Tony Stewart


Tony Stewart Trivia


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    • Tony Stewart (On his nickname, Smoke): I wasn't very good about not slipping the right-rear tire, initially. So it started as 'Smoker,' then it got shortened to 'Smoke.' Then when I got in the [Indy Racing League] it was 'Smoke' because one of the guys on the crew who was my roommate, and knew the nickname, carried it over to the Indy car team. But then when I started blowing engines, 'Smoke' really stuck. I've had it ever since.

    • Tony Stewart (commenting on Bristol Motor Speedway): It is my favorite track. It's not one of them, it's the favorite track of mine on the circuit. I've won two Truck races and three Cup races there. It's where I got my first win.

    • Tony Stewart: The best thing is the people. The fans of NASCAR are the best group of fans in the world. You can't find more passionate and dedicated fans. As far as what I think could be done to make it better, people need to realize that this isn't wrestling. As much as it's about the show, the reason NASCAR got as big as it has is because they put on good races. It's not about the politics and NASCAR making all this money they're making these days. Race fans shouldn't have to pay the prices they're paying now to go see a Winston Cup race. Right now, it's just a little bit ridiculous.

    • Tony Stewart: We had talked about the balance of our car and we were a little bit tight up to the stop. We talked about and discussed what kind of changes we were going to make. When we did come in and make that pit stop, we didn't make a real gross change, but the change we made, the car really responded well to it and gave me a lot of hope that the set-up was a fairly balanced set-up. We're hoping that is something we can transfer over to our '500' car.

    • Tony Stewart: I really was, to be honest. When Jeff Gordon got in the lead and he was weaving back and forth down the backstretch, I thought, 'All somebody going to have to do is be up two inches further than what Jeff thinks and when he comes down across the racetrack at the angle that he was coming down, it was going to turn him. And if he does that next Sunday it is probably going to happen eventually because guys are getting such a big run. I don't think people are anticipating how fast guys are closing on each. When guys are changing lanes like that, it's extremely dangerous. I don't like doing it. I do not like blocking - especially early in the race like that where there really wasn't a lot of sense in doing it because it really didn't matter. I think you're going to have some (cautions) on Sunday, but I was really surprised it didn't happen today. I think guys were pretty content to race with two different lanes early in the race. Then late in the race when it was getting close to the end, then you saw guys starting to have to change lanes to protect a lane at that time.

    • Tony Stewart: We pretty much had planned four tires. Nobody had really mad really long runs to see how their car's balance was going to change. When we made it that far on tires I thought if we ever get a caution at the end and they don't come in, then the four tires were going to be better than two in my opinion with the way the cars were moving around. We had pretty much set the day up with the intentions of starting with a four-tire stop and then if something happened during the race where it looked like we needed to take two [tires], we would change.

    • Tony Stewart: Definitely. There were parts in the race that I was moving my car around on the racetrack away from the traditional groove and was trying different lines to see if I could find a spot on the track that had a little bit more grip. I definitely think it's made it better. It's put a little bit more of the driving back in our hands and put a little bit more of our own fate in our own hands, as far as where we run on the racetrack and how our car is set up. I think that is what has made for a lot better race today. Guys weren't able to just hold it wide open all day. I think were having to lift, and at times, brake even. It made it to where we can actually go out there and somewhat race each other - as good as restrictor plate racing can get, I guess.

    • Tony Stewart: It didn't matter who it was, in all honesty, while I was on the track. It was a guy trying to beat me for the win. After the race was over - to beat Dale Earnhardt on a restrictor plate track in his own element, where I would call him a specialist - yeah, it means a lot today. But on the racetrack it didn't matter whether it was him or my teammate or whoever else. It was another competitor trying to beat me for the win. Now it feels pretty special to know that you beat Dale Earnhardt at his own game.

    • Tony Stewart: It's like anything else. When you haven't run with these guys they are going to be a little leery in tight quarters with you. As tight as we have to race with each other and physically push each other down the backstretch at times, it's a trust and a confidence thing. I don't know if after two years of running Winston Cup that they're starting to gain confidence in me or what, but I'm noticing I'm getting a little more help than I was in the past. I think if you go out there and you're running safe and you're not doing things that they think are putting yourself and them in a predicament and putting themselves in a dangerous situation, when you need the help you'll get it there, and you'll find yourself with more partners to run with.

