Tony Stewart often goes out of his way to poke the media when he thinks some — or all — of them are on the wrong track when it comes to asking questions after a race.
On Sunday Stewart was in full blown sarcastic mode when he was asked about his impressions of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, a race where about a third of the grid were involved in two of the big wrecks that pretty much define racing at the 2.66 mile banked oval.
Here is transcript of Stewart’s questions and answer session with the media:
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE RACE?
Stewart: “We didn’t quite crash half the field which is what we normally look to do here. I was excited about it. I thought it was a pretty good race. I made it further than I thought I would before I got crashed. I call it a successful day.”
A LOT OF TEAMS WERE HAVING TROUBLE WITH FUEL INCLUDING YOURS. WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH THAT?
Stewart: “I wasn’t sure to be honest. I’m not quite sure what the fuel issue was. The racing was awesome. It’s fun to be able to race and have to watch the gauges at the same time. It makes us as drivers have to do so much more. Being able to make yourself run on the apron and everything else to try to get clean air, it makes it fun. I’m sorry we couldn’t crash more cars today. We didn’t fill the quota for today for Talladega and NASCAR.”
JEFF GORDON SAID HE THOUGHT THEY SHOULD OPEN UP THE GRILL OPENING FOR WHEN WE COME BACK HERE AND POSSIBLY DAYTONA IN JULY. DO YOU HAVE ANY SENSE THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?
Stewart: “I think they need to close it down. Honestly, I think if we haven’t crashed at least 50 percent of the field by the end of the race, we need to extend the race until we at least crash 50 percent of the cars because it’s not fair to these fans for them to not see any more wrecks than that and more torn up cars. We still had over half the cars running at the end and it shouldn’t be that way.”
THE WRECKS WEREN’T CAUSED BY THE OVER HEATING?
Stewart: “No, not at all. I don’t think any of the wrecks were an overheating issue. That is why I say I think we ought to just tape them off solid and run them until they blow up anyway. I think it would make it a lot more exciting for the fans.”
WOULD THIS BE BETTER IF IT WERE A SHORTER RACE?
Stewart: “I don’t think it really matters. I think if you made it 20 laps we would all still crash with five to go or eight to go. If we did that we would be able to fill the time that the fans deserve. I mean they deserve to see us run 500 miles. Like I said if we don’t crash half of the field by the end of the race they really need to extend it because that is what the fans want they want to see that excitement. I feel bad that as drivers we couldn’t do a better job of crashing enough cars for them today.”
I CAN’T FIGURE OUT IF YOU ARE HAPPY OR YOU ARE UPSET WITH YOUR TONE…
Stewart: “I’m upset that we didn’t crash more cars. I feel like that is what we are here for. I feel bad if I don’t spend at least a $150,000 in torn up race cars going back to the shop. We definitely have to do a better job with that.”
WHY DO YOU HAVE THAT IMPRESSION THAT IS WHAT THE FANS ARE LOOKING FOR?
Stewart: “Well, I don’t know that is what they are looking for, but I feel like that is the show we deserve to give them. That is what has made Talladega, Talladega.”
DID YOU HAVE FUN OUT THERE?
Stewart: “Absolutely. I had a blast. It would have been a lot more fun if I could have gotten caught up in one more wreck. If I could have done that it would have been perfect.”
DID YOU HAVE THE ISSUE OF RUNNING OUT OF FUEL AT ANY POINT?
Stewart: “I didn’t wreck because I ran out of fuel, but I ran out of fuel twice.”
THE RADIO GUYS WERE SAYING THAT MAYBE (GUYS RUNNING OUT OF FUEL) HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE EFI (ELECTRONIC FUEL SYSTEM) HAVE YOU NOTICED A CHANGE IN YOUR FUEL MILEAGE SINCE YOU WENT TO THAT ENGINE PACKAGE?
Stewart: “I mean we have only ran two restrictor plate races so it is hard to say. There were definitely guys that were running out of fuel today ahead of where they thought they would.”
IS IT SAFE TO SAY THAT YOU PREFER THE PACK OVER THE TANDEM DRAFTING?
Stewart: “I think we ought to make it a figure eight. I mean if we could make it a figure eight it would be perfect. It would absolutely be perfect here. It would be better than what we have. That is going to be my vote next week is that we make it a figure eight and/or we can stop at the half way make a break and turn around and go backwards the rest of the way. Then with 10 to go we split the field in half and half go the regular direction and half of them go backwards.”