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July 28, 2013
KERRY THARP: Tony Stewart has joined us. Tony drove to a fourth?place finish.
It's been quite a week for you. I know this has to be a good feeling to have one of your race teams win the Brickyard, an event that you have won several times and you know the importance of it, and for a guy like Ryan Newman, a native Hoosiers, has to be a big deal.
TONY STEWART: I don't know how you could ask for a better week on our side. The first half of the week was great. Yesterday, Ryan going out, last car out, getting the pole, then being in the race today, watching the battle him and Jimmie had all day, just was impressive to watch.
We were fortunate enough we were pretty much a top?five car all day, just weren't good enough to be up there with Jimmie and Ryan.
Man, I think midway through the race there, we were in a scenario where Jimmie was leading, we were second. When Ryan got to third, like two laps, he caught us. At that point I knew it was down to him and Jimmie.
Just was fun to watch, nerve?wracking as a co?owner. The other car owner is out kissing the bricks, I'm proud for Gene Haas, everybody with Stewart?Haas Racing, Mobil 1, Quicken Loans, Bass Pro Shops, everybody involved. For Ryan, a huge day.
When we were little, this was the place. This is where we wanted to be. We knew what Daytona was, but this was the place for us as Hoosiers here. To see him get one, I'm glad our last trip to the Brickyard together as teammates, you know, we're sitting here watching him kiss the bricks today.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions now for Tony Stewart.
Q. You said earlier this week winning as an owner would be as good as winning as a driver. Is it?
TONY STEWART: Yes.
Q. And where do you go this week?
TONY STEWART: I have a test Wednesday, I race Thursday. Where do we go next week?
KERRY THARP: Pocono.
TONY STEWART: Pocono Friday, a race Friday night. Pocono Saturday, racing Saturday night, then racing Sunday. I think I race every day next week except for Wednesday, and that's a test. So a lot of those days are doubled?up days. We have a busy week. Can't think of a better week to celebrate.
Q. Can you talk about how it feels different as an owner?
TONY STEWART: It doesn't feel different. I'm ecstatic. Right there is a big reason why, too. Ryan is such a good friend. I didn't think it would feel this good as an owner. Because it's Ryan and a good friend of mine, that's the gratifying part. Seeing Greg, Ryan's mom, Chrissy and the kids out there, just knowing we're a part of itwith him, that's something that's pretty special to us.
Q. When did you first meet Ryan? Did you meet him out here when he was viewing the track or anything like that?
TONY STEWART: We met at a midget race. I don't even remember where it was. He was a lot smaller then, but he was still bigger than me. A midget race somewhere many, many moons ago.
Q. Wednesday night, huge success. Great luck today. You're having a great time as an owner. Is there any possibilities of hanging up this silly driving habit?
TONY STEWART: Take that mic away. You don't deserve to have that. Climb over this counter and beat your ass. That's the worst question I've heard all week (laughter).
KERRY THARP: I think you're racing every night this week.
TONY STEWART: I think he missed that part.
Q. Anything NASCAR or IMS can do to increase passing in these races?
TONY STEWART: Look up 'racing' in the dictionary and tell me what it says in the dictionary, then look up 'passing'.
We're racing here. That's all I'm going to say. This is racing.
If you want to see passing, we can go out on 465 and pass all you want. If you can tell me that's more exciting than what you see at IMS, the great racecar drivers that have competed here. This is about racing. This is about cars being fast. It doesn't have to be two? and three?wide racing all day long to be good racing.
Racing is about figuring out how to take the package you're allowed and make it better than what everybody else has and do a better job with it.
I've seen races that were won over a lap, I've seen 20?second leads here. For some reason in the last 10 years, everybody is on this kick that you have to be passing all the time. It's racing, not passing. We're racing.
It's taking machines that are pretty even package?wise and let the drivers and teams figure out how to make the difference. I don't understand where this big kick has come from. We need your guys' help as much as anybody to remind people this is racing. When somebody does a good job, does a great job, everybody hates that. I don't understand that. It baffles me as a racecar driver.
For the record, it wasn't the worst question (laughter). That was a helluva lot worse. It's going to be hard to top that.
Q. We'll keep trying.
TONY STEWART: I have no doubt.
Q. At New Hampshire when you made the announcement about Ryan's future, that obviously wore on you. Talk about the emotions. Does today's win help him get a ride?
TONY STEWART: Absolutely. I'm part of the equation. There's a whole group at Stewart?Haas Racing. It was hard. Like we mentioned at Loudon, it was hard because when you run a business, you got to make decisions that you think are best for the company. The hard thing is you have to take emotion out of the equation. Any good business person will tell you that. That's also the hard part about every business that I'm a part of, I'm emotionally invested in it, as well.