    • Tony Stewart: I didn't do any. I had a lot done to me. "At times, it was as hard to run with a car behind you down the straightaway as it was to run in the corners. My teammate pushed me a couple times, Dale, Jr., pushed me three or four times down the back and [Dale] Earnhardt pushed me - not because he was wanting to push me, but because I was blocking him. There were a lot of times that I got caught. The biggest thing was making sure that when they got to you that they weren't getting you at an angle because if they got to you at an angle you really had to chase the steering wheel to keep the car underneath you.

    • Tony Stewart: We really didn't. I saw them come in. I told the guys they were on their way. In the next lap, I think we were all kind of thinking about what we should do. I came through the tri-oval and I said that I think we needed to stick to the game plan and that's what we did. We pretty much played our race out the way that we had planned it. I thought it was really the good move for a while when we caught Rusty [Wallace] and Jeff [Gordon] and Dale [Earnhardt] Sr., and got them a lap down for a second. I thought if we did get a yellow, we had these guys stuck. I'm not really sure which way was the conservative way. There were pros and cons to short-pitting. There were pros and cons to running the run out and changing late. It just worked out in our favor.

    • Tony Stewart: Absolutely. That's what I've predicted all winter when people asked me what I thought Daytona was going to be like. I think what we learned at Talladega and what we saw at Talladega was going to provide for a lot better race for everybody. Today was probably as good a test as you're going to see until you see the '125's'.

      (Later on after the race)
      This was the most fun restrictor plate race I've been able to run. I watched guys in front of me and it looked like an old dirt race. The guy going in on the bottom would slide up the racetrack in front and the guy that was getting passed for the lead would turn it back down and drive back under him driving off the corner. It was a lot of fun to race like. It was something that I don't think anybody has seen here for a long time. It was kind of fun to do it that way. It gave us opportunities to really race each other in the cars instead of just riding around in them today.

    • Tony Stewart: Where cars were catching you and where you were pulling away from cars depended a lot on not only where the second place car was, but the third and fourth place cars, as well. It depended on how they caught the second place car and when that guy got the push. It depended on where they caught you. When they would catch a few then that would give you a push. It just seemed like it was real repetitious that the guys were catching me at the end of the back stretch. Our car drove really good through [turns] three and four and that was probably the reason why we could pull away a little bit off of four, and our car was a little bit on the tight side in [turns] one and two, and that may have made it to where it helped them get a little better run down the back, also.

    • Tony Stewart: I really didn't have to move too many times. I think I blocked him (Dale Earnhardt) twice probably at the end of the race and I think I blocked [Dale Earnhardt, Jr.] Junior a couple times and Dale Jarrett once. Everybody kind of got their turn at getting blocked by me. That's still what I hate about restrictor plate racing. I think this blocking stuff is dangerous. Jeff Gordon about crashed the whole field early in the race and it's not something he is doing intentionally. It's just that when guys get such a big run and a guy swerves over in front of you, you've got to slam on the brakes and somebody behind you is not going to expect that. I'd like to see it to where we weren't blocking each other, but when everybody else is doing it you've got to do it, too, to win the race. We did what we had to do. I didn't do anything any different out there in that race than anybody else would have done. As much as I hate it, I had to do it, though.

    • Tony Stewart: I kept watching what he was doing behind me and watching how he was trying to get his runs and then get that momentum built up. I was trying to do everything I could in different parts of the track to try to break his momentum or make sure he didn't catch me in the wrong spot. I wasn't just running wide open in front of all of those guys - especially the last lap. I made sure that he didn't catch me on a spot on the track that was going to give him an opportunity to go by and make sure that it kind of choked him up at the same time.

    • Tony Stewart: We just got a really good run. When Dale got by me I noticed that my car pulled up to his pretty good. I asked the guys on the radio how many laps were left and they said, 'Two.' Knowing that he is going to do whatever he can on the last lap I kind of felt like after I made the move and got by that I may have made my move too soon. But at the same time, I feel like I may have caught him off guard and that he may not have been looking for it to happen with two to go. He may have thought it would happen with one to go. I just got a really good run and I knew if I checked up that the guys behind me would have probably gone by. I didn't realize that we went by on our own, but we just got a really good run on him and because of that we were able to get back in front.

    • Tony Stewart: Even when we weren't running good, we were having fun.

    • Tony Stewart: Any time a great driver like that or a great group of drivers speak highly of you like that, that's probably the greatest honor in auto racing you can have. To hear those comments, that's better than any trophy I've ever received in my life.

