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Interview With Daytona NASCAR Nationwide Race Winner – Tony Stewart

Q.        We don’t have a lot of information yet.  We do know you won this race somehow getting through that traffic?

TONY STEWART:  The important thing is what’s going on on the frontstretch right now.  We’ve always known since racing was started this is a dangerous sport.  But it’s hard.  We assume that risk.  It’s hard when the fans get caught up in it.

As much as we want to celebrate right now, as much as this is a big deal to us, I’m more worried about the drivers and fans in the stands right now.  I could see it all in the mirror and it didn’t look good from where I was either.


Q.  How tricky is this racing?

TONY STEWART:  The hard part is you just can’t get away from everybody.  When you get a green-white-checkered like that, even if a hole is closing up, the guy behind you isn’t going to check up and you’re not going to check up.  You’ve got to take that chance.

It’s like you want to put on good races, but not at the risk of the drivers and the fans like this.  It’s a hard thing for NASCAR.  There’s no easy solution, never has been.  NASCAR is an extremely smart group.  They’re doing everything they can to keep this from happening.  That’s the main thing.

We’re just thinking about the guys in the frontstretch right now more than what we’re doing.


Q.        Can you talk about the end of the race, what you saw from your position.

TONY STEWART:  You know, we had a great push from Sam Hornish.  He was the one that got us up to second to begin with.  Great, great push on the restart.

If you can’t clear those guys, you don’t really want to be that lead pack, you kind of want to be the second group in this scenario.

They passed us at the right time.  Sam did a great job of picking us up in turn three.  We got a huge run off of those guys off of four.

I’m sure the spotters were telling them we were coming to the bottom.  They started moving to the top slowly. We knew when we got up there, we were going to run out of room.  Our option was to go to the left.  When we did, that’s when they started spinning in front of us.  Created a big pack of havoc behind us.

I looked in the mirror, and that’s the worst image I’ve ever seen in a race in my life.

As much as we’re happy about our win and our accomplishment today, I’m more worried about the people in the stands, the drivers, everybody involved.  I want to celebrate this, but I don’t want to celebrate until we hear from everybody and the track officials that everybody is all right.


Q.  Unfortunate circumstances, how does that affect your celebration?  Can you still celebrate the win?

TONY STEWART:  Not really.  It’s just like your fellow drivers.  If you think one of your fellow drivers is injured, you just don’t feel like you can celebrate.  These fans are die hard to this sport and the drivers.  They come to watch a great show.  The last thing you want to do is have any of them get caught up in a wreck that happens on the racetrack.

There were a lot of them that were involved today.  Really won’t be any celebrating until I find out hopefully everybody’s all right.  Until then, we’re more worried about what’s going on with the EMTs and the fans that were involved versus what we did here.


Q.  As a track owner, can you talk about the preparation that goes into making sure everybody stays safe in situations like that.

TONY STEWART:  Unfortunately, I haven’t seen where the hole in the fence was.  But I’ve climbed up that fence, and I know that that’s about — at Daytona here, that’s about as safe a fence as you’re going to get.  It’s constructed right.  As much safety stuff involved as you can get up there.  I can promise you, it had to be one heck of an impact for it to do the damage it did today.


Q.  A lot of success for you at this track here, this series, this race.  Tomorrow, one you haven’t had yet.  Do the wins on Saturday help keep you motivated and hopeful that Sunday you’ll repeat it?

TONY STEWART:  It hasn’t to this point.  You’d like to think so.  But I’ve been here for 15 years now and we’ve won 19 races at this track and it hasn’t led to a Sunday win yet.

We’ll go back tonight.  When we wake up in the morning, we’ll put today behind us.  We’re going to be focused 100% on trying to come back and be in Victory Lane tomorrow.


Q.  Anything you can learn from today for tomorrow?

TONY STEWART:  No.  With the new cars here, we’ve got away from that push, which has been nice.  What we had to do today is back to the old style, which I didn’t really care for to begin with.

I’m glad we have to do it one day instead of two days.  I prefer the style of racing we’ll do tomorrow as far as from a driver’s side, from being in the car.  It’s hard to see through the car in front of you when you’re pushing them.  At least I feel safer in the car with the configuration we’ll be racing in tomorrow.

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Posted by on February 24, 2013. Filed under Breaking News,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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