Three Questions with Tony Stewart
Now that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finally won his first race of the season – and the first in more than two years – the focus is on drivers like Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon.
When are they going to win?
Stewart, who finished fifth Sunday in the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, historically is a second-half season driver. And it's typically at the June race in MIS that Stewart kicks off his rallying effort.
For example, the driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota finished second at MIS three years ago in the June event and went on to win five of the next seven races en route to his second career Cup championship.
Stewart talked about several topics about the 2008 season at MIS. Here are some of the excerpts from that interview:
Q. You've won two Cup championships thus far. Can you add a few more in your career?
A. "Sure, if I didn’t feel like I could add a couple more championships to my career then I wouldn’t be here. The day that I don’t feel like I’m competitive and don’t feel like I can win championships is the day that I won’t be here anymore as a driver. I’ll be doing something different. Of course I think I can win a couple more championships."
Q. When Joe Gibbs Racing switched from Chevrolet to Toyota horsepower, did you have concerns that the organization may struggle early-on?
"I was confident that the decision made my Joe and J.D. (Gibbs) with the switch was obviously what was in the best interest of the program. If they didn’t feel that way then they wouldn’t have made that switch. I’ve always trusted their judgment and with them coming to me and saying that this is what they felt would be best for the organization. That was all I needed to feel comfortable with the change."
Q. Your teammate, Kyle Busch, has won four times this year and Denny Hamlin, has won once. Still, you haven't won a race in 2008. Are you frustrated at your teammates' success, particularly Busch?
A. "Not at all, that’s inspiring for us as a team. It’s stupid to even think that way, but I guess I kind of understand how people could think that way. There’s two or three times we should have been in victory lane already this year, but something has happened – it's just been bad luck. Kyle and Denny's success, and the way that all three of us have run in the Nationwide Series, that's nothing but positive for our organization and knowing that we’re pretty much where we need to be. We’re for the most part on top of everything and it’s just a matter of going out and doing our jobs each week."
Jerry Bonkowski is National NASCAR Columnist for Yahoo! Sports (Yahoo.com) and a featured contributor for Gatehouse News Service. He can be reached at NASCARColumnist@Yahoo.com.