    • Tony Stewart: I'm sorry guys, but that was something that absolutely had to be done. Some things are acceptable, and some things are not. Their performance tonight was not . I know it's late, and I apologize, but they way they ran was just ridiculous.

    • Tony Stewart: I need a renewal of my life insurance policy, to tell you the truth. I just can't wait for this thing to be over so I can get out of here and hopefully not be hurt.

    • Tony Stewart: Welcome to the wonderful world of racing here. It was just a bad set of circumstances.

    • Tony Stewart: Everybody knows who had the best car here today, ... There wasn't anybody who was going to beat us. Jeff Gordon got the trophy, but he wasn't going to beat us. We had the best car. All you have to do is get the lap times. They could run with us for 15 or 18 laps, but we always drove away. That's the positive thing that we ought to take away from today.

    • Tony Stewart: When you got a guy with the things like Chad was saying on the radio, it's like being inside a kindergarten room listening to it.

    • Tony Stewart: I hate to say I'm growing up because it scares me to think I might be but maybe I'm starting to realize there are more things to life than driving a race car.

    • Tony Stewart: Being the favorite doesn't mean a darn thing to me, to be honest, as far as winning the points, ... I've led points championships before. The day I want to be leading is the Sunday at Homestead.

    • Tony Stewart: I've just been a regular media darling this week, ... I know you've got a job to do. I promise to do a better job dealing with you guys next year.

    • Tony Stewart: To be honest, I still don't feel like I'm a representative or an ambassador for the sport.

    • Tony Stewart: We were trading cooking secrets, ... What did you do to our car? What's your problem?

    • Tony Stewart: It was done with the intent of intimidating us. But there are some guys you can intimidate and some guys where it works the opposite way.

    • Tony Stewart: I've been doing this for 26 years and I've played mind games with people and I've had people play mind games with me.

    • Tony Stewart: I don't think Chad thought deep enough into it to realize that you don't want to do that with us because you're picking on the wrong guy there because we pick back. I think he'll be a little less vocal these next few weeks.

    • Tony Stewart: He didn't mean to do it. I said, 'At least you're man enough.' Fifty percent of the guys will wait for the phone call the next day. That's why I respect Mark Martin more than anybody.

    • Tony Stewart: They've never given up on me, ... We didn't want to win it like we did in 2002. We won it right this time.

    • Tony Stewart: It's nice that they don't have to talk about my behavior anymore, ... That's the biggest honor you can have, for the guys you race with to give you that kind of compliment.

    • Tony Stewart: I put the team through a lot of hell ever since I've been with them but they never gave up on me, ... Zippy didn't want to win it the way we did in 2002. It was nice to do it and do it right.

    • Tony Stewart: You're darn right you're picking up the tab!

    • Tony Stewart: They name streets after guys like that - `One Way,' and `Dead End,' ... He's a nice guy, I like him and I play poker with him. But if he came over here right now I'm afraid I'd have to strangle him.

    • Tony Stewart: The thing that has amazed me is that most of the questions I'm answering today are all theoretical. Well, I'm not a philosopher.

    • Tony Stewart: When I'm not dragging the team down, I think it helps all of us, ... When the one person who is dragging everybody back gets on the same page and does his part, it makes a huge difference.

    • Tony Stewart: When you get through a day like this, you're happy it's over because your brain has had all it can stand for one day of this.

    • Tony Stewart: Who cares? All I want to do is just go home. ... I don't care about anything else right now.

    • Tony Stewart: Get in the race car do what I do then go home. We don't have freedom to do anything anymore.

    • Tony Stewart: I've risen from the dead. Though sometimes, when I wake up in the morning, I feel like I've died. I swear I'm aging in dog years. But no, I'm not dead. It's funny how stuff like that gets started.

    • Tony Stewart: I'm serious as a heart attack. I'll wake up, I may have stab marks in my back from the edges, but I'm sleeping with it tonight. I'm scared somebody will get in my room and get it. That's how serious I am about it. I mean, it means that much to me.

    • Tony Stewart: I'm too lazy to work my real job. I love what I do. I've been doing it for 26 years.

    • Tony Stewart: I'm dying right now, ... Too tired to chase fences right now. Give me five minutes and I'll be ready.

    • Tony Stewart: I'm going to say this because I know my fans like my brutal honesty. Every year, all the competitors go out to the bar and try to get me drunk so I can't run the next day. It didn't work this time.