Even before Ryan came and drove for us, we were friends. So that made that decision and that made that phone call of telling him that much harder. It's not just winning with a driver that drives for us, it's my friend out there that won the race today, too. That's what makes this more gratifying at the same time.
I guess it's extreme to extreme. I mean, it's on the good end of the extreme this week.
Q. You've won this race twice. I wonder if you ever had any conversations with Ryan where he shared with you that dream, Man, I want this because...
TONY STEWART: We've kind of swapped stories. I mean, I want to know what it was like to win a Daytona 500. The one that I lost, he went motoring by about five miles an hour faster than me with a push. He's wanted the same thing.
Now I got questions for him about the differences between the two. I want to know what he feels like. I can't wait until tonight for that conversation.
Q. We've talked some about the impact for Ryan. What do you think the impact of this win is for the guys that work on that team? This is a new group that was put together. He said it's taken them a while to gel and figure out all their places.
TONY STEWART: If you look in the shop where each of these guys came from, a lot came from different areas. A lot of them are engineers that got put on the road.
It's awesome 'cause those guys struggled a lot at the beginning. It's just good for our whole organization. It's not just good for the 39 guys, it's good for everybody.
The great thing is seeing everybody from the 10 team excited, from the 14 team excited. When we win, we all win. That's the great thing, is no matter where those guys came from in the organization, we still win this as a team. That's what I'm proud of.
It's days like this that make up for the rough start we got to the year. For those guys to be able to go from sittingbehind laptops a lot in the shop, being in aero rooms, seven?post rigs, now being on the road and to be kissing the bricks today, that's a pretty strong statement.
Q. Could you elaborate a little bit more about that. It seems like a distant memory, the start to the season you had. You've done a lot in the last couple of months.
TONY STEWART: Yeah. I mean, we've talked about the slow start a million times. It seems like everywhere we tested at we made really big gains. We tested at Dover. We tested at Pocono. Ryan and I both ran great there. Just seems like everywhere we've had a test so far, we've been able to make gains.It shows how much having those tests, how important that is. I don't want NASCAR to add any more of them because I don't have any more time.
It has been a slow start. It's been frustrating. It's frustrating knowing there's teams we outperform week in and week out that we were getting beat by.
But, you know, to come here, when you come here, the guys that run up front here, there isn't anybody that has backed into a win here at Indy. It's the guys that have the fastest car. For Ryan to get the pole yesterday, for us to win today, for us to qualify fifth and run fourth today, that's a big deal. That's a big deal for our organization.
Our other teammate just keeps knocking on the door. She's gaining confidence and experience each week. That's a fun part to watch, too.
For all three of us, I think we're gaining on that and we're proud of that.
Q. Tony, obviously this is Ryan's day. We talked mostly about that. You're running so much better now. Do you feel like you're in position to make another championship run?
TONY STEWART: Definitely today was a big step, obviously. Our teammates are running really good, too, obviously. I think we still have some work to do. It's proof that we can do it. Ryan is proof that our organization can do it. We just got to hit on it. Even though we ran fourth today, it's a confidence boost for us on the 14 team, as well, to know we have the tools in place of accomplishing the goal, it's just a matter of gettingthere.
Q. Six of the top seven finishers were Hendrick engines. Was it that evident that the horsepower of the Hendrick Chevrolets were better than everybody else? Did it seem that way?
TONY STEWART: We had pretty good power all day long. I mean, there were a lot of scenarios where I noticed how good it was. And that's what you expect out of the Hendrick engine department. That's the standard that they set.
It was good to know at a place like this where it's so key, you've got to get down the straightaways. You're not going to pass somebody on the outside in the corners here. You have to get off the corner and get down the straightaway. That's a big asset having that Hendrick power under the hood.
Q. We've mentioned you and Ryan are here from Indiana. How does that week this weekend so special for you and Ryan?
TONY STEWART: He can tell you that when he comes in, too. When we were kid, every day school got over about the 25th of May for us every year.Used to be the whole month of May. You'd get done with school at 3:30. You got on your bike and rode as fast as you could to get home and turn on your TV to watch.
It's a dream. It's a dream to be where he's standing right now at the end of the race. We know the history of this place. Ryan can tell you more stats about here than I can, but we know, we understand, we appreciate the history of this sport, the great drivers and teams that have raced and won here.
That's a big deal to us being from here.
Q. You ran down your schedule for the week. Where all are you going?
TONY STEWART: I'd love to tell you that, but then I'd have to kill you. The day after I run each event, I'll tell you.
Q. Do you use a phoney name?
TONY STEWART: I'm going to Ohsweken, Canada, the next two days to race. My night of rest just got shorter.
Q. Do you have any more Mobil 1 commercials in the works?
TONY STEWART: We did a whole series. I don't know how many they've actually ran so far. We got more coming, so patience, Grasshopper.
KERRY THARP: Tony, congratulations.
TONY STEWART: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports