NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
Topics: Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
July 26, 2009
KERRY THARP: Our third-place finisher in today's race, still our points leader in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Tony Stewart. Tony has 192-point lead over Jimmie Johnson. Tony, talk about your showing out there this afternoon.
TONY STEWART: Pretty satisfied with it. Obviously you want to win here at Indy. You do every week. But we had a solid starting position, a good pit selection on pit road. We had one little hiccup in the pits. We got to the top three or four there pretty early. That was kind of our spot. We had one stop that got us back to seventh or eighth. We were able to get two of those spots pretty quick. It took the rest of the race to get the rest of the way up there.
We just never really could mount a charge to Mark or Juan. Obviously, Juan was in a league of his own most of the day. Mark was really, really good on long runs. We just seemed at the halfway point, we never -- even before that, we got to where we were a little bit too tight in the center of the corner, never could quite adjust out of it, get it freed up there. Seemed like we either made the exit free back to the gas or else we made the entry and the exit free trying to help it turn the center. But we never could get the center right without messing the entry and exit up.
To finish third, I'm pretty satisfied with that.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for Tony Stewart.
Q. Without that speeding penalty, did it look line Juan had the field covered today? He had a 16-second advantage over 10th place at one point.
TONY STEWART: Yeah, I mean, I firmly believe if that didn't happen, we were all going to have a hard time with him for sure. He never really was challenged all day. He could get out front there. Even when we got to traffic, it would slow him down a little bit. Seemed like it slowed all of us down when we got to traffic like that.
He did a great job today. I know what he's feeling like. It's got to make him sick inside 'cause, I mean, to be able to accomplish what he would have accomplished today, just a remarkable feat. And he had the car and he had the talent to do it today. He just made a mistake and it cost him.
Q. How good was Juan's car and how much of it was clean air? Didn't look like you were able to pass a lot out there.
TONY STEWART: Yeah, but he still drove away from the field. You know, even if you had a car that was quicker than the guys in front of you, you could still get up so far and then kind of struggle with it and get kind of stuck there at times until the guy's tires got wore out.
I mean, he just consistently through a run would drive away from the field. I don't know that if he ever got passed, if it might have changed things a little bit. But he was able, every lap he was able to stay out there, out front like that, every stop he kept being able to dial into those conditions. That's the advantage you have being up front like that. When it comes down to go time at the end of the day, he's fine tuning because he's been up there all day.
It was gonna make it harder and harder as the day went on for him to lose the lead like that.
Q. Towards the end of the race when Juan got pushed back, you made an adjustment to make it free. Did you ever feel like you had a car that had a chance of winning?
TONY STEWART: We never could get it to rotate the center of each corner. Like I said, every time we made an adjustment, we either didn't make it respond. It didn't respond or else it made the exit too free or the entry and exit too free. We never could hit on exactly what it wanted to enter the center. We just messed the entry and exit up.
Q. The cars seemed to separate by four or five car lengths. Are the days of running bumper-to-bumper kind of over? Was that a fluke today?
TONY STEWART: When was the last time, other than stock car racing, you saw any kind of bumper-to-bumper racing here? That's my question to you. Have you seen that in the last 30 years here?
Q. But the separation like today.
TONY STEWART: Still closer racing with stock cars than any other division that races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Q. I wasn't disputing the racing. I was wondering why they separate.
TONY STEWART: Technology. I mean, technology advances, aerodynamics advance, packages get so close, you're gonna have that. That's just evolution. You can't stop that. There's no way. NASCAR does the best job I think that it can at putting a rules package in place that makes that possible. You look at how close Jimmie and Mark ran at the end of the race there. You don't see that close of racing in any other division that races here. I'm scared that everybody's gonna write, Nobody can pass. We all made it full fuel runs. Nobody had tire problems today. There was good racing out there. I mean, you aren't going to see the days where guys are swapping positions all the time left and right. The competition has got so tough in IndyCar racing, Formula One, NASCAR. All the series that have serious technology involved, that's what you're gonna have. Somebody's gonna figure it out. If you're a little bit off, you're not going to be able to make up that deficit.
Just the evolution of racing. It happened in Formula One first. It happened in IndyCar next. It's here now. It still was a good race. Where I was sitting in third, it was still an entertaining show. I didn't know, after watching Jimmie and Mark go into turn three, who was going to come off of turn four leading the race. It's not that you couldn't be there, you had to time it right to get to a guy's bumper like that.
Q. Sitting in the position you're in, looking for wins at the end of the season, you end up third, how do you feel this works for you?
TONY STEWART: I take that we ran third at the Brickyard 400. There's no shame in that. 43 cars and we ran third today. To come here with a new package, a new crew chief, to run third our first time here together, I think that's a lot to be proud of.
Of course, yeah, perfect world, we all want to get those extra 10 bonus points. At the same time, I mean, you still got to be consistent each week. You don't have to win a race in the Chase to win the championship. You could sit there and run third or fourth every week and have a realistic shot easily to win the championship. To go out there and be consistent, we ran fourth at Chicago, we come here and run third, we're doing the things that we need to do. It didn't get us those 10 bonus points, but it may not come down to those 10 points at the end of the year.
KERRY THARP: Tony, thank you very much. Good run. We'll see you at Pocono.
TONY STEWART: Thank you.
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