was the same way. The right side was a little bit better on restarts, and the first time there when Juan was on the inside of us, we lost a spot to him but got it back.
Every time the caution kept coming, I was like, man, we're having to climb uphill for this. That's why I'm proud with the second place run. It wasn't exactly the place to be, and we made a lot of spots up on the right-hand side to get us up there, so that helped us obviously. To be able to hold Jimmie and Juan and Marcos off like that, I was pretty proud of that.
Q. The restarts, there was a lot of double file restarts at the end. You say the right side was better. What was the left side like and how big of an advantage was that?
TONY STEWART: Well, you know, the thing that you have to do if you're the second place guy is you have to make sure that the leader crosses the line first. You know, it's just a matter of timing, and as long as we could get the timing right, we weren't at such a deficit when we got to the top of the hill.
But Kasey was really good off of 2 anyway. That's where we struggled a little bit. That's why it was a little more challenging for us. If we didn't have good position by the time we got up there, we were in a little bit of a bind getting off the corner.
It just seemed like all day everybody could stay with each other through the left hand or up the hill, and then when you got to that tight it right it seemed like the inside was the place to be.
You've got to give Kasey credit. I was listening to his interview a second ago about those restarts and he was the one that picked that lane. We were both in that right-hand side and we went right to first and second, and we were second and fourth at the time. He was smart about knowing which line to pick and knowing that that was going to be the spot to be at.
THE MODERATOR: Tony, congratulations. Thank you.
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