WHEN YOU LOOK BACK AT THE FILM FROM CHARLOTTE, WHAT HAPPENED THERE?
“I feel like when I watch the replay of the accident in Charlotte, I didn’t really get to see as many angles as I would have liked to have seen to really know what happened, but obviously Brad (Keselowski) said he didn’t know we were three wide and he came down. So, I think ultimately that’s exactly what happened. Obviously Ricky (Stenhouse) was there and we were all tight. At the end of the day he probably could have got out of it because he was a couple of laps down but I get it. We’re always racing hard, and he still made something of his day from a couple of laps down. I get racing hard but we were racing for the Lucky Dog so we were going for it too.”
WERE YOU PREPARED THAT YOU WERE GOING TO BE ASKED A LOT OF QUESTIONS ABOUT THAT INCIDENT BECAUSE YOU AND RICKY WERE BOTH INVOLVED?
“Of course I think there is a little bit of a human interest story there with having Ricky and I being a part of that accident or there in the same general vicinity. Yeah, I understand that but at the same time he was part of the three-wide that made the accident too so it’s legitimately something you can ask.”
YOU TWO HAVE BEEN GOOD SPORTS ABOUT THE WHOLE THING, AND I UNDERSTAND THE FAN INTEREST THAT IS THERE, IS THAT HARD TO DEAL WITH FROM TIME TO TIME?
“We’re just very honest and keep things simple. We didn’t even talk about what we should say. The only thing to know is that we are just honest about the things that happened and it was a racing incident. We’re going to give our perspectives on what it was. I understand it’s interesting. I’m sure I would want to know how that all went down after the race too. We’re an entertainment sport, so I get it.”
JACK ROUSH SAID TONY (STEWART) CAN KIND OF BE HARD ON ROOKIES, YOU’RE A ROOKIE CAN HE BE KIND OF HARD AT EXPECTING THINGS OUT OF YOU TOO?
“Well if Tony is hard on rookies I just thank the good Lord above that I’m on his team. What I would say about Tony is that he wants to help teach the rookies, and the rookies that he respects and feels like should get that time of day. If he doesn’t think they were good then he wouldn’t try and help them because they won’t be around for long in his opinion. If there is anyone out there that he says something about its only because he knows they are going to be around and he wants them to learn how to play the game the way that he’s learned how to play the game. He’s been here a long time and has been very successful. It’s actually a good thing that he wants to help and that he would speak up because at the end of the day we see each other every five days, not every couple of weeks. So, you need to take care of those relationships or else they could bite you in the end.”
TONY SAYS THAT RICKY IS LIKE FAMILY TO HIM BUT YET HE WANTED TO CHOKE HIM AT THE END OF THE RACE:
“Don’t you want to choke your kids every now and then? I mean everybody wants to choke their kids, or their dad, or son, or significant other at times. So, I think that is a comment out of love no doubt.”
BUT DID YOU SAY GO AHEAD, OR I’LL TAKE CARE OF IT FOR YOU?
“That’s between them and I know they had a conversation about Sunday night. We talked about it a little bit too. He loves him like a son he said. So, you would never hurt your son. You would only try to help your son. I think that’s the moral of that story.”
WERE YOU MAD A RICKY AFTER THE RACE?
“I was definitely upset and angry about the situation. I was a little bit upset with him. Yeah I was and we talked about it. It’s absolutely fine now and we were fine by the end of the ride home. That’s what happens out there. Tensions are high and so are emotions.”
DID YOU GET A NICE DINNER OUT OF IT?
“Did I get a nice dinner out of it, let’s see. No, went home and went right to bed. I think I ate something on my bus. I think I had half of a banana, a little chocolate protein shake and two beers. That’s what I had.”
WHAT KIND OF INSTRUCTIONS DID NASCAR GIVE YOU GUYS LAST WEEK AS FAR AS WHAT YOU COULD AND COULDN’T DO DURING THE RED FLAG FOR THE CABLE BREAK?
“As far as the teams, to come around and park in your pit stall for the time that NASCAR was working on the cables for the camera. It was pretty much open game. You could do anything you wanted. Fortunately and unfortunately at that time we were pretty happy with the car and just really needed to get track position, so we really didn’t do much.”
TONY AND RYAN (NEWMAN) HAD PRETTY GOOD RUNS IN THE 600 AND I THINK ZIPPY (GREG ZIPADELLI) SAID THEY MAY HAVE FOUND SOMETHING WITH THE BALANCE OF THE CARS THAT CAN BENEFIT ALL THE CARS, DID YOU SENSE ANYTHING AT THE SHOP THIS WEEK THAT MAYBE THEY TURNED A CORNER?
“Yeah, I think we all respond to results on the track and the performance of the cars because that’s what we are there for. To have a weekend like Charlotte where by no means were we running up front but we’re better. I think that everybody is a little more happy and excited. But also we kind of expect it too. We expect it to come around because it is a good team. With Tony at the helm, he’s out there racing cars too. So it really was just being anxious about when it was going to happen. I feel like there is some light at the end of the tunnel but we still have to keep working. Everybody else is working too on this new car. We figured out some things that help grip wise and help out overall with the car being able to stay on the track better and that’s going to translate to speed. Maybe we are 30 percent there but we still have a ways to go.”
DOES TESTING HELP AT ALL? YOU DIDN’T TEST AT CHARLOTTE BUT THE ALL-STAR RACE WAS LIKE A TEST.
“I do think that helps. And I do think that all the other testing we’ve been doing helps. We’ve been to Nashville and here at Dover. We were just at Pocono. We’ve been testing a lot. We were somewhere else too. I feel like it’s been four weeks in a row. It all helps figuring out balance for me on a platform that I need, as well as just finding little things for grip along the way. You are seeing the fruits of our labor starting to show now but we’re starting behind the eight ball so we have a lot to go.”
WITH FATHER’S DAY COMING UP, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR DAD PASSING HIS LOVE OF RACING DOWN TO YOU?
“He’s loved racing and been involved in racing his whole life. I remember going to the dirt tracks on Sunday night, me and my sister sitting up in the grandstands collecting clay and making big balls of clay, getting plenty of snow cones and cotton candy. I’ve been going to races as long as I can remember and watching it on TV Gosh; I think my dad loves racing more than I do probably. He’s always thinking about it. He’s so passionate about it, which is sometimes part of his problem. That’s where I get it from but my mom loves it too. Mom and dad met on a blind date at a race. It clearly runs in the family.